Thanks to Simon Marsh for posting Sparkling Waters. As he says, “a little pure joy for the eyes and ears.” My own reflection, my play on the water, is filtered through questions of those who feel in the doldrums and those who can’t be still.
Only becalmed to the senseless, the dead.
Alan Smith & Peter Shaw provide some helpful advice about the importance of reflection in The Reflective Leader. They remind us that the “greatest sea changes that have come about in human history have been rooted in reflection”.
They list six principles:
- Record first impressions, thoughts and reflections systematically, particularly when we are new to a situation.
- Reflect when things are going well. I suppose that we are not defensive at that point.
- Prepare for times of reflection. We need as much data and information as possible (there’s never too much information!) including comments and feedback from others.
- Ask questions. Curiosity is essential for reflection.
- Seek out those who are gifted at reflection, then nurture this gift in them, then tell others about them to encourage a culture of reflection.
|Reflecting on the Bridgewater Canal near Warrington
- Reflect regularly. It’s hard work but gets easier with practice.
- Go easy.
- Shower longer.
- Use feedback.
- Use ripples.
- Welcome surprise.
- Be prepared to change – all the time.
This picture is from Estaticist’s photostream and is from Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island called Pause for Reflection.
Sam Wells refers to the way sherpas in the Himalayas will suddenly stop their climbing, put down their equipment and rest – as if waiting for shomething or somebody. This causes great consternation to westerners. “Why do you do that?” The sherpas’ reply is “We have travelled a long way; we are waiting for our souls to catch up with our bodies.”
This seems to represent an essential spiritual discipline – and we westerners need to learn that though we have moved on so fast, and been through so much change, we haven’t always given our souls time to catch up. It is the same principle as the sabbath – a regular time, once a week for us to catch up with ourselves. And for the same reason, we need family holidays and celebrations to allow ourselves to catch up with one another and to realise that we have missed each other in all the busyness.
Sometimes though, our soul is never going to catch up with us. We can wait until the snow melts, but our soul is never going to find us. Being lost like that signals the need for us to retreat – with retreat being another essential spiritual discipline, Retreating far enough helps us regain soul and and the location of what we value most. The story of the Prodigal Son is the classic tale of the retreat of a man who finds all that he ever wanted and all that he ever needed.
“How are we going to cope with this?” or “What on earth can we do about that?” is so often the starting point for a relevant and exciting piece of theological work, even though it begins on a negative and worrying note….. It is a fact that good theology is more likely to derive from a problem rather than a statement, more likely to arise in a prison than a palace.