Becoming free from those places we are stuck

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More on the desert theme which is central to Lent.

The original desert experience was that of the Hebrew slaves who escaped from Egypt. But Egypt has always been understood as more than just a place. Indeed the word for “Egypt” in Hebrew – Mitzraim – means “a narrow place.” So “going out from Egypt” can mean going from a narrow place where we are stuck, from repeating patterns of behaviour, from a sense of ourselves as weak or defective, to a wider sense,  a place where we are free. The desert is a symbol for the space to face what holds us back, which we often think cannot be changed and will keep us stuck forever: 

The only permanent thing about our behaviour patterns

is our belief that they are so

Moshe Feldenkrais 

What holds meaning and mystery for you?

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The start of the season of Lent – an interior simplification and going into the desert. Seeing what is essential through a letting go of some of the distractions and non-essentials in our lives:

I like to ask one of the questions I have found most useful in setting intentions and making choices: Where does the energy want to go now?  I ask this question and sit with the sense of the life-force within. . . . following my breath, letting go of my to-do lists and all the things I think I “should” get to. . . .and every time- if I am willing –  I get a sense of where the energy that is manifest in this one small human life, is drawn. This isn’t a passive exercise – it’s not “just” about “going with the flow.” It’s discerning where our essential being is drawn, what holds meaning and mystery for us now, and then coming into alignment with that flow to take actions, make choices, offer what we are to the world

Oriah Mountain Dreamer

photo tiia monto

Keep starting over

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Research by Carol Dweck at Stanford University says that it is better if we develop a “growth mindset”  which sees challenges and mistakes as opportunities to grow and does not give up when things go wrong. A learning organization is one that is prepared to make mistakes. And, as someone said to me yesterday, even the challenge of a person’s mood can be an occasion to learn:

If I had a message to my contemporaries it is surely this: Be anything you like…. but at all costs avoid one thing: success . . .

If you are too obsessed with success, you will forget to live.

If you have learned only how to be a success,

your life has probably been wasted

Thomas Merton

photo: cc-by-2.5