Learn the shape of the river

February 17, 2021 | By Jeff Edenberg, BHFH Residency and Operations Director

China Lake, at Friends Camp in Maine

Dear Friends,

I want to share with you some text/verse that came to me recently. 

some were gifted light,
you said,
I was gifted sacred water.

remember, she said,
you are a vessel.

let go, and learn the
shape of the river.

This is unfinished (is it a poem? lyrics? nonsense?), and I’m resisting the urge to wait until it’s “perfect” and “complete” to let it out into the world. 

This culture of perfectionism I learned doesn’t just stop at art. I also inherited the notion that one should be clear on any action before moving forward. Perhaps this is true at certain times, for certain decisions. In my life, however, I’ve found that the opposite is often more true. There’s usually a good reason I’m called to do something; by questioning the urge too much, I might actually keep myself from the experience of learning, growth, joy, or that I’m being called to. By taking the first spontaneous step, I let the voice inside me know that I’m listening. I find that then the voice is more likely to take the time to explain itself fully. Like all relationships, the relationship with the spirit inside us takes trust, and building trust takes time and practice.

It was in this spirit of spontaneity that I decided to join the ongoing program, Responding to the Call. I had some urge to join, so I did, trusting that I’d figure out why later.

In the course, I get this interesting perspective. I see the great work that Jen does as my colleague behind the scenes, and I get to experience its fruits as a participant. I get to learn from the organizers and all they bring from the individuals and communities that have contributed to their work. I get to interact more deeply with Friends across NEYM than I have before. I get to experience connection, growth, and learning outside the walls of this house that have felt at times during this pandemic so absolute.

Sometimes I’m not able to engage with the program as fully as I think I “should.” I’m feeling supported by the leaders and my small group to come as I am, and I’m noticing the seeds as they are being planted, and trusting that these and more will grow in their time, both as I tend them, and as they grow as weeds within me. 

I still don’t fully know why I decided to join this course, but for now, I’m trusting myself and trying to be present in and enjoy this space I’m in.