August 21, 1998

Bowled Over

I am full. My cup runneth over. I just cannot fit any more in. I am newly returned from a wondrous week at Shalom Mountain Retreat Center and the experience has filled me with so many ideas, thoughts and feelings. I can barely remember how I got home.

I feel like I am in a birdbath which is being filled with water and someone left the hose on and forgot about it. The water gurgles, rushes and splashes with great motion, but it is out of control. It just keep splashing and the water stings my eyes. My nose fills like a kid rolling backward in a lake. I breathe too early and my mouth fills with water before I break the surface for a breath.

There are so many things that I want to do and tell. I need a week to create a to-do list. No, I do not have the time or focus. My mind will not stay on one subject long enough. It bursts forth making connections and disconnections. My wiring is on overload.

I am reminded of the story of the three bowls that Sue Bender tells in her book, Everyday Sacred. “The first bowl is inverted, upside down, so that nothing can go into it. Anything poured into this bowl spills off. The second bowl is right side up, but stained and cracked and filled with debris. Anything put into this bowl gets polluted by the residue or leaks out through the cracks. The third bowl is clean. Without cracks or holes, this bowl represents a state of mind ready to receive and hold whatever is poured into it.”

I spend much time preparing to be the third bowl. In that state I am living expectantly in the present waiting for life to show itself to me. And it always does. When I am able to be empty and receive, life in its goodness and glory reappears so that I may witness. It was always there, but when I am busy being the first or the second bowl, I cannot see.

I went to Shalom ready to receive and today I am the third bowl filled beyond the rim with the whoosh of life. I cannot control the flow. I opened to life and it came in. Today I can only glory in the excess and say thank you.

This state will be temporary. At some point in the near future I will be the first bowl or the second bowl again. My euphoria will abate. But for now I will be enveloped by the luscious of life. I will sing and dance, and hug and hold, and cry out from my depth. After all, as the great philosopher Mary Englebreit said, “Life is just a chair of bowlies.”

Let me savor this time. Cut me some slack. I may cross over the line into obnoxious from time to time. The whirl of my energy can spill out and knock people down like an uninvited mosher at a line dance. But the good news is that it can be contagious.

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