Laying Down the Law in Week 16
Update on the lifestyle change: I just barely snuggled into a favorite pair of Guess jeans today….not my ‘skinny’ ones, but nevertheless, progress is happening. I am still not comfortable wearing a tighter shirt with the jeans, so I keep plugging away at the treadmill, yoga, and yesterdays treat, zumba! The instructor might have thought I was slightly deranged, as I grinned throughout the session with my whole face, as I tried to keep up with her uber Latino moves and energy. When I got lost, I made up my own tangos and twists, which I am sure burned more calories than if I had stopped to try and catch up to the flow of the patterned routines. Yariba!
That is my introduction to Week 16, and may not have much to do with this weeks topic, but then again…..it just might.
Laying down ‘The Law’ is how I am setting my intention for this week of Being Kind to THEM. After Kindness came back from a slump last week, I want to continue swinging for the fences in this final week of focussing on Kindness, starting with a definition I learned this week from some church preaching. I have not said too much about church so far, or how that part of my life goes, but I do promise to explore its impact on my healing at another time.
The message I heard on Sunday was simple. Why settle to do only what laws require, when you can take on the spirit the law? It sounds like layers or levels are possible to achieve, in how we approach rules, similar to discovering in Weeks 13 and 14, that Kindness has layers.
I had a chance to discuss with some friends what we thought the spirit of the law meant, and we came up with some altruistic, utopic definitions of how our motivations for abiding by a rule could determine if we took on the spirit, or just did what we were told.
This made we wonder where in my life I just do what I am told. What do I feel guilty about not doing? What things do not bring me pleasure or reward, and the only reason I do them is to keep up appearances, relieve pressures to conform, avoid getting a penalty, or to make a little money? In essence, where in my life do I hold the standard, but do not buy it?!
Are there any of those things going on for you right now?
I have about 19 burdensome obligations inside the catalog in my head right now, and it feels heavy. Doing what I am told, or what I feel like I have no choice but to do, feels light a tightening space that closes in on my thinking and cramps my enthusiasm for living. What if I were to leave any, have to, ought to, supposed to, language behind and began each action or decision with, get to, want to, happy to, instead?
Helping me focus this week is my icon, a bracelet mum bought for me when I was pretty young, maybe 9 or 10 years old. It is a wide silver chain, surrounded by 12 charms. 1 charm is a cute little bible, which looks hand carved from mother of pearl or ivory. 10 of the charms have the laws of Moses written on them, otherwise known as the 10 Commandments. The last charm is shaped like a heart and has such small writing on it, I am left to guess it is all 10 Commandments combined on one charm, the shape representing how the law was created to live in our hearts.
Yes, I think this bracelet does pose quite significantly in a discovery of whether I am simply doing what I am told, or giving it everything I have, with all my guts, all my heart, all my soul, and all my strength. There is a word in Hebrew that describes this kind of effort, this kind of heart motion. It is ‘hesed’.
Hesed means, the loving-kindness of God. It is not just kindness, which I have suggested in an earlier week can be mistaken for being nice. This word means, a powerful, loyal love or mercy and is always used as an action to show what is in someone’s heart, and not something that is felt. It is not a passing mood or a phase of emotion.
It stays. It endures. It overcomes. I like this word!
I already feel twice as powerful, twice as smart, twice as fast; my fingers are flying across the keyboard.
Wearing my shiny, jingling bracelet with all its ancient advice inscribed on its surfaces, it feels as though hesed is enveloping me in a bear hug of blessing…..so I think I am ready to meet Kindness for the last week, to explore powerful loving-kindness actions and to find an internal spark of renewed hope for the community and world I live in.
I cannot think of a better way to beat those January blues, by laying down all of my ‘shoulds’ and ‘shouldn’ts’ and searching for real meaning in all my actions. If I get lost in any patterns of behaviour or decorum, I will remember my zumba lesson and just keep moving along until I get back into sync. After all, it is my ‘lifedance’, and I am the one who gets to adjust the choreography of whatever stage I am plunked onto. So, if you feel the same way….lets get started!
Kindness with THEM….on your mark…get set….DANCE!