Summer 2015 || Change

The concept of "change" came to me
a few weeks ago
as the perfect
or needed
or divine topic for this next season:
summer.

So, whether "change" is examined
in the personal life on Tuesdays
or through the lens of place on Fridays,
Change is here to stay.

I'm ready to dive in--
are you?

Jessica

P.S.  Editorials will pause in August
and resume in September to honor that
life has seasons and space, and hopefully,
rest and rhythm.  x

A Reflection on Change

There are some mornings where the body will just not wake up, muster her forces, and walk into the light.  Still, there are other days where everything seems to be humming along and running smoothly, and so much so, that she may wish for two days to be folded into one.  The concept of change seems to evoke both fear as well as openness, one can usher in paralysis and the other encouragement.  Perhaps even hope.

Change is a way of describing what is actually always going on around us--we do not live in a fixed environment, perhaps like the ancient Greeks desired (or what can feel like the First World wants to with each new technological promise abolishing frustrations, hiccups, and irregularities).  We are dynamic creatures and live in a dynamic world.  Change is good and healthy.

But for whatever reason, I feel often that somehow deep in the global subconsiousness change is not perceived as a good thing--or even--a welcome idea.  Is not the world supposed to run smoothly all the time?  Are we never supposed to run into traffic--reminding us that we "co-live" with other human beings with their own schedules and conflicts on this planet?  Are we supposed to know where everyone is at at any given time just to know?  Why is there a craving to knowAnd is that somehow supposed to provide comfort in the midst of ever increasing loneliness?  I recall a story where there were two people in a lush environment where their craving to know ultimately disrupted their lives and the lives of generations after them.  I believe this tension is still very much present in our generation and, oftentimes, quite subtle in defining what is good, healthy, and the new normal.

After a recent silent retreat of about seven days, I came to connect with the god of my understanding and the created world in a deeper, richer way than I may have experienced in all of my life.  The God of Love's living breath was around and infusing my steps.  Love was changing me and helped me connect in a deeper way with him, with myself and the created and natural world around me, and ultimately, with others too.  I went to bed when the sun went down and rose when the light came up.  The essence of time began to be "tracked" in terms of shadows and larger seasons where each day was dynamically progressing, ebbing and flowing within that season.  At one point, staring out at the mountains and soaking in their existence, I wondered if the early peoples that inhabited the early land had a larger sense of time than our First World does.  The answer is...of course.  Time was not measured with numbers, but by seasons that moved, changed, and spoke.  And seasons that transcended the leaves budding and falling or the sun moving across the expanse of the sky.  Exceptionally dry seasons that could last thirty years or wet seasons that came perhaps every six years within that thirty-year cycle.

Near the end of my stay, when I was beginning to pack up, I needed to phone the airline company on which I was traveling.  I paused before turning on my phone, which had been off all week.  I paused again once it flickered on and as it attempted to reach the nearest cell phone tower.  I placed my call, knowing to breathe deeply as I began to slowly re-enter the "world" I came from that somehow seemed so sadly disjointed from the one I was re-engaging with.  This reconnection felt as though it were from the Ancient of Days.  I did not want to enter the world of knowledge.  I wanted to remain in the world of existence

I took a breath and with a prayer to my god, I dialed.  I heard the computerized voice letting me know I could stay on hold for a while or hang up, and they would "call me back in 11 to 17 minutes."  What struck me was not the wait time of "11 to 17 minutes" but that we could know the wait time.  It felt utterly abnormal, impersonal, and somehow, dare I say, wrong to narrow down the exact time and place of a hypothetical event that I would be a part of.  Of course, I had experienced automated messages like this before without ever giving a second thought to it--it was helpful in my jam-packed day of to-dos, especially since I could be off the phone while accomplishing yet another thing on that list and multi-task. 

I continued on looking out at the mountains, reminiscing about being beheld by the God of the journeys--and the love of Jesus Christ--and of the world that was around me, the beautiful experiences with various animals, with the trees, with the stones, with myself, and with the Rock of life.  I pressed the number two so I would be phoned back within the approximated time and exhaled.

How do I live in two different worlds that are located in one?

Why does change have to be painful and can grace be found in the midst of the recovery and awareness? 

Perhaps change with grace is how we live in this dichotic realm of existence.  In a world that is here but not yet and that was and that will be.  A current world with two different sounds, each one resounding in each ear.  I hear dissonance when I yearn for harmony.

Perhaps it is about having the courage and love (like how I tie in the winter and spring themes here?) to embrace change  with heads held high--not in pride but in humility, in strength not of our own accord.  To approach the Way the Truth and the Life with openness and surrender.  To let ourselves be Bathed in the Living, Holy Water that does not reject but replenishes us for the journey of change. 

. . .

If I have been reflecting on change on a macro-level, then I would like to briefly give thought to change on a micro-level:

Change gets at our habits, our histories, our heart.  The way we behave and engage.  The reasons why we may confuse disengagement with detachment.  Change has the opportunity to help us see our motivationsThis could range from the reasons we make certain meals and why to the tone of voice we have in our inner thoughts with ourselves or others. 

Change inherently involves two precious gifts: (1) encountering difference and (2) encountering our openness or friction to that difference (and why that is or is not there).  Sometimes change may be so painful (yet good).  The journey of looking within and looking to the Light of Light simultaneously can usher in great discomfort but not despair as we see our distortions.  This is like being curved in on oneself.  Put differently, these are our shapings that may be the daily source for why we cannot do the things we desire and why we do the things we do not desire. 

Gratefully, I am of the mindset that there is Hope but I find my journey is getting in touch with this hope.  I am reminded of the ancient writer and theologian Paul who reminds me that hope cannot disappoint us.  In our circumstances, there is the opportunity that perseverance can grow and from perserverance, character can flourish, and from character, hope can blossom.  I may be the biggest stumbling block to change and to my wholeness; I need a Rock that is greater than myself to lean on, lay on, hold onto, be held by, and gain strength from--and perhaps a Rock that may be "struck" as in the days of Moses and out of which flows water.

Some days, when it may feel hard to get out of bed or simply amazing to kick off the sheets, I know myself enough to know that I need to embrace and thank myself for all the changes I am going through and be gentle with myself in the midst of whatever changes come. 

How do you embrace or negate change?

xo

  Ms. Adler's writes a brilliant essay on the philosophy of cooking that can help to change and influence our ways behind cooking.  The Gent and I have begun an 'epic' project of reading this together.  Read it with a friend, a lover or yourself and you're bound to be inspired to change or encouraged in the ways perhaps you've already embraced.

 

Ms. Adler's writes a brilliant essay on the philosophy of cooking that can help to change and influence our ways behind cooking.  The Gent and I have begun an 'epic' project of reading this together.  Read it with a friend, a lover or yourself and you're bound to be inspired to change or encouraged in the ways perhaps you've already embraced.

Steinbeck's book on change and human involvement is simply wonderful.  I originally read this book to connect myself with California (the story takes place in northern California around the turn of the century)--but what resulted was encountering and holding gently a story that runs in my own veins.  A story ebbing and flowing with lightness and darkness that gets at the crux of motivations and ultimately, ourselves.  I have included this on my seasonal booklist before, and it reappears again here.


Steinbeck's book on change and human involvement is simply wonderful.  I originally read this book to connect myself with California (the story takes place in northern California around the turn of the century)--but what resulted was encountering and holding gently a story that runs in my own veins.  A story ebbing and flowing with lightness and darkness that gets at the crux of motivations and ultimately, ourselves.  I have included this on my seasonal booklist before, and it reappears again here.

Houston and Parker cast an insightful, integrated perspective for the Church as a church which is aging and increasingly becoming youth-centered and compartmentalized.  I have scanned through it and can't wait to read it.  I really respect Dr. Houston for his lived life of prayer and the theological reflections and wisdom that have arisen out from that journey of the heart.


Houston and Parker cast an insightful, integrated perspective for the Church as a church which is aging and increasingly becoming youth-centered and compartmentalized.  I have scanned through it and can't wait to read it.  I really respect Dr. Houston for his lived life of prayer and the theological reflections and wisdom that have arisen out from that journey of the heart.

In this book, Jim shares about the desires of our hearts--the desire to find our true source of identity and couches it wonderfully in the social landscape of our times, while connecting it to the history that has gone before it.  I love Jim and I love this book.


In this book, Jim shares about the desires of our hearts--the desire to find our true source of identity and couches it wonderfully in the social landscape of our times, while connecting it to the history that has gone before it.  I love Jim and I love this book.

Anne uses the metaphor of stitching when it comes to our choices and motivations--encouraging us to make one clean stitch, keeping it simple and strong, tying our knot before beginning so when we begin to stitch some more, we are anchored in the fabric of life.  I cherished reading this book.



Anne uses the metaphor of stitching when it comes to our choices and motivations--encouraging us to make one clean stitch, keeping it simple and strong, tying our knot before beginning so when we begin to stitch some more, we are anchored in the fabric of life.  I cherished reading this book.

  I have yet to read this book (it actually just came out yesterday) but it is written by the lovely Susan Phillips who serves as a spiritual director, located in Berkeley.  The Cultivated Life explores the kind of attentiveness required to live counterculturally in our age of distraction. These pages unfold the spiritual practices, set within an expression of Christian spirituality, that can lead us into a new and delightful way of living.

 

I have yet to read this book (it actually just came out yesterday) but it is written by the lovely Susan Phillips who serves as a spiritual director, located in Berkeley.  The Cultivated Life explores the kind of attentiveness required to live counterculturally in our age of distraction. These pages unfold the spiritual practices, set within an expression of Christian spirituality, that can lead us into a new and delightful way of living.

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron has also made my list before and it makes the cut again.  This book offers insightful excercises to help connect us to our creative selves that have been oppressed by our inner critique, "nurtured" perhaps by different societal norms and expectations of conformity.  The recovery emulates and transcends the spiritual Twelve Steps typical of recovery programs.  It is wonderful!  


The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron has also made my list before and it makes the cut again.  This book offers insightful excercises to help connect us to our creative selves that have been oppressed by our inner critique, "nurtured" perhaps by different societal norms and expectations of conformity.  The recovery emulates and transcends the spiritual Twelve Steps typical of recovery programs.  It is wonderful!
 

Last but not least, the fictional book Delicious! by Ruth Reichl is truly a delectable, light-hearted (totally fictional) story.  I received this book as a birthday gift this year by a friend who knew I loved reading and cooking--and was learning how to find my way in San Francisco.  Set against the backdrop of the New York, artisan food scene while working at a food magazine called Delicious!, the main character goes on a transformative journey of acceptance and renewal while encountering letters between James Beard and a young girl written during WW2.  A fun, summer indulgent read.


Last but not least, the fictional book Delicious! by Ruth Reichl is truly a delectable, light-hearted (totally fictional) story.  I received this book as a birthday gift this year by a friend who knew I loved reading and cooking--and was learning how to find my way in San Francisco.  Set against the backdrop of the New York, artisan food scene while working at a food magazine called Delicious!, the main character goes on a transformative journey of acceptance and renewal while encountering letters between James Beard and a young girl written during WW2.  A fun, summer indulgent read.