“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Picking Up Various Threads in the Dance of Life

The title of this post comes from an e-mail by a friend who attended Summer School with me, and is now readjusting to life in the real world. It is a beautiful phrase, which for me conjures up the image of a maypole with bright ribbons of all colours and dancers weaving around it.

Maypole ribbons from deafpagancrossroads.com
I have danced around a maypole once (in my early youth) when we had one as part of the Summer Fete at my primary school. And I learned that the whole process is wonderfully ordered - you go under one ribbon and over the next, weaving a pattern with your neighbours. I still recall the feeling of relief when we completed our dance without tangling ourselves up!

But the phrase now has a different resonance. "picking up various threads in the dance of life." It shows the complexity of modern life - most of us don't just plod along on one road in one direction - we are involved in a complicated dance, weaving the different parts of our lives together, and hoping that something doesn't break or get tangled in something else. In the last month I have been at home (for five days) in France looking at Gothic cathedrals with my husband (for ten days) at home for four days frantically catching up with domestic tasks, at Summer School at Great Hucklow (for eight days) and now at home for a week before travelling back up to Hucklow for the Ministers' conference. It has taken a lot of hard work to keep the various threads moving in their right directions, but I'm nearly there.

The thing that makes the difference, for me, is the maypole in the middle - the still centre around which the dance of life takes place. One important element of this is my Unitarian faith, which colours my approach to life, giving me a spiritual centre - it helps me in the tasks of living in the moment, of counting my blessings, and trying to live with integrity. When I manage to find time for my daily spiritual practice (which hasn't always been daily recently), I feel so much more centred and at ease, so held in love.

But I would not be without the complexities of the dance of life - all the brightly swirling ribbons contribute to a rich web of interconnection, which lead to a sense of belonging, of being in community. I find that I need both to feel whole - the still centre of the maypole and the dizzying dance of the ribbons. The paradox of needing to be at rest, but restless to be in motion, is part of being human. We have to find the balance between them, where we can be a piece (and at peace) in life's rich pattern.

1 comment:

  1. I love the image of the maypole as the still centre in the midst of the dance. Very poetic!