Conventional language regarding spirituality tends to focus on work-related words. We speak of spiritual practice, discipline, effort, work...
These words distract us from the truth about spirituality. Work is all about earning something, doing something, getting somewhere. But spirituality is all about accepting, receiving, embracing, and surrendering. It is as if we want spirituality to be difficult so as to excuse our not bothering with it.
Better to speak of spiritual play than spiritual work.
Play can be no less intense and engaging, but it doesn't hold out the hope of a prize. You play for the sheer fun of playing. When your spiritual life is done for joy, your life will be filled with joy.
-Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Hasidic Tales: Annotated & Explained
Need some spiritual play in your life?
Let's talk about all you've been juggling and ways you can surrender to joy!
You name it. When the season of madness hits, what do you not have time for?
Yes the ball games are on at my house until late in the evening causing sleep-deprivation, but aside from those, I'm talking about a season when you're super busy.
Have you been running from one thing to the next, barely having time to breathe?—that's the kind of madness I'm talking about.
Even Jesus had days and weeks when no matter how hard he tried to find some peace & quiet, someone hunted him down and interrupted it (see Mark 1:35-39 or Mark 6:31-34).
As I look at my calendar, my March got busy rather quickly. I started getting that "hunted down" feeling. Holding my breath has been happening more often than I'd like this month. Spending time alone has been elusive. And I certainly don't have time to blog. So I'll keep this short.
Once upon a time I believed in balance. I quit believing in balance. I saw what striving for balance was doing to me and others...adding so much stress that the very things and people we were trying to balance ended up suffering!
Instead, I started believing in appropriately tending to each area of life. Each getting its turn. Equity rather than equality. Depending on school projects, health, extracurricular schedules and the like, there are some days (and even weeks) my daughter gets more of my time than my son and vice versa. It doesn't mean I like one of them more than the other (though they may accuse me of it!). However, if I consistently ignore one of them, clearly they are not being tended to appropriately. Same with housework and my husband (just to be clear, I do like the latter way better than the former!).
I'm a juggler. I don't throw all three balls in the air at the same time and try to keep them there. And I don't want to learn to keep plates spinning and balanced. That doesn't even sound remotely fun to me. I already learned that trying to keep life spinning and balanced causes a lot of crashes--that's no fun for me or anyone around me, especially if they were one of my "plates"!
Tending also offers the image of gardening. Not everything gets tended to at the same time and in the same way. The tomato seeds don't have to fret because the lettuce has been planted and tended to before them!
The next two weeks are really heavy on the work-side for me. My family knows this. They won't accuse me of being a workaholic (which I actually am a recovering one). They know I need to tend to the work I love and I'm called to do in this world. And they know it happens to have fallen rather thick at the end of March. Thus, March Madness. But I'm blowing the whistle. Even the Big Dance includes time-outs. Want to take one with me?
May we pause right now to take a slow, relaxed breath, receiving this unhurried Breath of Life. And may this Holy Breath be a reminder that the God who sustained Jesus when the crowds kept coming and the days grew long, can sustain you and me. May we allow this same Spirit of Life to show us how to tend to each part of and person in our lives in due season. Amen.
Kasey is a scarf, ball and club juggling spiritual director just outside of Nashville, TN. Play helps her Type-A, Enneagram 1 personality relax, creating space for poetry and other words to emerge. She also likes playing with theological ideas like perichoresis, and all the ways we're invited into this Triune dance.