Well, today has thrown me for a loop. The word I picked at random is. . .
Let’s start with some definitions (Sidenote: I’m wondering if my need for definitions is helping or hindering this process of exploring some new ways of being.)
1. to look at attentively and thoughtfully
2. to consider carefully and at length; meditate on or ponder
3. to have in mind as an intention or possibility
After reading these this morning, all that came up for me were questions……perhaps some questions to “consider carefully.”
*How can I be thoughtful without being analytical?
*How can I consider carefully and at length without judging or taking action?
*How can I have in mind several possibilities without feeling as if I must DO all of them?
*Is there value to something that is only contemplated but never “done?”
I’m not sure I even possess the skills required to contemplate. To me, contemplating becomes a bit more like analyzing and thinking. Next thing I know, I’m feeling all murky, scattered and ill at ease. (Perhaps it didn’t help that I was getting the Christmas anxiety today as I attempt to begin what I feel should have already been started…..shopping for the PERFECT gifts!)
Maybe this is the whole point of this excercise: to build skills (or develop ways of being) that do not come naturally to me. I guess I sort of expected that every day would be like yesterday…..the practice of focusing on one of these words would automatically make me feel GOOD. Instead, today, I feel unsettled. It occurred to me that in the process of contemplating, you might exclude yourself from other activities (that normally make me feel okay in the world) like “getting stuff done.” Can you be contemplative and have your house ship-shape? So much of Good Girl’s self-worth comes from what she “gets done” in a day. A day where on the outside it looks like not much happened usually translates to laziness in Good Girls eyes. But in truth today, I just was really busy up in my head. Trying to contemplate.
I have observed this pattern with myself over the last few months. It seems like there are some days where it is just easy to be very active, productive. Things flow, like getting three loads of laundry done (folded and all!) and getting in all our homeschooling sections (circle time, story time, some art). And then there are days where even getting one dish in the dishwasher is HARD. Today was one of those days. I’m drawn more to cerebral activity than physical. And doesn’t it all just come out in the wash? Because tomorrow when I wake up, I might just have that spring in my step and all the chores that didn’t get done today will be completed by lunch.
This brings me back to those questions. Is there value in a contemplative day? A day where I might have a deep conversation with a good friend for an hour and forego the breakfast and lunch dishes on the table? The REAL me wants to do this. But it makes Good Girl twitchy.
And maybe Good Girl is just not used to considering something at length. She always DOES something about what she is pondering. She judges herself (and others for that matter) for dilly-dallying. But again, here we are back at what our culture values…..ACTIVE qualities, like being decisive, taking action.
So no wonder today’s word made me a bit uncomfortable. Goodness, maybe I should just stick with appreciating!
What about you? What do you make of contemplation? And if you are good at this, can you pass along your secret?