Thursday, September 08, 2011

And in this corner...

So much about life is made up of moments when you choose, despite the circumstances, to put on a brave face and soldier on when you'd rather curl up into the fetal position and bawl until sleep rescues you from reality. I have no energy to make faces any more.

Henri Nouwen, in his private journals later published as The Inner Voice of Love, writes about the lion and lamb we all have:
Your lion is your adult, aggressive... initiative-taking and decision-making self. But there is also your fearful, vulnerable lamb, the part of you that needs affection, support, affirmation and nurturing.  
When you heed only your lion, you will find yourself overextended and exhausted. When you take notice only of your lamb, you will easily become victim of your need for other people's attention. The art of spiritual living is to fully claim both your lion and your lamb. Then you can act assertively without denying your own needs. And you can ask for affection and care without betraying your talent to offer leadership. 
The kingdom of peace that Jesus came to establish begins when your lion and your lamb can freely and fearlessly like down together.      (p. 78-79, Kindle edition)
What I've realized this month is that my lamb is kicking the crap out of my lion because my lion is overextended and exhausted. The lamb is bleating for basic needs.

Part of how I feed my lamb is through writing. It is, not surprisingly, one of my sacred pathways and part of my deepest calling. Nouwen echoes the importance of recognizing this.
Follow your deepest calling. When you discover in yourself something that is a gift from God you have to claim it and not let it be taken away from you.      (p. 44, Kindle edition)
I do not feed my lamb through organizing writing workshops or working full time to pay my son's tuition, although both these are positive, enjoyable, even necessary lion-esque ventures. However, I have yet to find "that solid inner base from which (I) can speak and act - without apologies - humbly but convincingly" within my deepest calling.

How do YOU find that lion-lamb balance?

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