Thursday, 18 December 2014

Connection and disconnection

Continuing with looking back over the year past, and the year on the brink of being.

A theme emerging for me in 2014 has been disconnection. Shedding – whether weight, addictions, unhealthy patterns or relationships and affiliations – is not achieved without a measure of struggle and effort in severance.

I have been self-medicating with starch and sugar since forever, doggedly keeping going in the choppy seas’ peaks and troughs, exhaustion and despair never far from me. Physically, the break has been made easily and successfully. I’m a good hundred-per-cent-er, and ‘No more’ works quite well for me. But I’ve come to associate experience and meaning with starch and sugar, and undergo intense nostalgia when I pass a coffee shop on a sunny morning, people sitting at street tables enjoying sweet iced coffee and pastries, or when I think of afternoon tea at an elegant hotel – the starched linen, the silverware and white china, the towering server of dainty sandwiches and cakes. I don’t miss the food one bit, but I miss the experience immensely.

The emotional aspect of my health journey has been important and surprising. It’s led me to sever from groups, good and beautiful in themselves but where I had begun to feel a fish out of water as I got down deeper and uncovered what I really felt and thought. Like an archeologist with trowel in hand, I carefully drew away layers of accretion, until shapes and bones emerged that told a story – ‘This is who I am. This is what I AM means for me. This is God in me.’

It also exposed one or two long-abiding root relationships that had . . . ‘gone off,’ I guess you could say. Not ‘toxic’, as some term it: good, kind, well-intentioned people. But it was as if their boats and my boat had drifted so far apart that when I reached out to touch them, as they sat squarely unmoving in their boats, I more and more nearly fell in the water, straining until it hurt to make a connection. And now I have let go. Neither their boat nor my boat is the better one, but we are on different journeys. May good angels attend and bless them as they go. I will always be grateful for the love and blessing and teaching they once brought me.

In my foray into one-bag minimalism I let go of just about everything – then adjusted up a little. Now I have two not-big drawers of clothing and other bits, plus about a foot, on a shared hanging rail, of garments, and several pairs of shoes. I have about two feet of bookshelf filled with books. And I have a few loved ornaments/toys (Yes. I note it is hard to admit I have toys! I’ll show you one day). I have a few business files – tax papers etc. That’s it. The rest has gone. I sleep on a mat on the floor, I dance in the spaces.

So much for disconnection. But I was reflecting, too, on where I am now in terms of faith journey. I know I belong to Jesus, but I turned this over in my mind, considering what it might mean – in what sense do I belong to him, now I rarely go to church and hold no roles within the church?

And this is what I thought. My belonging to Jesus is not a matter of affiliation. He and I, we are not coupled together like two train wagons. I am not attached to Jesus. Nor do I belong to him as the Badger’s car belongs to the Badger or my laptop belongs to me – important, possessed, but separate.

The eucharist is a sacrament of the way I belong to Jesus. We take the wine, the bread, to say ‘His blood is in my veins, his body has become my body.’

I belong to Jesus as the branch belongs to the tree, as the cloud belongs to the sky, as the water belongs to the ocean. There is no beginning nor ending, I am his property as much as his face is his property, and his peace.

Sometimes, perhaps, one might think he would wish this were not so. I often let him down, embarrass him, make him cry. But it is a Eucharistic belonging – I have digested him and he has digested me. We are in Communion.

Having disconnected from so much, I feel a little disorganized, somewhat at sea in my small boat. 
In 2015, I hope I may discover hidden depths of the I AM in me, find the grace to rinse away clinging tarry deposits of cruelty, callousness, grandiosity, ego-centricity and impetuosity that bedevil my nearly-but-not-quite-innermost self. I hope I may so steep in the kindness and perception of Jesus, that his peace may arise like sap to my most extended twigs, that the leaves I put forth may be for healing.

What I would like is to be the kind of person whose presence makes people feel comfortable, restored, able to breathe, whole again, at peace.

I know I am allowed to have this, and my good hope is that I also have the courage, patience and discipline to get there.


Jen Farrant said...

HI - I'm sure you don't know but every time I come to your site I get an advert playing - today it was advertising elites cigarettes.

It is very annoying and I am sure you wouldn't want it. with wordpress there is a chance to say what inappropriate ads you don't want - not sure if you can with blogspot

Jen (formerly darkpurplemoon)

Pen Wilcock said...

Hiya - how very odd. I'm not sure what I can do about that. When I come here, I see no ads whatsoever. I have never signed up to allow ads to appear on this page.

Anyone got any enlightening advice, friends?

jenfarrant said...

it's because this is a free site you have to have ads, I used to have the same on my wordpress site, but you can elect to turn some of them off.

also I never SEE ads on your site, only hear them

kat said...

No ads when I visit Pen, just your thoughtful words and pictures and sidebar bits :-)

I haven't forgotten you, just buried in life and exhaustion, hoping the new year will bring a bit less to wear me down.

I watch this journey of yours with deep interest ad affection, and keep finding myself thinking - "don't be so hard on yourself Pen, we're all flawed and fallible. The important thing, I think, is living by your most dearly held principles, loving your dearly beloved people and allowing yourself to just be - if you're good enough for Him, then who else could dare complain" xxx

Pen Wilcock said...

Jen - I'll check this out but don't really understand how to investigate it at the moment. In the meanwhile, if you only hear rather than see ads, maybe while you are on my blog you could turn your sound off, as a pragmatic way of stopping the annoyance for now? I'll come along and post a comment if I can track down how to address the matter xx

Kat :0) that sounds like good advice! xx

LANA said...

I never see or hear any ads. I am in Florida, USA. I have to say I agree with Kat that you may need to be more gentle with yourself. Your goals are admirable, but none of us reach perfection. We are here to learn, no doubt until the day we leave this earth. You are not only learning but allowing us to go on the journey with you, thereby helping us as well. I am as always in awe and appreciation of what you have accomplished.

BLD in MT said...

What a delightful, thoughtful post, Pen! Dancing in the spaces! Wonderful. I love it. You are an inspiration and source of contemplation to me. And, as an aside, I've never heard or seen adverts on your blog. It is possible to sign up for ads (AdSense) through blogger, but it is not the default and I don't think is the case here. But, I am surely no expert on the matter.

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) Hello my friends - waving! xxx

Anonymous said...

Hi Pen. My name is Marta and I live in Australia. Just wanted to say that I've never seen or heard any ads. I use Chrome to find your site, and that's how I read your blog.

Pen Wilcock said...

Thanks, Marta - that's helpful.

Well, friends, I raised this on the Facebook comment thread associated with this post, and have had some informative responses.

1) One other person had the same problem Jen has experienced, and she found it sufficiently annoying that she was going to mention it, when it suddenly stopped and hasn't recurred since.

2) Someone else mentioned, as Jen did, that Wordpress blogs give better control over this and that if I changed to a Wordpress blog I could fix it.

3) Somebody identified SiteMeter as a possible cause, and suggested that if I remove it the problem would stop.

I am so grateful for friends' help and advice.

Several people have now contacted me on the matter, and only two people have experienced the problem, one finding it stopped spontaneously; though no doubt there will be others who've had it and either just turned their sound off, not mentioned it, or stopped reading.

At the moment, I do like to have the SiteMeter, and I would rather not close the blog and open a different one, especially as my published work references this blog address.

I am so sorry for any annoyance, and can only suggest that anybody who experiences it turns their sound off while reading here.

Deborah said...

No ads for me either, never have had.

I am going vegan in January :-)

gail said...

What an amazing and lovely woman you are. Know wonder He loves you so much.
Blessings gail.

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) Thank you, Gail! xx

Deb - just one thing to be careful of. Everyone knows by now about sources of protein, calcium and Vit B12 for vegans, but it might be a good idea to read up about zinc.
In a mixed diet, our sources of zinc are almost all animal products. But our sources of copper are almost all plants. Without zinc, you can't metabolise copper (I think 'metabolise is the right word: I mean, make use of it from your food - turn it into you).
So you can get a thing happening with vegans, where they have *both* copper poisoning *and* copper starvation - because they have loads of it in their blood but lack the zinc that lets them take it up properly.
There's some information here that shows the different dietary sources, including the plant-based ones.
The vegan diet doesn't suit everyone, but it is a very loving choice. xxx

Deborah said...

Thanks for that Pen...I'll make sure I have enough zinc :-D

Pen Wilcock said...


Jenna said...

Beautiful post, Pen. Warmest thoughts your way. --Jenna

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) xx

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post! I have been so busy and problem beset the last few years, I have had no time to contemplate the future. When I have gotten away on silent retreat, the time has been spent merely asking for the strength to go on. Then Christmas comes and it has become yet more to add to the to do list. I am thankful for your reminder to take spiritual stock of my life again as the year closes. I have finally finished school (Nov.) and then charged straight into trying to make work full time and profitable as my husband retired the same week that I graduated.I have been making health changes, as well, different from yours, although cutting down on as you are on what we call "carbs," here in the US is part of it. Also like you, I no longer have ties with a church and wonder about how to fulfill spiritual needs. A book I revisited the last time I got away for a few days, Judith Haugen's "Refined into Fire" will be picked up a third time over the holiday break and I hope to do some praying, contemplating and journaling as well. Thanks for being a source of light. Wishing you and yours a blessed Christmas and Happy Healthy and Whole New Year!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I got the name of the book and spelling of the author in my last post both wrong - it is "Transformed Into Fire, by Judith Hougen. She is a poet and, I think, a Minnesota native as I am.

Pen Wilcock said...

Hello friend - what a packed (and sometimes traumatic) year you have had! May 2015 be a time of peace and blessing. xx