Yesterday I spent the afternoon lying in a field of long grass looking up at the clear blue sky and the clouds being blown into shapes high above. With other people. Its not something I have done since childhood and I would not have thought of it except someone I know was organising our Natural Faith (outdoor church) gathering for this month - and she had been overwhelmed by busyness. On top of a normal packed work and life schedule, a serious family illness had meant lots of time spent at a relatives' bedside in another part of the country - stretching an already packed schedule. So she half planned the gathering some weeks previously, then lost even those notes... Others offered to step in, of course, but no we were running with the theme of accumulating unnecessary junk and busyness: the aim was not to fix it, but to feel it experientially.
So we went out into the fields carrying stray bits of non-biodegradable junk ready to work, to talk, to explore, to "do" this theme of busyness and being burdened by junk. And as directed, we lay down to look at the clouds. That's it. All the half-planned activities, the art and movement explorations that were floating around the theme were abandoned. We did nothing. No deep discussion, activities, workshops, just looking at clouds. We carried the unnecessary junk out into the fields- and back home again - acutely aware of the ridiculousness of the junk we were carrying.
The experience was perfect and profound: doing nothing was hard and at one stage or other during the three hours all of us jumped up ready to "do" only to be vetoed by the others into resuming the cloud watching.
Then as the evening sun sunk towards the horizon we packed up and went home, still without doing anything specific. Yet the afternoon was a rich and golden moment of autumn sunshine. I think we all experienced a gap in the normal continuum of time, and deep connection: with the others, with ourselves, with the warm grass and the earthy ground, and with the divine of the universe - all in a very general, inarticulate and nonspecific but profound way.
When we are busy doing life and running on the spot just to keep up - it is all this that is missing: the deep connections to self and others- and the time to relish the sunshine. The aim doesn't have to be to provide solutions: Not to to end up with yet another to do list of activities - activities to fix busyness... Nor is the realistic answer to do nothing all the time because to live is to support ourselves and others in the communities and families in which we exist. Instead I'll leave you with a thought - where are the windows of time in your lives that provide the lodestar to aim towards - and the spaciousness and connections that recharge and will ensure you have a store room full of resilience to draw on during the crazily busy times?
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