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Finding Spirit In The Doing
by Tammie Byram Fowles

"I pray every single second of my life; not on my knees, but with my work." Susan B. Anthony

I've experienced the movement of my spirit most often while involved in the "doing" vs. the "being." I'm a firm believer in the powerful benefits of meditation and know a number of individuals who would say just the opposite is true for them. Some report that their spirits seem to flow more freely out of silence, calm, and from a deeply inward focus. Strangely, while I'm an introvert, my spirit appears to respond most clearly to extroverted activities. To dancing, to touching, to really listening, to human contact. Also, engaging in those random acts of kindness that Gloria Steinhem wrote about, truly seem to call my spirit forth. While silence and reflection are necessary for me to make contact with my higher self; it's the doing for and with others that seems most to strengthen and nurture this precious force that exists within me.

Doing can be an extraordinarily powerful thing -- if what ever you choose to do, you do so consciously, being fully present and engaged in the activity. I stroke my puppy absent mindedly and while it's a soothing pass time for him and for me, it remains relatively meaningless. Then I begin to caress him consciously. I become aware of his heartbeat, his fragile little bones, his softness, his innocence, and his trust in me. I begin to reflect upon the beauty and promise of each new life. Next, I am marveling at the magnificence of all creation. I begin to feel warm inside and feel grateful and privileged to be a part of the mystery and magic of all living things. All of the sudden, from my doing and my awareness of what I do, I am transported from the mechanical and absent minded stroking of a pet, to acknowledging the very wonder of life.

Every now and then I hear from fellow midlifers that they feel as though they've done just about everything they ever wanted to do. There often appears to be a message in the statement that there isn�t much to get excited about anymore. I remember one woman in her forties who sadly informed me that she'd had a good life, but that now she was tired. "I can�t get enthused. I watch the news and I see all of this sadness and pain, and I feel helpless and just want to close my eyes sometimes and go to sleep." I shared with her a story that I read somewhere long ago. It was about a very good man who spent his life seeking God. He preyed constantly while outside his window - the crippled, the hungry, and the down trodden went by. The seeker became increasingly bitter as he watched the suffering day after day, until finally in anger he raised his fist up to God and cried, "My God! How is it that a loving creator can witness this suffering and do nothing to stop it?" God�s gentle reply was, "But I have done something about it. I have sent them you."

Tammie Byram Fowles, (an excerpt from BirthQuake: The Journey to Wholeness) at Sage Place.