Wednesday Wisdom: Embracing Change.
It feels to me like May is a month of way closing and way opening for many of us—the school year is ending, people are moving, relationships are changing, and summer is approaching. It’s a time of change, as well as a time of renewal.
In his book, Let Your Life Speak, Parker Palmer talks about the notion of Way Closing and Way Opening. He asserts that our inner teacher reveals the essence of who we are, and what we’re meant to do, through both endings (way closing) and opportunities (way opening).
Recently, I led a day of prayer on this theme with a group of people on sabbatical. As a way to delve deeper into way opening and way closing, we engaged in Visio Divina—a form of sacred seeing that uses images to inspire insight and prayer.
As people prayed using images of doors, they not only noticed the details of the doors, but meditated on the thoughts, impressions, and questions that the images stirred within them.
- One door had steps leading outward—is this an invitation?
- Another door was framed with a trellis of bushes—is something new growing?
- Another door was enclosed in a shadow—is something asking to be seen?
When we took the time to gaze with an open heart and an open mind upon what these closed doors represented, it became clear that the way closing also contained and held within it the way opening. For they are inseparable, each living within and reflected by the other.
Way closing can have the guiding effect of way opening, if we allow it.
After we reflected upon way closing, we moved into way opening. For way opening, people gazed upon images of winding rivers, glaciers, mountain ranges, a jungle path, and a dancing woman. These images inspired words such as: faith, mystery, trust, surprise, and strength.
We discovered that to live into our changes, into co-creating our lives with the Divine, we had to remember that way closing and way opening shared a home together.
I invite you to take a moment to reflect upon this in your life right now:
- Let yourself sit quietly for a few moments. Gather yourself by connecting with the in- and out-flow of your breath. Do not try to change or control the breath.
- Connect with a way closing in your life, a relationship, job, place, or even something subtle like a perception or way of thinking.
- Meet your feelings, and all that is stirring within you. Be kind. Be gentle. Be loving with yourself.
- Can you sense the way opening within the way closing? How is God wanting to meet you here?