Friday, October 28, 2011

Contemplative Action

Some time ago my good wife asked me to make a list of all of the extracurricular things I’ve gotten involved in in our community, one I admit turned out to be even longer than I thought.

Which caused me to think more seriously about creating a healthier balance in my life between work, community and church involvement and my personal, spiritual and family life. Have I become a workaholic, an all-too busy human doing instead of a healthy and balanced human being?

I’ve been benefiting from reading a book my daughter gave me on “The Active Life--A Spirituality of Work, Creativity and Caring,” by Quaker author Parker J. Palmer. He suggests that instead of separating the contemplative and the action parts of our lives, or simply alternating between the two--with contemplation being primarily about becoming revived and renewed to go back to more action--that we do more of integrating the two, practicing contemplative action and active contemplation.

Palmer goes on to stress the value of work as an important and life giving part of who we are and how we contribute to our communities, rather than just being our way of earning a living. He also stresses the need to place high value on creativity, whether that be in gardening, raising and nurturing a family, or writing a poem or essay.

Another important element we want to integrate into our everyday lives, he says, is caring--visiting a sick or elderly neighbor, expressing love and support to a spouse or family member, or promoting projects that improve the well-being of the community and the world.

Can all of these be done in a way that reflects a healthy balance?

I hope so.
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