Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The purity of clearness in community

Listen to post:
In 12 years of being Quaker and participating in as many clearness committees, I experienced the truest form of this tool yesterday. Sometimes they have offered advice, caring hearts and listening ears. Rarely have they been what yesterday's was: the chance for the person seeking clearness to state the concern and provide background out of silent worship, lapse back in, have the committee ask only authentic questions without imposing themselves, pause silently again, then reflect back what they have heard the focus person say.

It is a beautiful process and one in which I was the recipient. Too often, in my experience, we want to do what we do in the secular world: listen briefly, then try to fix it for the person in question. Either that or leave it merely at listening.

It's was not an easy thing to spill my soul, but I was unburdened by the boundaries the careful clerk laid. If I laughed or cried, the group was told not to react, to let me sit with these emotions, experience them and look to the Inner Teacher for guidance. Boy that was hard. I cried and laughed, but holding to the rule of no response, except to question and reflect back, taught me things I would not have known otherwise. 

One thoughtful member asked me what  I feared. I said not having the energy to accomplish what I feel God is calling me to. Saying that aloud dissipated much of the anxiety brewing within. Another prodded me more than once to explore this notion of "being tethered" I said I lacked. Turns out I feel overwhelmed by the scope that has been shown to me. Overwhelmed in a practical way, not spiritually. Spiritually I am so clear. Clearer than I have ever been. Putting that into practice is where I am stymied. The group reflected back that I tend to feel over-responsible and that I have to do it all myself. I do know one of my lessons is to ask for help. In this reflection, I could see that, perhaps, a partner could solve these realistic worries. A partner? I had never thought of that, exactly. I have prayed for companionship and community. But a partner with whom to share the daily ups and downs may be precisely what I need.

It's all still hatching and I am proceeding cautiously, yet I am moving forward. I have found a space I want to rent in which to do this work and have a deadline next week with a grant that, hopefully, will pay for the space. This is where I become tethered instead of spread among my small garage studio, computer in the house [or off at a coffee shop somewhere] and classes at my Quaker Meeting.

Clearness, real clearness among the nurturance of safety and companionship, is a rare gift. One for which I am eternally grateful.

With whom can I become clear?
• What have my experiences with clearness committees been?
• How have others helped me access my Inner Teacher?
• How easily do I listen and discern when I want a quick fix?
• What has patience (maybe also persistence) taught me?

sometimes I just want to
revert to the old world,
the one I knew before
becoming Quaker
where everybody had
a way to fix everything

then I remember
that didn't work so well

and the only real path
for me is to plod on,
quietly listening, discerning
and seeking the same in

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