I wrote last time about unplugging from daily life -- taking time away to breathe. A more difficult task is staying spiritually connected even in the midst of our busy lives.
Perhaps "unplug" was the wrong word to use, because the more I think about it, the more I think the key to surviving when life becomes hectic is to stay plugged in -- plugged in, that is, to the source of our spiritual energy.
Most of this weekend I was exhausted from a tough week of long workdays. The solution, I thought, was rest. So there I was plopped in front of the television, catching up on recorded episodes of Doctor Who. Or reading a book. Or doing a crossword puzzle. Or surfing the Internet.
But no matter how hard I tried to entertain myself, I didn't feel refreshed. Just because I wasn't working didn't mean I was resting. It was just a different way to use up my depleted energy. I was unplugged, all right, but still whirring along.
What I needed was to recharge, not just relax. And that requires more than physical stillness. It requires an inner stillness, a receptivity, a recognition that I do not need to be distracted from the goodness of life in this moment.
This is something I learn over and over again, which shows what a slow learner I really am. I forget what truly nourishes me. And as often happens when I realize -- again -- that I need to plug in more than to unplug, I looked up Edward Carpenter's poem "The Lake of Beauty":
Let your mind be quiet, realising the beauty of the world,
and the immense, the boundless treasures that it holds in store.
All that you have within you, all that your heart desires,
all that your Nature so specially fits you for -- that or the
counterpart of it of it waits embedded in the great Whole, for you.
It will surely come to you.
Yet equally surely not one moment before its appointed time
will it come. All your crying and fever and reaching out of
hands will make no difference.
Therefore do not begin that game at all.
Do not recklessly spill the waters of your mind
in this direction and in that,
lest you become like a spring lost and
dissipated in the desert.
But draw them together into a little compass, and hold them
still, so still;
And let them become clear, so clear -- so limpid, so mirror-like;
at last the mountains and sky shall glass themselves in
and the antelope shall descend to drink and to gaze at her
reflected image, and the lion to quench his thirst,
and Love himself shall come and bend over and catch his
own likeness in you.
So as we all return to work after the holiday weekend, my wish for you and for me is still waters and true refreshment.