Donna Eden, an energy medicine practitioner, says that when you’re depressed, energy isn’t flowing. Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest, says that we are created to be conduits of the flow of divine love. And journalist and author Courtney Martin says that just to show up as a whole person is rebellion in our society.
A whole person, I think, is paradoxically one who is willing to admit she spends plenty of time being a lousy conduit. This is harder than it seems.
A couple of days this week all I could do after work was crawl into bed, not because I was tired but because I couldn’t seem to face anything. The next morning, I thought about what a whole person might be and said to myself, I’m just going to be honest if someone asks me how I am. I’ll say, “It’s been a rough week” or “Not that great.”
Spoiler alert: I completely failed. Not only did I continue to say, “Good” or “Fine,” but also instead of loving or honoring this lack of flow, I complained, that is, I tried to put the whole experience outside myself.
Sometimes we need to talk to trusted friends about something that’s bothering us. The release that comes with sharing is important and is built into us as humans. But this was something else.
My mom and I recently saw a fantastic production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame at La Mirada Theater. In it, the bad guy is bad because he has the wrong idea about wholeness. He thinks it means to be perfectly pure, and so he convinces himself that he is, which has rather disastrous consequences for everyone, himself included.
In trying to follow a purity code, we attempt to create wholeness when God’s already got that bit under control. Our role is to join in, not to control it or make it over in our image because, among other reasons, our image tends to be a smidgeon self-centered and so rarely includes our failings.
Parker Palmer talks about a “hidden wholeness beneath the very evident brokenness of our world.” This wholeness, Rohr would say, can use our mistakes, our stuck times. They’re not separate; they’re part of the whole—that’s redemption.
And it’s there, even on the days all we can do is crawl into bed.
Note: This post needs some citations:
Energy Medicine for Women by Donna Eden
Daily meditations by Richard Rohr based on his new book, The Divine Dance
An On Being podcast with Parker Palmer and Courtney Martin recorded at a PopTech conference
And if you’re anywhere remotely near L.A., I highly recommend seeing The Hunchback of Notre Dame.