January 14, 2004

The Periodic View

There is something about periodic payments that works. I find that if I pay my mortgage every month, my relationship with my mortgage lender goes very well. If I pay my real estate taxes quarterly, it is easier to get a beach sticker in my town. And if I pay my homeowner’s insurance every year, I do not get nasty, threatening letters in the mail.

I have noticed the benefit of the periodic in other areas of my life too. I attended “The Path of the Mystic” at Shalom Mountain last summer and it was the fourth time in six years that I had been on this particular retreat. I found that I could measure myself against the person who had been there five years or two years before. How had I grown? How had I changed? And others had been with me on the retreat over the years and they could help me with an objective view of my changes.
The daily review does not seem to work for me. I get too caught up with the busyness and the minutiae of the day. It is one of those trees and forest things. I cannot see the trees or the forest.

At last month’s Shalom Seacoast Gathering I was yanked into awareness again by a periodic event. I had attended many Gatherings over the last four years, and yet there I was feeling like a completely different person. I remembered the open hearted lover reveling in the dance and intimacy of many of the Gatherings. But he was not present last month. He was completely gone off to some unknown place. Instead I was there as my disconnected and frightened self.

As hard as it was to see this about myself, it gave me some awareness to work with. It made me long to be in a different place in my life. Sometimes a bit of awareness, a snatch of longing or a thimble full of desperation can make all the difference.