Thank you again, Renee, for generously offering this second reflection on your own contemplative response to the world…
I’ve been drawn to share simple experiences from this summer to describe what those words – contemplative response – are coming to mean for me.
My family has owned a house on the beach for about 90 years – so much history. I have recently become closely connected with it and invested much time and effort into its well-being. I have also formed special relationships with a number of neighbours there. The house must be reached by ferry and I always feel a sense of release once I am on the ferry.
This summer Darryl and I did renovations to prepare for renting. Since, in every moment I am responding to the world, I reflected on how contemplative my actions were. I see my own contemplative response to the world developing as I reform my worldview to center on openness, curiosity, and self-awareness/acceptance. These things lead me to patiently observe, listen, hear, and understand the world around me.
I responded to the view with a thankful heart. On numerous occasions I paddle-boarded on still waters to absorb the early morning. I’d lie down for prayer with the blue sky above and the gentle ripple of the water beneath. The trees on the shore sang praises for a new day.
Joyful and loving responses were showered on those who generously helped with renovations.
When we discovered a hive of ground bees over the septic lid, it was recommended that we use poison. My research-savvy husband discovered they were pollinators, so our response was to relocate them while preserving their lives and place in the local ecosystem.
Difficulty came when visitors infringed on my peaceful feeling by over-clamming the beach (ignoring license quotas), by showing up on our private beach to light fireworks near dry trees, and by cars ignoring “no parking” signs. Several times I responded with patient requests for respect, but I also gossiped about their rudeness. Other times my frustration resulted in yelling from the deck.
The hope that I take away from those impulsive responses is that after, I looked inward to deduce the source of my anger. This opened my eyes to compassion for others and now allows me to pursue the necessary conversation and healing that is required to respond with more curiosity and patience next time. My contemplative response to the world continues to be a journey!