spirit flows thru -- Alison Rittger's spiritual reflections on finding the holy in the daily
PictureAutumn Leaf / Wona Kellie
Time to pick up where I left off on my Top Ten Big Ideas. Of course, ten understates the number of wise ideas others are compiling for my benefit. And my previous big ideas now seem smaller than when they landed with their pleasurable thuds whereas now’s new ideas seem glorious.

7. Start where I left off. A good idea because completing the promised list sets a good example for future lists and/or projects.

8. This Big Idea is powerful. The idea is to look at everything as an experiment. An experiment can never fail; it can only yield new information. This idea is worth putting into practice for me with an act as simple as drawing. I have said repeatedly, to the point of believing it, that I can’t draw. By chance I found a book on the shelf called Drawing with Children. Why not draw with myself because I am sure I shut down around childhood. Someone must have said my rendering of a happy family didn’t measure up and that may have been enough. So far I have drawn a teapot flanked by a tall vase with flowers and three stacking bowls, the top one holding utensils with decorative handles. The drawing is small and in pencil, but there it is! Who said I couldn’t draw! Didn’t draw is different from couldn’t.

9. Big Idea: Giving and being given are inseparable. In the past, my first response was to any offer was to refuse whatever it was. This is not to say I now expect to be given gifts, effusively complimented or loved. Nor is reciprocity the issue here. I am thinking more about what it’s like to experience being valued by another —accepting with a big-hearted “Yes” and “Thank You” compliments – as well as  feeling that I am worth the love being given. Perhaps part of this the Big Idea is learning to consign my habit of non-acceptance to the past by speaking about it in past tense language. And this could work with almost any strong habits rooted in the past. I could then open to enriching experiences with no past hooks.

10. In concluding this pre-Thanksgiving list of Big Ideas, I want to credit the web site en*theos for the plethora of lists cascading into my inbox on a daily basis. I might be annoyed except I chose to receive them, and I have enjoyed being told how to behave and what to believe. I especially appreciate being reminded that it is a good idea to replace pleasing with serving. So this is Big Idea #10.

Like many of my women friends, I was rewarded for docility and niceness, for keeping out of the way and not disturbing grownups. Internalized, this became a way of constantly taking care of others whether they knew it or not. The dreaded flip side was the weariness that set in from not taking care of myself and the anger that resulted. The idea of not trying to please, but instead to reach into the heart of compassion I am nurturing and serve others feels profound. Perhaps I will do as I did before but with a deeper intention, one that goes to the heart of who another being is – someone as spectacular and special as I am.

With Thanksgiving days away, I send heartfelt gratitude to the Zen priest in charge of my meditation practice, to the vulnerable and dear therapist who has become a valued guide, to the Buddhist who teaches Somatic Experiencing and said the “trauma” word, to my community at the Unitarian Church as I fumble my way back into the fold, to the East Bay Meditation Center for its diversity-embracing practices, and to Kate whose friendship and level perspective have altered my life. Gassho! (Palms together in front of heart and bow.)

Gregory J Rittger
11/26/2013 05:26:29 am

Spectacular and special, indeed, you are

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