Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Embrace the Fullness of Nothing
This is my 100th Post and I would like to talk about NOTHING! or to be precise embracing the fullness of nothing.
Here is a celebratory thought. Here is a freeing action. Here is a key to faith. Did I like it when I first stumbled on it?
NO NO NO!!
Enjoy having no pictures on the wall and nothing decorating the sideboard?
Enjoy empty flower beds in the garden?
Enjoy not having food in the fridge or cupboard?
Enjoy not having a partner and living alone?
Enjoy having no one to hear me 'debrief' at the end of a busy day?
Enjoy not having money in my bank account?
You can see where I was coming from. I saw 'nothing' as a poor, deprived state to be in. I didn't understand it was merely an alternative state. It is a state pregnant with possibilities. To appreciate the possibilities, I needed the beauty and fullness of nothing. If I spent most of my days filling in gaps and silences, I was not coming face to face with reality and faith.
All my life, I have worked to fill in the gaps. As soon as I moved house, for example, out would come the decorative items to place on sideboards, and pictures to go on empty walls - and, the quicker I put Peggy's pieces of homeliness in place, the quicker I felt in control and content.
Filling in the gaps ensured I didn't see the empty spots. It meant worrying about some things and not stopping to consider and look at the blessings I did have. It meant not stopping to think that perhaps there was another way.
Control is what it was all about. Doing nothing, and having spaces of nothingness around me, was inefficient, empty and scary. My senses were frightened by blank walls, blank gardens and blank days.
When I embraced the concept of nothing, it was as though a gentle breeze of love drifted into my life. For a self-confessed workaholic this was a big change. I am coming to terms, still, with doing nothing in particular, except pleasurable escapades, at weekends. Being free from guilt around my strongly entrenched work ethic is taking some time. To be constantly busy is no longer my goal. Emptiness, once disliked, is now tolerated and, quite often, appreciated.
It is a wonderful experience. The controlling Peggy who liked to see spaces filled, still chaffs at this new direction. I have confronted and handcuffed the emotional clutter of my past, and am working on discarding it as easily as I do paper rubbish.
I have been single for quite a few years, spending time discovering who I am, sitting in my quiet courtyard and enjoying the solitary journey. It is the best journey in the world, this journey to yourself.
Do I struggle with the concept? Often. Have I learned golden insights about me? Yes.
The process of enjoying the fullness of nothing is cleansing and freeing. If you feel stuck, or lack direction, try it. The downside of it is feeling out of control and alone. The upside is listening to the real you and appreciating yourself devoid of material things.
It will make you whole. "Be really whole" the Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu said, "and all things will come to you".
Photo taken at Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, Sydney, November 2003.