Thursday, June 05, 2008

Of Presence and Presents

It seems like such an old pattern, one that's been mine since childhood: I'd rather go looking for distraction than be present in this moment. Distraction was the fuel that kept my addictions alive and growing while I was dying spiritually and relationally.

Distraction, being stuck, avoiding this present moment, all came to a head yesterday. Next week I'll be turning 46 years old. Last year on my birthday I decided to gift myself with no more binge eating. One day at a time, sometimes one nanosecond at a time, by the grace of God and my willingness, it continues to be a gift. I've often pictured my binge eating self as a ravenous animal tearing away at flesh, out of breath and still not satiated. I've certainly wanted to go there this past year. For today I ask God to help me choose not to.

I've been mulling over for a few weeks now what this year's gift will be. Centering prayer is the answer that's kept coming to me. Centering prayer places me right smack dab in today. One on level I see that as a huge gift. On another it seems like torture. Which is why I keep mulling it over, hoping another answer will appear. Yesterday as I went to do Yoga though, I decided that centering prayer would dovetail quite nicely at the end of my session. So I set my pocket timer for 20 minutes and began.

I cried from beginning to end.

From my journal:
"The tears just kept coming. First of all that I'm being called to this kind of prayer ~ that it will be my birthday gift to myself ~ as I acknowledged that I start to sob. The safest place ~held in God's embrace ~ feels so scary of a place to go. So I told God that. I cried out, "Daddy, I'm scared."
Then I got an image of one of my prayer candles, lit within me. Acknowledging the Divine presence within me I saw it expand and fill my being. More tears. What people have been commenting on ~ my peaceful countenance, my brightness, my radiance, is all His doing. His presence within me shining. Like a firefly who simply glows because that's what it's created to do. All I can do is surrender to God and being illuminated happens despite me. I can stop striving.
Then came whispering into my heart, "intimacy is found in me." And I laid there and sobbed and thought about where I've been looking for that intimacy. In that moment I knew that true intimacy flows out of my intimacy with Christ and that when it's present it's because Christ is at the core of it. Otherwise it's a false intimacy. In Him, With Him, Through Him.
The phrase "Merciful Jesus" kept coming to me. With Reconciliation tomorrow how else can I approach Him?"
Then today, as I met with Fr. Charlie, came more clarity into why distraction remains such an attractive option. One of my recovery heroes, Earnie Larsen has a phrase, "Who's driving your bus?" by which he means, whenever you find yourself reacting to someone, or a situation, what age are you? Is it your 5 year old self driving the bus of your life, the teenage self or your adult self? Where are you reacting from in that moment? My little girl self survived childhood by looking for distraction. It was a necessary tool back then. Back then. When I resist living in this moment I am letting my little girl drive the bus of my life today. Realizing this doesn't magically fix anything but it does give me a new awareness. It makes choice possible.

During the Sacrament of Reconciliation today Fr. Charlie emphasized two things:

God loves you as you are.
God's graces are being poured over you.
Know this.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Distraction, I know it well. Much too well...

Prayer for me, lately, has been difficult. Words don't come easily and most times I simply turn to The Lord's Prayer which is fine except that even then I get lost and bounce around, not even sure if I make it to the end. It feels like a desert time.

I suspect that distraction is at the bottom of much of it.

Mich

Heidi Renee said...

beautiful hope - you hold a light up for me here. i have been avoiding silence lately. filling it with healthy distractions, but distraction none-the-less.

i am so proud of you and your gifts to yourself - this past year has been monumental - huge - reconstructive - you have done amazing work. i look forward to hearing how this new gift unwraps in your life.

beth said...

Boy, you described me...and I'd been wondering lately about my constant need for sound and noise and visual stimulation and any sort of distraction.

God seems to be telling me that there's a bit of work to be done, and that it's time to do it...

He's using you for that. Thanks for this powerful post.

daisymarie said...

The "wows" of this post just keep coming in waves.

Wow: how cool to give yourself a gift.

Wow: centering prayer is so powerful...how that will impact your life this year...OMG!

Wow: how amazingly God has assured you that He wants this gift for you too.

Wow: the candle image....wow, wow, wow.

Black Pete said...

Hey, 46! Cool! I can still say, "You're just a kid" and get away with it! ;}

Tara said...

And I will add my "WOW" to this as well. I have never heard that phase "Who's driving your bus" but the concept to me is as familar as breathing. For the most part, my healthy adult drives..but there are those times when I can barely look over the wheel cuz my 7 yr old has taken over!! What's weired is I don't even realize we've changed seats...LOL.
The distraction for me is seeking out the alcohol. The men. The attention. Anything that takes me away from that lonliness that squishes up and in from below the depts of my heart.
Great awareness to share and give a way.
All of this post is profound.
You wrote:
Then came whispering into my heart, "intimacy is found in me." And I laid there and sobbed and thought about where I've been looking for that intimacy. In that moment I knew that true intimacy flows out of my intimacy with Christ and that when it's present it's because Christ is at the core of it. Otherwise it's a false intimacy. In Him, With Him, Through Him.

I've shared that same garden of tears. Thank you.