Imagining Relationship – the Focus of the Soul in Springtime
For over five years I have been exploring, imagining, researching the seasons of nature and the seasons of the soul.
I look at the way nature works, nurtures life and death, silence and song, storms and sunny sweetness, the magic of dusk and dawn, the territories of the bee and the buffalo all in a cycle of recurring differences in beauty, activity, and attention and I say to myself how does the reflect the mysteries of the human soul?
I love that I can take the fourfold gesture of Nature’s Year and apply it to the soul. I find each soul season gives me an inner focus for the work of imagining myself.
In Spring, Nature turns to love and new life. It seems wise and meaningful to focus my inner attention on my relationships. Oh, relationships receive my attention all year long, but Spring is when I focus on the nature of relationship. I bring a more disciplined observation to my thoughts, feelings about my relationships and consider how I intend to transform and evolve my engagement with others.
Between now and the Summer Solstice, I will be sharing with you my 2014 Spring thoughts on relationship. I’m excited to do this as I just recognized and named four elements that live in the experience of community and I will be using them to organize my thoughts for Inner Spring and the Nature of Relationships.
The Four Relationship Elements of Community
Around the Equinox, a few weeks ago, I spent the afternoon with a good friend who was sharing her sense of disconnect from community. I listened and found myself asking a deep question in my soul: What is the relational purpose of community? What did I sense my friend was longing for? What do I long for?
I woke up to four wonderful, meaningful activities. Not feelings…deeds.
The activity of connecting with one another.
The activity of caring for one another.
The activity of conversing with one another.
The activity of cultivating the growth of one another.
I started looking at all my communities I’ve been part of over my life time for the quality of connection, caring, conversation, and cultivation I have found in each one. Suddenly, I knew why certain relationships left me feeling sad or empty – I knew what was missing. I also knew what I needed to ask for. I wondered about what I was able to give and able to receive.
Do spend some thoughtful time with your feelings about each activity.
Go back to your parents – your first community. Did you feel connection? Did you feel cared for? Did you feel they were able to have conversations with you? Did they cultivate you?
I’ve realized that neither of my parents really thought about cultivating what was living as potential in me. They didn’t want to or didn’t know how to help me grow. Wow, did that make sense of a lot of my other relationships. I’ll tell you more about this in a future post on the element of cultivation.
PS. Tomorrow I am going to Portland to spend nine days connecting, caring, conversing, and cultivating with my three grandchildren. It will be great to take a few moments each evening before I go to sleep recollecting the moments during the day when each of these activities sparkled and wonder about what I learned (not just be flooded with the love I feel) about them and our community.
There’s a fifth ‘C’….CONFLICT. Destructive sometimes, but also constructive. I was at a retreat with the topic ‘community’ recently, and one presenter used an image of the Judas kiss as the ultimate new community. She said, ‘to be and work in community, you must be prepared to lose your friendships’. Conversation ensued on moving from a soul (therapeutic) to a spirit (initiative) community, from sympathy to empathy…
It’s great you brought up conflict. When I do my post on conversation I will be looking at conflict as it is a difficult conversation which leans to the cultivation side.
And there is much to discuss around caring/cultivation with the therapeutic/initiative gestures.
Thanks so much for planting these seeds of wisdom.