Be the blackboard…

I went to a Unity Church yesterday with a friend who wants to do some spiritual searching as well as some church searching.

I have a spiritual practice myself but I try to stay open and I know I don’t have this part of my life figured out. And, I don’t really expect to ever fully understand the power that, today, I choose to call God.

The “service,” which is probably not the word the Unity congregation uses for it, was in an old church downtown. Albeit, it isn’t as churchy as some churches – certainly not as churchy as say, the Cathedral a couple of blocks east of this one. But, still I felt uncomfortable. Not with the people, not with the ideas and practices, but with the building. I could appreciate the beautiful stained glass window that showed a man and a woman walking down a green path through trees and to a blue sky with a big yellow sun in the middle. I liked that part. The music was contemporary and sung by two men and one woman, with guitars in hand, singing harmonies – very beautiful. I love songs sung in harmony. I do and I did realize that my being uncomfortable in a less-churchy church is similar to my liking less-fishy fish when ordering at a seafood restaurant. It’s just me. My taste, my experience.  But I didn’t think I would want to come back to another non-service service.

The minister (probably not the word, etc.) gave a “lesson” not a “sermon.” It went something like….there’s a big blackboard, chalkboard and it represents me and me connected to my higher power. And, on one little section of the board is a chalk mark. That mark is what I call my personality. My personality is just a small part of the whole large board. So, he suggested that we drop away the chalk mark and just allow ourselves to be observant and present. That way, if someone says something mean or cutting to us, it’s just another little mark on this huge board and we don’t have to hold onto it and we don’t have to make it all of ourselves. It is only one tiny bit – one small experience in the large scheme of our lives which are a small occurrence in a large scheme of the even larger chalkboard that represents the universe and God.

Or something like that. I am not retelling it well. I just translated it into another saying I learned years ago – “detach” and “detach with love.” The minister also walked us through about a 10 minute, relaxing meditation. I like to be led through a meditation. I attempt meditation almost daily. It was so relaxing and his voice was very calming, and the not-church church was so warm, that I could have just keeled over and taken a nap in the not-pew pew.

So, before he finished, the minister suggested that we focus on being the blackboard and not hold onto the chalk mark. He said, the mark isn’t everything you are, it barely scratches the surface of your creativity, your soul, and your life.

I like that thought – that there is so much more to me and my life and the universe and my God. More than this office I am in right now. More than this job. More than my boss who verbally belittles me. I don’t have to hang on to any of this as if it reflects my value and my soul.  I actually was meditating, during his lesson, on a vision of my boss at my office door and the things she says, and just detaching and yet sending her love at the same time. Because I know, from my own history, that people don’t just decide to belittle others, they are usually taught by years and years of being belittled by someone they consider important. It’s very sad.

Luckily, my friend and I had the same feeling on our first Unity church – it was a little too “kum-bah-yah” for our tastes. And, we will continue looking and seeking.

And yet – when I went home yesterday, I finished some chores, got some lunch ready for today, and figured out what to wear. Then this morning, I got up and got a lot done. I got ready on time. I went to my morning meditation meeting about 10 minutes early so that I could talk to a few people before we started. I felt and feel less frantic about “getting outta this crazy place where I work” and more focused on just being here and doing my work, for now. I feel connected and not alone. I feel hopeful.

So, maybe that less-churchy church wasn’t AS uncomfortable as I thought. The message is sticking to me today. And for that, I am truly grateful that there are people who come together and learn how to walk a spiritual path together and that they let people like me visit as I care to.

(And no, I don’t know how to spell “kum-bah-yah.”)

My God, it’s November

Someone just said to me, yesterday, that time goes faster the older you get.

Well, that seems like a rip-off.

Time is slow when you need less of it? When you’re in a diaper of your own mess, the minutes crawl? Seems backwards.

So, what do you do as you age and time flies on and on? How do you catch some time?

I have no idea.

I am just writing this to get some writing in. I was supposed to meet some people for coffee this morning but no one was there and the coffee shop was mysteriously closed. Not a typical Wednesday morning. The point being, I got to work about 35 minutes too early. Well, too early for me!

So what to do with a 35 minute extra start to my day? Well, of course, I first did some job searching, email answering, daily meditative reading, etc. And, then I remembered my blog – which is my outlet for writing while I have my Writing Block on.

Like many people, I usually put off doing the thing that I want to do and do a bunch of other stuff. Some of the other stuff is important – like finding a job – some of it is more on the lines of playing Mahjongg Dimensions (my favorite online game right now). Eventually, if I’m sitting at a computer long enough (like an 8-hours-a-day job), I may get to this blog.

What is that? Procrastinating my “art”? A friend gave me a great book – The War on Art – which is all about this topic of putting off the one thing – your art – that you want to do. I’ve read about half of the book. It’s really good. I need to get around to finishing it. But when will I find the time?

I’m joking, of course. The craziest part of my life is that it is wide open with time for “art.” I don’t have family attachments or holidays or kids or a dog. I do have cats. I do have a job. I do have friends and meetings and recovery. But really, that doesn’t take up that much time. I don’t even have to cook or clean unless I want to. So, what the hell am I doing?

So far, I am writing this blog. I am making piles of books at home that are “haven’t read, ain’t gonna” and “haven’t read, really want to,” and sorted through stuff I could possibly sell on eBay or Craig’s List or Replacements (because I need the cash). I have spent a lot of time worrying about how to make ends meet – like a lot of Americans are right now because of the lag in the economic upswing – must be newborn with a really heavy diaper because of its excruciating slow movement through time.

I also spend time praying about the things I worry about. Do you know that saying? “If you worry, why pray? If you pray, why worry?” Well, just in case, I’m going to continue doing both. While I have the time.

Ok – so that’s the extra 35 minutes. Hurrah, I did not ignore my “art.” My “art” time is over for now.

PS – The reason I put the word art in quotes is because it feels very pretentious to me to even refer to my writing or acting as “my art” or “art.” Although it is creative expression, seems like anything like real “art” in is the MOMA or NCMA. But maybe it’s pretentious to feel pretentious about it?