Patterns intrigue me. I look for sequences of behavior and events to point to bigger stories going around me and my own life, all of which I filter through soul-enriching metaphors.
During training to become a chaplain, a weekly reflection was among our requirements. In the midst of a hectic, demanding practicum, to take time to look back at the week was powerful in discerning patterns and metaphors. The discipline was key to personal growth because a string of seemingly unrelated events external to me was a way to bring to light a limiting belief, an outdated personal rule, or some inner area in need of attention and healing.
Now the practice is less structured (and I’m the poorer for it), but it continues.
Currently I’m having a Southern California moment. I’ve been reaching for an old Los Angeles mug more than usual. So what? On it’s own, it’s not really significant. Yet, I’ve noticed my Facebook feed has a lot of posts from LA people, places and organizations. The Dodgers baseball team pops up on Instagram more frequently than the hometown Royals. Surfin’ U.S.A. and Ventura Highway drops into the mental music grooves. I play on a fantasy baseball team with people from where I went to seminary in Pasadena. (Yes! I’m surprised to be doing this, too! By the way, I’m solidly in fifth place among the 10 teams in our league.)
They take me back to when I lived in Pasadena 20 years ago and the near-return to the region almost 10 years ago. They are poignant reminders of my favorite place on earth, a little beach in a little beach town about an hour north of LAX. It is a healing place, a place to be at peace.
These data points, all seemingly insignificant, are trying to tell me something.
For one, I need a special place nearby to be a refuge. Ventura was just that for me when I lived in Southern California. I need more cultural offerings than what I find in a Midwestern suburb. I yearn for time spent among natural beauty that speaks to my soul. I long to visit, to see people who are dear and places that are special.
Some time soon!