Zero it out!"
My whole personal rule of life is really just one simple thing: Zero it out, ask God what to do next, and do that right away." When I live this way, my sense of time expands and deepens, love flows. Life feels almost effortless. I'm full of joy.
"Zero it out" means
- PAUSE! Don't do anything "on automatic" -- something habitual. Empty my mind of my own ideas about what to do next, stop the "list" flow of things to do. Release any anxieties, worries, and "shoulds."
- ASK GOD "What next?" or "What now?" And wait for an answer!
- DO IT RIGHT AWAY.
I've found that this gets more difficult as the day goes on. I get tired; external things can press in. Sometimes the best way to settle my bodymind is to lie down for just a moment, which actually ends up saving time!
I was always rewarded as a kid for doing things fast. Fast reader? Wow, you're great. Ran a half-mile in 2.5 minutes! Worth the PE teacher announcing it across the whole high school. (Hey, it was significant way back then!)
So for me to pause, means leaving behind a lot of what I've learned. In some ways, it means leaving the larger culture. Already the quality of time changes.
Ask God "What next?"
This step is tough for me too. Why can't I just decide for myself? It's even embarrassing. I'm an adult, after all.
Yet I know it's a great thing to be able to hear God's voice answer in my mind. Wow! And what God tells me is often a huge surprise. Now the quality of time really opens up.
do it right away
You mean it isn't enough to write in a journal what God suggests I do? Ask a lot of questions about why, and the fine points, and what comes AFTER that and what comes after THAT? And it isn't helpful to argue about it? Sigh.
When I do follow God's suggestion right away, this is when life becomes a real adventure! And yes, my writing this blog post with the clear intention to publish it (gulp) is for me an adventure. In the moments when I'm doing as God suggests, I become more than any role. I'm no longer mainly an artist, or mother, or a Christian: I become an adventure!
the "O" word
It's difficult for me to talk publicly about the "O" word -- obedience. It goes back to that idea that really, as an adult (and a well educated one at that) I should be running my own life. Obey God? Aren't we in the Age of Aquarius, the big shift when God and I are supposed to be peers, good buddies? No more God as parent?
Apparently God is way beyond any role or gender, too: God seems to be VERY big adventure!
Anyway, I've known for a few years now that what I really want, in my heart of hearts, is the freedom of perfect obedience.
It's a paradox. How can obedience be freedom? Well, embracing paradox is one of the ways we become adults, "putting away childish things." And...no matter what my mind argues, my heart and soul understand. My body says yes. It's just my mind that can get confused.
Unlearning So Much
This is a different way for me to live. I spent so many years learning how to set goals and priorities, visualize achieving those goals, evaluating my progress, working with timelines and....well, you get the gist. It's challenging for me to release this big investment. The thing is, there's nothing WRONG with any of these tools for living. They're all fine.
It's just that God wants something even better for me: ecstasy. God gives me so much less to do, moment to moment, when I ask -- than I dream up for myself with lists and project plans. To zero it out, ask, obey...is simple, deep, expansive, ecstatic.
Let me be clear that despite knowing this -- I do keep making lists (and then at God's suggestion, deleting or archiving them.) I do forget to zero it out. Often God suggests what to do next and then I do something else instead. I go back on automatic and my finger just reaches out all by itself and clicks on Email or Facebook.
So my rule of life, though so simple, is challenging for me! As any rule of life would be. Yet, when I do it, my life becomes almost effortless, and full of joy.
enjoy the image we began with:
These are three of the five shapes that the late anthropologist Angeles Arrien identified as sharing meanings across cultures, genders, and ages. I chose the spiral because this "zeroing it out" process is transforming my life. The cross preceding it is about my relationship with myself -- especially my soul -- and with God. The triangle beyond the spiral is about new goals and achievements. May they be by the grace of God!
Have fun with interpretations of the colors: the fiery red, the darkness, the blue! And with your own interpretations of the three symbols here. The image I made by cropping and playing with an oil pastel painting of the way God guides and lures us, of what's happening in our lives beneath the surface, at a heart and soul level.
The painting is numbered #120011, entitled "Oh Yes!" -- and you can view an image of the whole painting on the "Love 101" page here. Email me if you'd like to have it in your gallery, office, or home -- or if you'd like to donate it.