Every creative idea in my work as a farmer, mother, and community member has come from fear that took me into social isolation so that I could grieve, pray, and contemplate what action was most useful for myself and others.
The silence and solitude was always painful, but necessary. It’s when I finally surrender to the fear, admitting that I'm not in control, and remembering that there's power in small acts of hope that a simple idea would finally come to mind. My heart rate slows, I can fall asleep more easily, my mind stops racing, and I'm more certain that my decision will not become unknowingly destructive.
Contemplation in action might be seen outwards like a way to creatively feed kids fresh food or an inward expression of seeing my children with respect and dignity.
I never know how long I'll be called to this time of stillness, maybe a day or a month and one time it was an entire year, but I've learned to trust the process.
Acting too quickly with anxiety driven fear or remaining in my own isolation for too long doesn't allow me to lean into the inner voice that provides the answers that move us forward.
It's easy to allow fear to paralyze you when it's really meant to organize your inner and outer world in such a way that you feel at peace and your love meets others right where they are with exactly what they need.
I'm spending time in prayer each day hoping that these times of heightened fear and social distancing will bring about creative ways of meeting our basic needs with less resistance to what's best for us.
It won't be easy work, but nothing that holds deep meaning is.
#centeringprayer #contemplationinaction #benedictineoblate
This is a portrait of Michelle Howell, a hardworking farmwife, mother of five, author, and advocate. On the left side of the bust you can read text from the poem “Anyway” that was on a wall of Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta, India. “If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.” “The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.”
Leslie Nichols, Artist