Photo by Keith Lyndaker

American culture tends to prize maximum choice with minimum  limitations and, especially in this season, urges us to want more—not less.  We tie ourselves in knots stressing over constraints of time and chafe at the notion that others may impinge on our space or have more resources.  It seems to be human nature that however much space or time expands, we keep filling it and still feel cramped.  Perhaps we could contemplate cultivating alternate perspectives.  Freedom and structure are not necessarily mutually exclusive.  In some ways, having or expecting to have unlimited choices is an unearned “entitlement” of the privileged few.  Could being grateful and attentive to what we have help us to be fully present in the time we are in and actively inhabit the space where we live?  Sue Bender, in PLAIN AND SIMPLE, ponders the metaphor of patchwork quilting  to understand how to make sense of the rhythms of our lives.  She suggests that we can use the patches we have been given to create a pattern of meaning and beauty.

So, likewise, here is a gift of some little patches of reflection for whatever you may make of them…

By Linda DeGraf

Traveling light—imagine this meaning:  unencumbered journeying, a graceful way of traveling through life like a single leaf.  Now imagine another: the light by which we journey, the light that shows the way.  Our traveling light… 

We look with uncertainty
Beyond the old choices for
Clear-cut answers
To a softer, more permeable aliveness
Which is every moment
At the brink of death;
For something new is being born in us
If we but let it.
We stand at a new doorway,
Awaiting that which comes…
Daring to be human creatures,
Vulnerable to the beauty of existence.
Learning to love.
~ Anne Hillman

…I have another choice—to accept what I didn’t get to choose…what I finally get to choose is that tiny space between all the givens.  In that tiny space is freedom…Having limits, subtracting distractions, making a commitment to do what you do well, brings a new kind of intensity…Before I went to the Amish, I thought that the more choices I had, the luckier I’d be.  But there is a big difference between having many choices and making a choice.  Making a choice—declaring what is essential—creates a framework for a life that eliminates many choices but gives meaning to the things that remain.  Satisfaction comes from giving up wishing I was somewhere else or doing something else.        

If you would like to read more reflections and words of wisdom like these, you might enjoy the free, monthly newsletter compiled by our friends at Friends of Silence.