I have long been a fan of Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury cartoons.
In addition to his ironic humor, I’m starting to think he may be a contemporary prophet, or a Dreamer in the way that Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes of them.
One of my favorite characters has always been my colleague in ministry, The Rev. Will B. Dunn.
Here’s my recollection of one of Will’s more memorable moments…
Our friend is on his knees in his front yard, black suit and hat and all. He is asking God to send him a sign about whether he should run for President.
In the next frame, reminiscent of Moses, a bush in his yard bursts into flames, bringing a message along the lines of, “Don’t do it!”
What does Will do?
He grabs a fire extinguisher and puts out the sign!
This may be the proof text for the old adage: Be careful what you pray for. You might get it!
And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you’re wondering what dragged this particular story out of the dustier reaches of my brain just now.
Well, it’s like this.
My world feels full of signs.
Summer in Atlanta is no place for burning bushes so my signs are appearing in the form of dreams and sudden inspirations.
The sense of puzzle pieces falling into place.
And an unexpected event or two dragging lots of change along.
If we’re being honest, there’s a tiny part of me that’s tempted to reach for a fire extinguisher!
And there’s a lot more of me that’s feeling excited about the future as it’s beginning to come into focus.
I feel inspired. And intentional.
I’m beginning to have language for where I’m heading.
Here’s a hint…
There’s lots more stardust soup to come!
For now, I’m also aware of the old therapists’ notion that change is always stressful, even when it’s change that we have, at some level of awareness, hoped and longed for.
Which brings us to the issue of what my fabulous, talented friend, SARK would refer to as radical self-care.
Only you know what that might mean for you but, just in case you might be dealing with change or stress or even a whole box full of mental puzzle pieces, here are some examples of what it looks like for me.
- Sleep. (Or, at the very least, space for peaceful rest.) Complete with clean sheets, favorite jammies, and, perhaps, a bit of meditation music playing very quietly in the background. Lots of experts would recommend no “screens” for an hour before bedtime. It has something to do with blue light.
- Gentle movement. Qigong, yoga, walking, even dancing, whatever works for you. If it happens to be an alternate arm and leg kind of movement (like walking and swinging your arms) so much the better.
- Good food. Fresh. Minimally processed. Minimal caffeine, sugar, and artificial sweeteners. You get the drift!
- Someone to talk to. The very process of putting language to our experience helps us to organize it and discover new things about it. And, if you want to just be heard, witnessed, ask. Strategies may need to wait for later! Journaling works, too.
- Space for creativity. Color. Quilt. Knit. Paint. Write. Cook something new. Make soup. And listen…
Signposts to the future are all around us if we just let go of the fire extinguishers!