a little something extra

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sabbath 25

This is a long and interestingly personal chapter. In it Muller encapsulates his life's history of being a natural confessor -- that is, a person to whom others naturally confessed their troubles. He also describes a key experience of having a college counselor acknowledge the sadness that the counselor noticed in young Muller, and how that opened into an immense and apparently very memorable experience of benefiting from the same quiet listening and sympathy that Muller had often given to others.

Muller describes that sympathetic listening as a practice of "being Sabbath" for one another. I expect Tripp to rejoice in that coinage of phrase, as he has often used it himself. :-)

Near the end of the chapter, he winds back towards his book long theme that our lives are too busy and too full of stuff. In this iteration, he recounts a friend's experience refusing to thin her abundant garden, and winding up with less produce because of it. In this week's exercise, he recommends a metaphorical thinning of our lives, beginning by thinning out one thing we don't need -- an unread book donated to the library, unworn clothing donated to charity, unrewarding extracurricular activities cancelled.

I think it's a good idea. I own more stuff than I need, and as I hope to move into smaller quarters in the future, I would do well to thin it down. But I want to balance the impulse to minimize, with a full celebration of the love I associate with many of my possessions. I have artwork made by my mother and by a friend -- those pieces will always have places of honor in my home, wherever my home may be. The photographs that sit on my desk, bookshelves and bureau are not there because the frames look pretty; they're there because each photo reminds me on sight of people I love, many of whom I don't get to see in person anymore. Books were given to me by people I love; so were kitchen items, pieces of furniture, etc.

Now, to be fair -- my mother describes my decorating style as "minimalist" already. I don't think it's all that Zen, but it's not crowded Victoriana either.

But my calendar... now, that's another story. I've blogged some over the past year about my mixed feelings about the Pacific Chorale. It so happens that over the next two weeks I will spend parts of ten days rehearsing and performing with the group, first the "Alexander Nevsky" score with the LA Philharmonic at Disney Hall, then "Carmina Burana" with the Pacific Symphony at the Segerstrom. This is the most crowded Pacific Chorale schedule of the season, and after these performances are complete we go on hiatus till August or September. My question this summer will be, all other things being equal, do I rejoin the Chorale in the fall? Or do I step out to have more time for myself, keeping the choir at the Church of What's Happenin' Now (Northern Outpost) as my sole musical outlet? Food for thought.

Spinning backwards from the suggested exercise into the material of the chapter. I can see that there is a degree to which my life resembles Muller's description. I am glad that friends and family members trust me with their confessions of pain and trouble, and have the chance to feel better if I listen to them well. But I'm not so good with the reciprocation. I have issues about being known, and those issues limit my relationships. I continue to mull over how to uproot them. (The issues, not the relationships.)

Links to Cristopher's and Tripp's posts on this chapter.


At 7:29 PM , Blogger Cristopher said...

I've been on the receiving end, and yes, you have many times been Sabbath (sacred time and sacred space) for me.

I also think that Muller's ability is amore of a gift than a skill that he's honed over the years.

And I have recent pictures of us if you want updated ones for your picture frames. :-)

At 12:25 PM , Blogger meeegan said...

That would be great! I don't have any photos of you and yours.

Email's fine -- I can print them on this end.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home