Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Being Alone Together

No agenda - except to help people listen to their own soul
Paradox - of being alone together, of being present to one another as a "community of solitudes"
Circle of trust - to support an inward journey of each person
And/Both - we need interior intimacy that comes with solitude and the otherness that comes with community
Simultaneously - we need solitude and community to check and balance what we learn in the other and together they make us whole
Community - means never losing awareness that we are connected to each other, not about the presence of others but about being fully open to the reality of relationship
Space - create a space between us that is hospitable to the soul, where we can be alone together
Formation - best describes the Quaker practice of creating a circle of trust
Disclaimer - it is not a process in which the pressure of orthodox doctrine, sacred text, and institutional authority is applied to the misshapen soul in order to conform it to the shape dictated by some theology
Soul - is always calling us back to our birthright of integrity
Invited - to conform our lives to the shape of our own souls..and grow our selfhood like a plant, from the potential within the seed of the soul, in ground made fertile by the quality of our relationships
What kind of space - our soul's essence is a mystery, like a wild animal...it is tough, resilient, resourceful, savvy, and self-sufficient, it knows how to survive in hard places
Shy - despite being tough it is shy, and seeks safety in dense underbrush, and if we can learn to walk quietly, sit patiently, breathe with the earth and fade into our surroundings, the wild creature we seek might put in an appearance
Community - unfortunately it too often means a group of people who go crashing around the woods together scaring the soul away...from congregations to classrooms we preach and teach and assert and argue, claim and proclaim, admonish, and advise and drive everything original and wild into hiding
Circle of trust - knows how to sit quiety "in the woods" with each other and wait for the soul to show up...not pushy but patient, not confrontational but compassionate, not filled with expectations and demands but with abiding faith in the reality of the inner teacher
Unconditional love - people who help us grow toward true self neither judge us to be deficient nor try to force us to change, but accept us exactly as we are...it surrounds us with a charged force field that is safe enough to take the risks and endure the failures that growth requires, drawn forward by love into our own best possibilities
Relationships - we are freed to hear our own truth, touch what brings us joy, become self-critical about our faults, and take risky steps toward change - knowing that we will be accepted no matter what the outcome
Presence - it is a gift we can give and receive right now, to people all the time
Soul - will show up if we approach each other with no other motive than the desire to welcome it...when we protect and border and salute each other's solitude, we break our manipulative habits and make it safe for the soul to emerge
A HIDDEN WHOLENESS - The Journey Toward An Undivided Life - by Parker Palmer

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