Gift from the Sea, Channeled Whelk ~ part 1
This chapter has had enormous impact on my life. It is one of those “bits” that helped to shape and form me in younger years. It asked the same questions that I have often asked myself over and over again throughout my adult life. And even better, offered answers to those questions, that while not my own, gave guidance and direction to help me find my own answers when I felt lost and alone.
There is so much here that I’m going to break my thoughts on the chapter into two sections.
Allow me to start with a few quotes from the chapter that have held meaning for me, my emphasis in places.
“What is the shape of my life?”
“But I want first of all – in fact, as an end to these other desires – to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact – to borrow from the language of the saints – to live “in grace” as much of the time as possible. […] By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony.”
Socrates – prayer from Phaedrus; “May the outward and inward man be at one.”
“How to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life, how to remain balanced, no matter what centrifugal forces tend to pull one off center, how to remain strong, no matter what shocks come in at the periphery and tend to crack the wheel of the hub. What is the answer?”
By nature, I am a pessimist. If asked if the cup is half empty or half full, I will invariably reply, half empty. I am by nature, a dreamer, always looking forward to the next thing, not always thinking about where I am, often not appreciating the here and now. As a young mother of 4, I realized that I wanted to live differently. Even now, I am a person in progress. Each day, each moment, I find I must choose how I will be in that moment.
For me, inner grace which shows in outer harmony is truly born of spiritual harmony. My belief and faith is a strong foundation holding me up, a fail-proof roadmap to life. The lessons are simple.
“And [Jesus] said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22: 37-39
When these two great commandments are followed, then the fruits of the Spirit become manifest: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.” (Galatians 5: 22, 23
I’ve come to realize that living a life of grace is a choice that I must make each moment, every day. I am learning to live each moment to the fullest. Some days I have more success than others.
I find that life is rather like a roller coaster. We get on the ride and the safety bars buckle around us keeping us in place. Then the ride begins. We can’t get off, can’t slow it down or speed it up. It happens in its own good time. It can be a great ride, fun, thrilling, exciting. Or it can be a miserable, scary, terrifying ride. The difference is in our approach to it. We can choose to open our eyes, wave our hands in the air, shout our exhilaration to the sky, and make the most of the ride, experiencing the fullness of each new sensation, even sitting in the front seat if we choose to get the greatest effect from it. Or we can sit further back, cowering in our seat, eyes tightly shut, fearful of every sensation, anxious each moment, screaming in fear or blaming everyone around us for our terrible experience, desiring only the end of the ride.
Isn’t our very life like that? Each new thing that comes, how will we approach it? What is the shape of our life? How will it color this new experience? Will we stand around bemoaning our fate or will we rise to the challenge, continue living to the fullest? How will we choose to respond to what life brings? I wish I could tell you that in every moment I am able to make the best choice. The reality is that I fall far short. But as the years move on, I see progress. Contentment increases and I am learning to live a life of harmony and grace.