Saturday, October 04, 2008

formation

“to be nobody but myself— in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make me somebody else— means to fight the hardest battle any human can fight, and never stop fighting.”
--e.e. cummings

I love to read. One of my favorite things to do is to light a candle, put on some gentle music, pour a hot cup of coffee and snuggle into my bed surrounded by my current pile of reading material. The challenge for me, however, comes as I switch back and forth between texts (with an intermittent stop at my favorite blog sites) and then try to remember where exactly was that brilliant point I want to incorporate into my musings.

Currently I am reading Trapped in the Mirror—Adult Children of Narcissists in their struggle for self and Life is a Verb by the delightful Patti Digh of 37 days. This morning I began Lectio Divina by my dear friend Christine Paintner of Abbey of the Arts and I recently finished The Wise Heart – A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology by Jack Kornfield. At first glance these texts might appear to be quite diverse in topic and indeed they are. However, my ponderings this morning brought out the common thread I see in these books.

Perhaps it is merely my perspective, but I see that all move toward the goal of greater life – fullness – connection with God – mental health – mindfulness – coming alive – fulfilling who we are meant to be. They all speak of formation and lead me to ask the following questions: How will I be formed? How am I being formed? What is my role in personal formation? Do I read for information? Do I write to be formed or to inform? Who or what do I seek?

When I allow myself to slow down, I realize that it is God I seek. The ultimate wholeness and completeness of the universe. When I experience God, I am home. I see the beauty of the stillness. I hear the still small voice - the words that seemingly come out of nowhere. The meaning that has no words – only experience. I know that I am here for a purpose even though I may not quite know what it is.

So I invite you to ponder along with me. How are you informed? Do you see patterns in your life that warrant exploration? Who or what do you seek in your daily life? In your readings? Your work or play? Do you choose to fight the battle to be yourself? Or do you allow others to make you into someone else?

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.
--Rainer Maria Rilke

7 comments:

Kel said...

your bookshelf sounds like it has the diversity yet sameness as mine :)

and I seek the same thing you do - the experience of God - which is different to the knowledge of . . .

and yes, I choose to fight the battle to be myself, for after all, my name means warrior woman!

Barbara said...

I certainly feel my way. In the Benedictine tradition, I listen. I listen not just to folks whose advice has proven good, but also to my own body and to what God may present to me at the moment -- be that a book, a blog post, the weather, the touch of a friend.
Since my life has been going through a somewhat darker phase of late, I live the questions (in reference to Rilke) of the darkness; I don't fight it because there is nothing to fear and I have reached out for the help God extends to us. I think my scientific curiosity comes in to play and I become the observer of my life. I make small changes and observe what happens and adjust accordingly.

Karen said...

As the title to blog says--I'm on a journey to authenticity! For so long, I have been hiding who I am--I'm really good at figuring what other people want of me and then molding myself to fit that. So basically, the questions you ask at the end are questions I ask myself practically every day. I haven't figured it all out, but I get moments of clarity--and then I build on the moments--and hopefully, in the end, I'll be who I'm supposed to be...

Tess said...

Thank you for this link between the words inform and formation - I don't think I would have got there myself.
Much to ponder here, and I thank God that increasingly I am able to let go of what others think of me. (Not entirely, but getting there...) Which means formation can be more directly in-formed.

By the way, I would also like to snuggle in bed to read but unless I close the door I am not allowed to, because your namesake Lucy-the-cat sees books in bed as arch-rivals for her affection and inserts her furry body between them and my eyes, repeatedly.

lucy said...

kel--i love that your name means warrior woman!!! is it your given name? lucy means light :-)

barbara--here are my favorite words from you today: "I don't fight it because there is nothing to fear". i think that says it all!

karen--here's to a few moments of clarity on which to build!!! keep journeying, friend!

tess--oh, i love that lucy the cat..she's my kind of kitty :-) xoxox

storyteller said...

I never cease to be amazed when I find YOUR mind running along similar paths of my own (or vice versa). I’ve shared that same e e cummings quote often (on each of my blogs) because I keep returning to the challenge of allowing myself to BE myself … just as I am. Interesting, this morning I started creating a Wellness Wednesday post that’s (not yet finished and waiting for me in my ‘drafts’ folder) based on this longer version of the same Rilke quote:

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will find them gradually, without noticing it, and live along some distant day into the answer."
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet


I’ve been ‘struggling’ with myself and the things of this ‘real’ world … dealing with chaos & confusion generated by things over which I have little, if any, control in my own ways … using various ‘texts’ to assist … sharing bits & pieces occasionally at Sacred Ruminations … but holding back (as I all too often do) … trying to ‘live the questions now’ as authentically as possible. Hopefully I’ll finish and publish that post before today ends … but at the moment I was ‘distracting’ myself with some ‘blog visits’ … (chuckling here as I type this because I should have known that wasn’t likely). The Universe does have a way of directing our attention to what matters, doesn’t it?
Hugs and blessings,

Kel said...

yes, warrior woman is the meaning of my given name (of which I blog under an abbreviation of)

how nice that you could choose a blog nome de plume which means light

it suits you
you are a seeker of light
and seem in your blogposts to have the ability to take yourself lightly when required :)