Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Advent Practice: Sobriety

I don’t want to be the girl who has to fill the silence;
The quiet scares me, ‘cause it screams the truth.
~ Pink, Sober

Simplicity and sobriety are hand-in-glove.

I, being a lover of fun and silliness, am using a less stale & serious definition of sober, choosing the following qualities: practicing moderation or self-restraint; refraining from excess or overindulgence; calm, quiet, composed; rational, realistic; free from exaggeration or speculation.

When you practice sobriety, it’s not that you never indulge, but rather that you exercise restraint – knowing your limits and the effects on others.

When you practice sobriety, it’s not that you are never boisterous, but you also do not fear silence and solitude, recognizing that quiet moments can feed the soul.

When you practice sobriety, it’s not that you never contemplate the what-ifs in life, but you don’t allow those prospects to anxiously control your present experience.

We all have our strengths, our preferences, but just as introverts need community, extroverts need solitude. It may take a bit more effort if it is not the environment that energizes you, but it is necessary to keep your spirit in balance.

Sobriety is recognizing when you are isolating and need to get around people, to practice community.

Sobriety is also recognizing when you are spending too much time in the company of others because you don’t want to have to sit with your thoughts – to listen to yourself, to listen to God.

Sobriety is recognizing when you are dragging your feet and it is time to act, to take a chance.

Sobriety is also recognizing when you are rushing around doing everything you can to keep from being still and abiding in the Spirit.

Sobriety is living in reality – reality of your situation, reality of your resources, reality of your life.

When we practice sobriety, we are freed to practice simplicity because we are not trying to bury reality under piles of material, emotional and spiritual stuff.

When we practice simplicity, we are freed to practice sobriety because we are throwing aside those things that keep us from seeing the path we’re on as it actually exists.

It’s a chicken-and-egg scenario, really.

So, as we inch closer toward the celebration of Christmas, as the winter solstice ushers us into the path that leans day by day toward light, in the waning twilight of Advent, may we take an honest look at our lives, a deep breath, and a heartfelt prayer, and may we step forward in the joy that each day is enough.

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