I’ve been thinking about how important it is to be anchored in life. Due to the uncertainties in the world today, this is not the time to drift like an unmoored ship. At the beginning of 2011, I said to many of my friends that this was the year to batten down the hatches, strengthen our relationship to our creator, lighten the load by ridding ourselves of our need for stuff, and stay awake. And so I watch carefully what’s going on in and around me, and use every moment I can as an opportunity to grow in Spirit and strengthen my inner being.
I am committed to taking into account both the large and the small. Many things happen that seem small, but when I step back and look at events, I see how nothing I build on in life is inconsequential. Everything has meaning, in one way or another. Every experience is a means to growing my knowledge, wisdom, and strength.
Last week presented me with a few interesting opportunities and challenges for insight and anchoring. I did not get back in town until Tuesday afternoon, and by time I unloaded my personal belongings from the car and put them away, the day was almost over. Wednesday and Thursday were catch-up days, and on Friday morning I faced a big fear. Saturday and Sunday were days of noticing where I was, and here it is, Monday again. As I look back on my week, keeping in mind my need for steadfastness, I can see the extra anchoring I did in my life.
Friday was a red-letter day. I’m afraid of dentists, or I should say, I’m afraid of having dental work done. When I was a kid, I always seemed to have a mouth full of cavities, and getting teeth filled and extracted in the 40’s was usually a painful ordeal. I remember,as a child, crying both before and after I went to the dentist. There were no high-speed drills, in fact, having my cavities filled was like holding on to a jack hammer as my body vibrated with the impact of the drill. Teeth were pulled with an instrument that looked like a pair of pliers, and the dentist would yank on a tooth until it came out. The thought of it evokes a shiver down my spine, while it helps me understand my fear of dental offices.
I’d suspected I had an infected tooth for a couple of weeks, but due to my fear, I kept hoping I could get rid of it. I was using peroxide in my water pick and swishing with warm salt water, but by early Friday morning I knew I needed to go to the dentist and have the tooth taken care of. I kept putting it off, and finally at 11:00 I called and made an appointment.
I’m happy to say that I had the best dental experience I”ve ever had. The office staff and the dentist were compassionate, kind, and very gentle. I was completely numb when the tooth was extracted and felt nothing. If dentistry had been like this when I was a child, I more than likely would not have developed such a fear of having my teeth worked on. I noticed that the dentist did not yank my tooth out; instead he kept rocking the tooth back and forth with a pair of forceps, and when he had it completely loose he just lifted the tooth out. Piece of cake. The tooth was gone, I’d faced my fear, and I felt relief and the surety of knowing there was a dentist I could trust.
On Sunday morning, while thinking of the events of the week, I saw how anchored I felt in my new house. Everything I’ve done in this move has been precise and well-thought out. Unpacking my boxes has been a slow process, as I’ve allowed myself to lift one thing at a time out of the box. I’ve been mindful of my movements and slow in making decisions about “my stuff.” As I unpack something, I ask myself the questions, “Will I use this? If so, how often? If not, is there a reason for keeping it around?”
I’ve kept so much stuff over the years, in hopes of someday using it or needing it. But today is a new day, and I know it is time to lighten the canoe. I am certain that I need less stuff and I’m actually finding it easy to let it go. And so the side of the basement that holds the “to get rid of” boxes is growing, and the “to keep”side is shrinking.
This morning as I walk through my house and bless all the rooms and the corners. I pray this place will be a safe space for us and for any who seek shelter from the storm. Paul and I have been very aware of the importance of making each place we’ve lived safe and pleasant. Our homes have always been a haven for us, and we throw our doors open to all who come in peace. I pray you have your own safe space, both within and without, where you can drop anchor and know you are loved and accepted, and able to weather the storm.
Following is my favorite David Whyte poem, that hangs in a frame by my door.
The House of Belonging
This is the bright home
in which I live.
This is where I ask
my friends to come.
This is where I want
to love all the things
it has taken me so long to love.
There is no house
Like the house of belonging.