Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The road ahead

I’m going into 2015 thinking about freedom and responsibility: balancing them.

There’s a kind of spirituality teaching that I am here to blossom, to sing my song and unfold like the spring. To live my own truth. Sometimes its teachers propose that toxic people should be left behind, to move on from what no longer serves you. They say that one should separate from people whose energy field is depressing and destructive.

Then there’s a spirituality teaching that the most challenging and difficult people are precisely sent to be one’s teachers – to be grateful for them and learn from them, for they reveal one’s own shortcomings to oneself.

There’s an approach encouraging a person to pursue an ideological path, separating from those who do not share it. But others would say that old loyalties matter, even if friends from long ago are no longer walking the same path.

It seems to me to be about balancing freedom and responsibility.

On the freedom side:
  • To step into happiness
  • To choose health and peace
  • To fulfill one’s heart’s calling
  • Not to permit others to channel their agendas through me
  • To set appropriate boundaries (regarding time, body, mental health, money)
  • To feel at peace with saying “No.”
  • To accept what is right for me will occasionally disappoint the hopes and expectations of others

On the responsibility side:
  • To be kind
  • To respect others (any species)
  • To be willing to listen
  • To examine my conscience, looking thoughtfully at my words and actions – asking myself if I operate the same standards for myself as for others
  • To seek to deepen my understanding – concerning health, the intricate web of life, human relationships, the effects of my actions and choices

In 2015, this is the area I want to look into more deeply.

Among my personal relationships, there is some tangled knitting! I am gradually drawing apart the muddled and knotted skeins, trying to see what came from where, how to restore it to where it belongs. My goal is to do this delicately, without losing patience and pulling it impetuously into tight knots.

In a recent conversation with the Badger, he considered the ways in which he felt he had changed through travelling along with me and my family. He had become quieter, calmer, more peaceful, he thought – and more open to certain perspectives that had once felt foreign, weird. He said he thought I had changed too – that in the (as of this January, nine) years we have been a couple, his observation was that I have become more solitary.  He’s quite right.

This too asks me to balance freedom with responsibility – solitude is potentially selfish but also, to those of us who need it, a pull that cannot be denied. My social interactions have to be stringently limited to be successful. As Thomas Merton said (and this made me laugh):

“It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness
with which I can truly love my brothers.
The more solitary I am
the more affection I have for them.
Solitude and Silence teach me to 
love my brothers for what they are, 
not for what they say.”

These are the areas of life I have in my sights for 2015.



Rebecca said...

"A spirituality teaching"? Pray tell!

On another topic altogether (truth and love), I have recently been thinking that the goal is not "balance" so much as the picture of two feet firmly/equally planted in both and supporting a healthy, functioning body.

Pen Wilcock said...


I meant "a spirituality, teaching".

Two feet firmly planted - a strong and beautiful image! Perhaps balance comes into it when the time comes to move forward?

Happy New Year, friend! xx

Jen said...

I want to continue to focus on my three Cs of compassion, creativity and contentment. I am slowly finding God to be an important part of all of that.

I too learning to say no, it has mainly been foisted on me by ill health. But a strong part of me wonders how much of my ill health has been because I have fought against my true solitary nature. Don't get me wrong I have a genetic condition but I do think I have exacerbated it by Doing too much rather than Being.

Now I need to figure out an income from Being rather than Doing. Or at least not Doing so much that it exhausts me.

Rebecca said...

Yes, I like that (moving forward). Having the struggles I am with walking currently, I understand in very concrete ways the importance of BOTH legs being equally strong. Hopping on one leg is a very jerky and jarring way to navigate!

I'm still vague on the terminology "spirituality"....but that's just me.

Praying for wisdom for you (and me) as the times come to "move forward" in 2015. ♥

Pen Wilcock said...

Hi Jen - in 2015, may you be blessed in a wise balance of being and doing that is right for you :0) xx

Hi Rebecca - spirituality - I tend to find it a useful term for an intentional path of spiritual purpose and development that is not necessarily rooted in just one established organisational religion.
I hope your joints are progressing okay - I pray for your healing, and for freedom from pain. xx

Anonymous said...

I have had sadly not had the spare time in which to reflect on "the road ahead" that I wanted to have this season.The spiritual reading I chose sat unopened as I frantically tried to finish a work project for the new year. However, I did purposefully choose to rewatch director Richard Curtis' movie "About Time," as my New Year's Eve entertainment. Maybe it's gentle encouragement towards mindful and grateful participation in the ordinariness of the day to day is just what I needed to process anyway.
happy journeying all!

Pen Wilcock said...

Oh, I love that movie!

May you have many pockets of happy peace in 2015.


kat said...

just to survive a bit longer, it sometimes feels xx

Pen Wilcock said...

Yes, indeed. I know that feeling well. xx