As I’ve said, I’m scrapbooking again.
As I’ve said.
But what I set out to write a few weeks back was not a diatribe on the virtues of skimpy scrapbooking. It was not meant to be only a physical confession of a swept-away hobbyist. It was intended to reflect upon the growing need within to remember. On the nostalgic needs of my psyche. On mindfulness, and the role of memory and sense and love and reality.
I got derailed.
That happens to me sometimes.
It’s OK. It worked. And I am glad for it. But it was not the intended destination, and the one written indelibly on the itinerary is still worth visiting. So bear with me while I wax a wee bit philosophical.
It may be that my newly invigorated forays into scrapbooking have settled on such a time as this because I was ripe and ready. It may be that the act of archiving is not just the act of archiving at this point in my life of flux. It may be that the spirit is ready, and the mind is responsive, and the photos are a physical means of making hay while the sun shines.
Mindfulness. Meditation. So long in the works, and finally finding purchase in my post-Protestant soil. It took a decade and a half of Orthodoxy for me to see clearly enough and dispel the fear of the quasi-mystical not firmly and obviously seated within the square walls of the Faith; nearly sixteen years before I could see these particular trees in the forest of my Faith for what they were. For mindfulness meditation is indeed very well-planted here in Orthodoxy. It is alive and well, unabashedly using eastern esoteric terminology and wild oriental philosophy, just trying to throw off the innocents.
Like me, blind with fear and hissing. Blinded by deep-seated fears and long unchallenged teachings against all things foreign. It all looked a bit too airy fairy, and there were questionable associations, and could this really be okay?
Yes! It could be okay. It could find fullness and direction and its true purpose. Redeemed. Fulfilled. Finding its very true sense of being. Here. In my Faith. Yes.
Because mindfulness is of God. Meditation is for God-seekers. And they are neglected tools in the tackle box of my soul, just waiting to be taken up and put to use.
We are psycho-noumo-somatic beings, as one great abba* likes to say. We are bodies and minds and spirits, a trinity of incarnation, and to deny any one part is to deny the whole. The intellect is employed for the betterment of the soul. The body is pushed into service in the employ of the soul. The soul brings to bear an entire arsenal of essential ingredients for the well-being of the mind and body. Ignore one, and you may as well ignore them all. But engage them all and you can achieve the synergy that theosis requires. And isn’t that the ultimate goal?
So the new wineskin of my old wine faith has finally burst, and it is time once again to refit, to refill, to order up a wineskin with a few more miles on it. With a little experience. With the room to grow with the God that will always multiply the grace and the mercy and the love.
I’ve allowed in some physical practices. Some mental and emotional practices. I’ve incorporated them. Set them in their proper context, seeking the health of the whole, and we’re careening towards salvation together now, an experience I wonder how I managed as a disconnected, witch-hunting chain gang. We still buck against one another, and kick collectively against the pricks of a loving God, but increasingly we are in it together, comrades in arms, a cohesive whole. Dare I say a human.
And as I work towards awareness and mental and spiritual health and clarity, I see the cataclysmic value of memory. Good memory, and also the redeemed bad. I see beyond nostalgia, that nostalgia has power, and that I can harness it. I see that life slips away, and the very act of remembering the past can make the present more present. Can help me into the present. Can heal me now.
I’m circling something, and I’m not sure that I can spiral in, not in any way that does justice to the journey. I don’t know that this is the stuff of concrete words, yet I struggle to stack them like little building blocks. Because words are where I reside. Words are where I live. Words are how I share. And their inadequacy cannot be denied.
So I will leave the vague and I will leave the allusion, for fear of bursting the bubble of the mystical. These words are for me. I share them as they are, in the event that they are enough, for one or two, to communicate the ethereal.
That my scrapbooks are not about my scrapbooks. But about giving credence and affirmation, and maybe even a little bit of a colorful pedestal to the stories that make us who we are, and the power those stories have to heal us and to make us whole and Godly.
Lemme know when you’d like to take a trip down memory lane together,
* he may argue with the title