Whole Souul Living theme for May - Community
“Sometime when the river is ice / ask me mistakes I have made. Ask me whether what I have done is my life. Others have come in their slow way into my thought, and some have tried to help or to hurt: ask me what difference their strongest love or hate has made.
"I will listen to what you say. You and I can turn and look at the silent river and wait. We know the current is there, hidden; and there are comings and goings from miles away that hold the stillness exactly before us. What the river says, that is what I say.”
- William Stafford
(Begin by re-reading the opening words, then…)
" “Ask me whether what I have done is my life.” For some, those words will be nonsense, nothing more than a poet’s loose way with language and logic. Of course what I have done is my life! To what am I supposed to compare it?
But for others, and I am one, the poet’s words will be precise, piercing, and disquieting. They remind me of moments when it is clear – if I have eyes to see – that the life I am living is not the same as the life that wants to live in me. In those moments I sometimes catch a glimpse of my true life, a life hidden like the river beneath the ice. And in the sprit of the poet I wonder: What am I meant to do? Who am I meant to be?
…Vocation does not come from willfulness. It comes from listening. I must listen to my life and try to understand what it is truly about – quite apart from what I would like it to be about – or my life will never represent anything real in the world, no matter how earnest my intentions.
That insight is hidden in the word vocation itself, which is rooted in the Latin for “voice.” Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling that I hear. Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am. I must listen for the truth and values at the heart of my own identity, not the standards by which I must live – but the standards by which I cannot help but live if I am living my own life.” "
- Parker Palmer
What comes immediately to mind after the reading from Parker Palmer?
Relate a moment when you had a sense that the life you were (or are) living is not the same as the life that wants to live in you.
Then, relate a moment when you knew that the life you were (or are) living is exactly the life that wants to live in you.
Talk about pursuing a goal vs. following a calling. Is there a difference? Does this difference have any practical meaning? Would your life look any different if your life were you in the same way that a tree is a tree, a cloud is a cloud, or water is wet?
Likes And Wishes
"The river is famous to the fish
The loud voice is famous to silence,
Which knew it would inherit the earth
Before anybody said so.
The can sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
Watching him from the birdhouse.
The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.
The idea you carry close to your bosom
Is famous to your bosom.
The boot is famous to the earth,
More famous than the dress shoe,
Which is famous only to floors
The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
And not at all famous to the one who is pictured
I want to be famous to shuffling men
Who smile while crossing streets,
Sticky children in grocery lines,
Famous as the one who smiled back.
I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
Or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
But because it never forgot what it could do."
- Naomi Shihab Nye
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