Shelley Klammer : Creation is Slow
Creation is Slow
By Shelley Klammer
Growth is Slow
I dream of two parrots tethered with long elastic bands by their feet to a beautiful house so that they can only fly the perimeter of the lush and blooming yard so that they cannot escape. My mind feels like this beautiful, bright and creative in its ideas yet I am not not really unbounded in my soul. I am not really breaking free of the confines of my habitual thinking. Something is holding me back and I need to look at it. It is as though life keeps snapping me back again and again until I learn certain lessons.
As I move through my 40's I realize that spiritual and emotional growth is slow. As I grow older I am called to engage with life on its own terms on deeper and deeper levels. Anne Wilson Schaef writes, "There is a kindness and gentleness that develops in the way we treat ourselves when we recognize we are an evolving, emerging process."
Perhaps for the first time in my life I am really facing my core vulnerability as a human being and the baseline of anxiety that covers it up with all manner of excessive doing and extra creative projects. When I sit still with the level of vulnerability that has run under my entire life, I feel the trembling preciousness and fragility of my human existence. I see that my life is unfolding of its own accord and that many of my grand plans and ideas may not come to pass in the way that I have envisioned them. My idealistic efforts to "make things happen" according to my plans have not all come to fruition.
I see now that I have options and choices within my life but there is a thread a direction that life is wanting me to follow. I am not a sole, all-powerful creator. When I set aside my ego-driven goals and plans I see that life is communicating to me through others through metaphors through dreams and through my spontaneous art about what I need to learn and how I need to grow. Mostly my growth is humble and ordinary. My growth is not about becoming famous or rich but it is more about learning to love more profoundly and have a relationship with my life the way it is.
More than ever it feels important to move into my full embeddedness into the process of my life and not be so hard on myself for not meeting all of my willful goals. In one of my journals from a year and a half ago I see that only now am I dawning onto the level of presence that I have aspired to in my past writings. I write in my journal, "I long for an exquisitely honed fine tuned inner attention deep sacred inner listening to life with an ear to how I can best participate and contribute I long a deep inner body listening.
In my meditation I see huge terra cotta pots filled with fertilizer, soil and many seeds. It takes a while for our aspirations to take root and grow. My longing for exquisitely honed inner attention is not a constant state for me. I can sustain a radiant presence longer and longer periods but mostly I reach this level of presence when I am leading or listening to others when I am fully participating with life.
In group situations where I am called to lead I can more easily choose to be deeply embedded in my experience as it is unfolding so much so that I sense immediately and intuitively into what words and what actions need to be taken with an exquisite and tender body awareness. There is no ego interrupting the natural process of life unfolding as it needs to. The minute I jump out of my embedded intuition of the whole and back into my disembodied thinking mind, my actions immediately become dissonant and they begin to conflict with reality.
The Challenge of Boredom
What we most fear is boredom and so we set endless goals to keep us occupied and distracted. We set goals that are not truly embedded in Life's Intelligence. As far as my everyday level of presence is concerned, I can still be quite mentally surface in my attention bored, restless judging my life and longing for a different experience immersed in an an almost childish attitude of "this isn't it" especially when my lofty ego goals do not materialize. There is a frustrating passivity to boredom. Boredom a part of ourselves that does not want to fully mature it is the child part of ourselves that wants life to be handed to us without a full engagement or participation on our part.
I am frustrated with my restless mental seeking and my surface boredom where I really do not make every effort to fully engage and participate fully with each moment as it is. Eckhart Tolle refers to becoming friendly with each moment. I see it taking a step further in developing an acute interest in and reaching out to extend to the moment to participate fully with whatever is emerging so that I can fully learn what each moment is teaching me.
In truth most of us are bound by immaturity by the laziness of our own consciousness. We are addicted to as Richard Moss puts it "our mediocre moments." I find this to be a familiar and frustrating struggle and I am still astounded how much effort, will and intention it takes to build bodily presence. Becoming consistently and steadily present to every moment of life, at times feels like training for an Olympic sport. Being fully present and participatory requires maturity. I often to don't want to give up the control of my familiar thoughts and mental comfort zone and immerse myself into my immediate bodily experience of life. This level of presence requires both an effort and a letting go of control. This invitation of full participation promises a colorful freedom to dance with and trust the flow of life.