Lessons from a Hurricane (2)
Closing Soul Windows
I remember from my childhood how each fall, my father would carefully take down the screens and put up the storm windows. Each window was numbered and fit only one window of our home. It was a pre-winter ritual to protect us from the storms ahead. All winter long, as the cold winds blew outside, we were protected. The summer screens were carefully stored in their numbered order waiting for gentle winds to return.Last week we considered the expression ‘soul windows’. In my early life I learned to protect myself, to move very carefully through life. To some degree I think that’s normal for us all, however for me it went to an extreme. It was as if my soul lived in perpetual winter with the storms on and shutters closed. Summer screens seldom were used.
I have spent many of my adult years discovering and nurturing my soul life. A portion of that time has been spent opening my soul windows so I could receive what others, both Divine and human had to give me. I have come to value deeply those moments of receiving.
The Hurricane that blew through my world reminded me that I also have to learn to put the storm windows on my soul. Sometimes they need to be partially shut, other times fully shut. This closing is very different from the closing that I developed as a child. It is intentional and temporary. I chose when and for how long. Sometimes I might even chose to remain open as a winter wind blows – but I’m aware of what I’m doing.
Some thoughts on closing soul windows:
- Sometimes it requires a physical withdrawal from a conversation, a place or an action. The removal may be very short, could be longer, or it could lead to a discernment that something needs to be finished, to be drawn to completion.
- Sometimes a space-creating word needs be spoken, ‘Okay. Let me think about that.’ I realize I don’t need to respond to everything right away. In fact there is a lot that doesn’t require my automatic, rather reactive responses.
- Sometimes it requires an observation of the interior disruption. How wonderful when I can catch one of those moments and observe how I’ve been thrown off my centre. Just catch and observe.
- Sometimes it involves an intentional decision to move to a place of Deep Listening. Most often, for me, this takes place afterward as I listen deeply to my soul and what it is saying to me. This often involves sharing with another and allowing them to listen to my soul often with ears that I don’t have.
The day the Hurricane struck I didn’t have any of those responses. I simply found myself a bit like Dorothy sucked up into the wind and blown into a new land, a land I didn’t like very much. In retrospect I see more clearly that my soul has windows and I have choices. As much as I seek to be open to what is around me, there are times when I need to close the windows partly or completely. Often called ‘setting boundaries’ – it is both helpful and healing.
Are your soul windows open appropriately or inappropriately? What ways have you found to take care of yourself in a healthy and healing way?
There are seasons to be open and seasons to be closed.
As we move into a new week – God alone knows what weather systems we will encounter! May we open and close our soul windows with wisdom and care.
Peace in the midst of all…
Community Leader (Canada) Contemplative Fire