Sunday, January 17, 2010

Kumbayah Kamp

I had me some unchurch this weekend. Nanny and I had tickets to go to what pretty much amounted to a new age tent revival, which was three hours of spirit-love Friday night and four hours Saturday morning. N, who had to get up early, early to take her sweet-pea to the airport at 5am Saturday morning, stumbled in to the morning service--where everyone was paired up and crooning a love-chant to one another--and muttered, "I should have reminded myself I was coming to Kumbayah Camp."

Indeed. I won't bore you with the details, but the whole thing would have made an excellent scene in a very cynical movie about positive thinking. I was self-conscious a lot during it, and also I soaked it up with every fiber of my being. Because who doesn't need some real love like that? And who couldn't stand to let go of a little cynicism and self-consciousness? I'll take a healthy dose of the love, and would be happy to ship out a cargo-load of the other.

And THEN I went to church this morning with M., and got me some more love.

What came out of the weekend was this: my intention for the year is--drum roll, please--more quiet contemplation (I know, I know. Anti-climactic). Seriously. I think what I would like to have in my life is more sitting and staring out the window. More sitting with my kids in my lap, or crawling all over me. More breaks at work where I just lay on my office floor and hang out.

That's it. That's what I'd like. I did it all day today, just to try it out. It was great.

Here's what I'd like to let go of: my all-too-strong sense of righteousness. Oooh, does it flare up, and I think I'm right, and I get all judge-y and defensive. So, I think someone has wronged me, or thought badly of me, or is attacking me? Out comes the righteousness, and it manifests outwardly as sarcasm and meanness and defensiveness. Mostly, my routine has been to go over and over in my head why I'm right until I get it just right. Have you ever done that? Relived a conversation, or looped a response you wish you had made?

What I'm discovering is that as soon as I feel those little pinpricks of righteousness, that's a pretty good signal that I've just screwed up or am about to screw up in a big-ass way. Like, either I'm feeling righteous about being right but I'm actually wrong (or wrong-headed) and just don't know it yet. Or, I might be right, yes, but what's about to come out of my mouth will be something I regret later.

The righteousness-response is so in-grained in my being I didn't even realize that was what was going on until recently. I figured it was just me being brash, or too much, or unwise. I hated that part about me, and tried to hide or suppress it in a lot of different ways. But I think now I can see the righteousness-response as a tool, as an indicator that I'm about to do or say something that will be a bummer to me or someone else. And I can hurry up and be quiet for a little while. Or think on it.

Not that I won't screw up big still. Those old patterns are hard to change. But I felt a big awareness hit this weekend, and so maybe those old patterns are going to get shook up a bit now.


  1. As I was relaying my unchurch experience with you yesterday to a friend (S in MT), I kept going back to the collective silences. How I crave that, and felt renewed by it, calmed. She totally "got" what I was saying. The power of that community--of any congregation-- in its silence, what it lifts up and how it holds those who are was, indeed, a oneness that centers and heals. I see why you would set forth an intention of quiet contemplation, and why you have come to it now, after a weekend of hooo-ya rev me upp-ing...all that exuberant energy has as its opposite a quietude; when the din subsides, such energy ushers forth pockets of thoughtfulness, peace and consideration, the illumination of the Divine within us all. I see you. I support you. Anti-climactic my ass. Holding your hand still...M.

  2. Thanks, M. I love the support and am so grateful for your understanding.