Saturday, October 27, 2012
One of my favorite, by-the-bedside books for years now, has been this little piece called "The Spirit of Intimacy" by Sonbonfu Some. Wonderful essays on the spirituality, intimacy, and community as experienced by a member of the Dagara people of West Africa. The subtitle is Ancient Teachings In the Ways of Relationship.
Here are some quotes:
"In our tradition, each of us is seen as a spirit who has taken the form of a human in order to carry out a purpose."
"The role of spirit in our relationships is to be the driver, to monitor our relationships for the good. It's purpose is to help us be better people, to bind us in such a way that we maintain our connection, not only with ourselves, but with the great beyond. Spirit helps us fulfill our own life purpose and maintain our sanity."
"Community is the spirit, the guiding light of the tribe, whereby people come together in order to fulfill a specific purpose, to help others fulfill their purpose, and to take care of one another. The goal of the community is to make sure each member of the community is heard and is properly giving the gifts he has brought to this world. Without this giving, the community dies. And without the community, the individual is left without a place where he can contribute. The community is that grounding place where people come and share their gifts and receive from others."
"When you don't have community, you are not listened to; you don't have a place you can go to and feel that really belong. You don't have people to affirm who are and to support you in bringing forward your gifts. This disempowers the psyche, making you vulnerable....."
In our culture we tend to think more about what relationships can give us, not that relationship is a vehicle of the spirit. What do you suppose would happen to our relationships, our communities, our country if we adopted an idea, that these areas are about being seen, being supported to "bring forward your gifts"? What would relationships be like if we saw them as places where we are responsible for seeing others, companioning others, supporting others to find and bring forward their gifts?
Now of course, before we slip into extreme codependency attitudes....this clearly needs to be a reciprocal belief system. Not a place where one person does all the giving and the other, all the receiving. But a place of inviting others (our safe support system) into our experience and sharing the experience of living.
I have read this book over and over and always find something in it for me.
Quick study: Spirit is the driver of all relationships
We need communities to be seen, to get help finding our purpose, and to help others find theirs.
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Celebrate today ten things that you either do well, enjoy, or seem important to you. Say them out loud! Smile when you are thinking it. Imagine this idea as if it is the tastiest bite of food you have ever eaten, and you have just swallowed it. Hold these things inside of you like a wedding present all wrapped up, like a sports trophy you just won, like the best words anyone ever said to you. It is safe within you, this list. In fact, it grows each day, and sometimes gets new wrapping and ribbons.Do not allow one moment of self criticism into your day. If/when it comes unbidden, smile and send it on it's way with a bag lunch.