Monday, February 9, 2009

Creating A Fitting Structure For A Soulful Life

Eighteen months ago, I was given a room, a room of my own.

I didn't understand initially just why I wanted one. I sensed, though, as I sat down at my desk for the first time, that new things would surely emerge from this space.

During the months since, I have created a website, developed a consistent writing practice, published essays on~line and in a regional newspaper, hatched the beginnings of a book and, in the process, made numerous nourishing contacts with like-minded folks.

It feels as though the room itself has been responsible.

Certainly, I made specific choices, working additional hours and even becoming acquainted with my inner techno-geek in this modest website and blog design.

However, I had no clear picture of any of this when I acknowledged my need for a space of my own, or when my husband and I reorganized our small home so this could happen.

In the delightful movie, Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner's character, Ray Kinsella, honored the words of a haunting, disembodied voice exhorting, “If you build it, he will come.” In the process of plowing under his cornfield to create a baseball diamond, life was transformed for Ray, his family, and many others.

While this movie, of course, is sheer fantasy, its message couldn't be more solidly grounded in reality. The outer forms we create in our lives can, if we devise them well, act as channels through which Grace might flow.

The architect, Louis Sullivan, made famous the phrase, 'Form ever follows function' to describe how buildings should reflect the intended purpose of the people who inhabit them. Shouldn't the composition of our lives reach for this same standard?

The amount of time we give to various activities, the layout of our homes, and our choice of entertainment, are a few expressions of the framework on which our life experience rests.

Unfortunately, we often move from one outer demand to another and rarely allow ourselves the opportunity to question whether the shape our life has assumed is working for us. Add to this the fact that our needs change as we do, and it's easy to see the wisdom of periodically reassessing our life's design. 

And we oughtn't to be afraid to take out the hammer and saw should a bit of remodeling be in order.

Most of us are not given such clear direction as Ray or, thankfully, prodded to his outrageous acts. Our urgings are more subtle and alas, because of this, easier to ignore.

But if we choose to listen and fashion contours that better support our values and goals, our life will begin to change. The metamorphosis likely won't rise to Hollywood standards, but as we create a larger opening for Spirit to enter, our path will become more soulful, transforming us in subtle, yet profound, ways.

In my case, by saying yes to the promptings to create my own space, I opened to so much more. Enthusiasm and fresh ideas swept in as well, as though they had been waiting for just such an entryway.

When Virginia Woolf used the phrase 'a room of one's own', she was referring to the fact that, unless we sculpt an outer life consistent with our intent, our inner worlds will not bear robust fruit.

However, if we construct the external forms as we feel called to do--if we build it--such fruits, sweet and sustaining, will surely come.


Loanne Marie


Jay said...

This connects (there's that word again) to so many things I've been working on, and thinking and talking about just this last week. I'm sending your post to a few people as soon as I hit submit.

Loanne Marie said...

So glad it was helpful. One of those synchronistic things (there's that concept again!). Thanks for writing!

PJIV said...

Thank you for taking time to share with us. I have enjoyed reading your columns the past few weeks and find them to be an interesting balance of spitituality and carnality (if that makes sense)- in other words, putting spirituality to real life. I look forward to, and wish you success with your continueing columns.

And yes there is a need for a space to call our own. We musn't trap ouselves in it, but use it for times that are needed.



Loanne Marie said...

Yes, spirituality talk can be a bit highfalutin at times and not as helpful to me personally when it is. I like it to be relevant for us mere mortals.

As far as your other point that we shouldn't trap ourselves in our refuges, I agree. I think we each might have a tendency for either pulling in or over extending ourselves in outward focus~~or perhaps either one at various stages of our lives. As with all things, awareness of our motives and our needs at a particular time, is the key. Oh, yes, and listening to what we know and acting accordingly!

And thank you, Phil, for taking the time to write, too!

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Leia Marie