(not to be confused with the movie, “The Grudge”)
If there is one thing I’ve learned over the past few years it is this: pay attention. It seems relatively simple, right? I mean, how hard is it, really, to notice things. But I’m not referring to noticing when someone is sporting a new hairstyle or donning a new outfit. That’s stating the obvious (although I’ve had lapses on even that rudimentary level). No, I’m talking about being aware and open to the subtleties in life. Oh, they’re there all right but too often we blow past them in the rush of daily life (and doesn’t life seem to be moving faster and faster). I’m throwing myself under the bus on this as I too often move too fast in my daily routine to hear the whisper of Spirit or notice those around me.
Let’s be honest … we live in a very noisy world – cell phones, MP3 players, television, car radios, podcasts, car horns, traffic – and it doesn’t seem to be getting quiet anytime soon. We also live in a very busy world; frenetic is probably a better word. We have school events, grocery shopping, work, appointments, social engagements, and the list goes on and on. I am not immune to these demands. Too often my day is spent hurtling from pillar to post and by the end of the day I realize that I have not paused at all. That kind of lifestyle can easily become addictive and I have to re-learn how to be still. Being still is critical for me. It is only in the stillness that I can hear the whispers in life. Move to fast and I miss them. Move too fast and I don’t pause to watch the birds at the feeder outside the kitchen window. Move too fast and I fail to notice how blue the sky is today. Move too fast and I miss the beauty in everyday things like the way the sunlight makes the fresh snow sparkle unlike any diamond! If I don’t slow down and be still, inside I’ll miss the nudge of Spirit. I’ll miss the important but oh so subtle whisper of direction for my life. I need that navigator, that internal compass, in my life; without it I cannot know which road to take in life. When I am aware of the nudge and heed it’s leanings I am more peaceful. When I am lost in myself I inevitably will miss the “bridge out ahead” sign and fail to take the exit ramp. Listening for the signal allows me to feel the nudge of Spirit and that nudge moves me in the direction to which I should travel.
I got that signal, that nudge, at several crossroads in my life in the past few years. I sought out the necessary help for my struggles eight years ago; had I not, you wouldn’t be reading this now. I went on that second date with Eileen; had I not, my life would feel an emptiness. I hosted a teen orphan from Latvia and adopted another one; had I not, I would have missed the opportunity to see how unconditional love can conquer fear and I wouldn’t be blessed by my son and “daughter” today. I started a writing career; well, we’ll see where that leads.
So why write about “the nudge?” You’re just describing a seemingly random series of events and choices, aren’t you? Here’s why … when I get that nudge I follow it’s lead. Last week I watched a video. It was an interview of Sister Simone by Krista Tippett. During the course of the hour-long conversation many topics were broached – social justice, Pope Francis, being secure in insecurity and loving on the overlooked. At one point the conversation turned to what prompted Sr. Simone on her path. Her response – she heard the whisper, she felt her heart move, she didn’t resist the “nudge” to her calling. For the full conversation visit: http://www.onbeing.org/blog/live-video-sister-simone-campbell-of-nuns-on-the-bus-with-krista-tippett/7309#.VPdca-H8r2Y.
Then, two days ago I read an article authored by Anat Vaughan-Lee. She writes, “We do not always know what it is or how to articulate it, but deep inside there is a longing, a longing to live according to a true calling. A calling that comes not from the personality but from a deeper part of ourselves …” She goes on to state that by heeding that calling we become connected to life on a much deeper level and our being, our soul, is at peace because we are true to our calling. You can read the short article here: http://www.awakin.org/read/view.php?tid=1067.
Where am I going with this? Simply this: when I pay attention to the whisper, the nudge, the pulling on my heart, the calling, I feel connected to life around me on a deeper level. When I feel more connected I am more attuned to noticing and appreciating the Beauty and the Divine in ordinary things. When I can see the Divine in others I am better able to see the Divine in me. When I can feel the Divine in me I can glimpse the Grace and Love that is the Divine. When I follow that nudge my purpose is in harmony with the will of the Divine. I feel connected.
And so I write …