There’s a great health prayer that gives gratitude for body parts appropriately open and flowing or closed and contained. It’s really about sufficiency and balance, the harmony of a smoothly functioning system. Excess or blockage can create chaos, as we’re told happened after creation, with generalized self-serving corruption.
Some excesses, large or small, are a source of joy. Falling in love. A beautiful day. Sublime music. A clean house and a good book. Heading out for an adventure.
But highs are often countered by lows. Being dumped. Traffic jams or flat tires. Leaky roofs. Not enough of whatever you think you need to be happy.
This week’s reading’s about what happens after excess. A total reset. Wiping the creation slate clean and starting over. When it happens to you, it’s easy to feel like the folks in the post-Katrina or –Sandy pictures. The forlorn survivors, standing in matchsticks of rubble, as far as the eye can see. Few volunteers to be that poster child.
Our lives are rarely one smooth arc. We go through many cycles of joy, excess, loss, hope, and renewal. Over love, jobs, homes, births, deaths. Often much more trivial endeavors. Our lows aren’t as brutal as global devastation, but when you’re hurting and weeping, no matter the cause, it can feel that hard.
When we careen too far in one direction, we tip the balance, inviting in lessons that, if we were paying better attention, we might learn without having loss and pain come as teachers.
Chances are you’ve bumped into those lessons before. That they’re the ones, no matter how well you do with your other karmic homework, that you just can’t quite seem to get out from under.
You might see the storm clouds coming. External circumstances pushing you towards some edge. Or your own emotional patterns steering you onto the rocks. The universe is filled with hints and foreshadowing. But, if you’re not paying attention, you can get pretty wet before you find dry land again.
Most of us have good instincts about what’s important to our happiness, whether that’s body, mind, heart, or spirit. Think about the yin and the yang of what matters to you. What you’d really need to create your next world. Bring that on board. Then release what’s ready to be washed away as you enter the ark of your future.
Most of us won’t see doves bearing divine messages. But hopefully you’ll learn the markers of better decision-making and know what to do next.
At the end of the Noah story, the rainbow symbolizes the divine promise that devastation will never again be so total. Translation: once you’ve tanked, there’s nowhere to go but up. You’ve earned another chance to get it right. Another chance to get clearer about how you want to live.
Take time this week to think about the next cycle of your adventure. What do you want your life to be about? What parts do you need to shed, to say Thanks but good-bye? Which to heal and improve? To invest in, give voice, learn from? If you can contemplate the answers with more curiosity than fear, hooray for the promise of this next round.