Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Takers and Givers – inspired by Eric Butterworth

I woke Empty
With a hole
In the middle of me
And my oatmeal did not
Even fill it up.

Was it there yesterday?
How could it have gotten so big so fast?

When I walked to my car the cold wind blew through it and gave me chills.

No coat to cover this hole.

At the office people said,
“Good morning!”
And their words floated right
Through the hole to the
Other side.

At lunchtime
I ate a sandwich
Hoping it would fill me up.
My boss popped his head inside the door and said,
“Are you doing okay?”


The hole was still there.

When I went home that night
I called a friend
And had nothing to say,
I ate ice cream
It numbed my tongue,
I watched a movie
And fell asleep.

In the middle of the night,
In the deep
Darkness of the Taking
I said, “Enough of this hole!”
I reached through my belly
and grabbed the world.
This will fill my hole.

I gobbled it up like fried chicken
Finger-lickin’ good!
It slid down my gullet
And landed inside of me.
Satiated, filled…

Then promptly,
It sucked me in
Inverted me like
A black hole
Turned me inside out.
I floated in nothingness
Attached to nothing by
The length of my gut
Omentum dangling like
Rickrack in a low rider,
Like an astronaut’s
Breathing gear.
But no breath
Just Emptiness.

Afloat in deep silence
No time to speak of
No me to speak.
No feeling
No form
Exposed, vulnerable
I touched everything
Owned it all
Was at its mercy.

Overwhelming threshold
Of perception,
Such pain I could not bear
And thus, did not.

The Universe
On the other hand,
Held me tender
Naked sinew.
In submission
I rested.

And then,

Found the lost
Fullness of Grace.

Consumed by the Taker.
Somehow in silence
Redeemed by the Giver.

Silence spoke,
“All is you. You are all.”

I woke Full
With a hole
In the middle of me

Was it there yesterday?
I don’t remember.

All I know is
When I reach into
That hole
The world pours out of me.

© Peggy Beatty Dec 2010

This is a little different than my usual blog. Its pretty different than my usual poetry too. I wrote this after reading these passages from Eric Butterworth. Its about consumption and kenosis and grace:
"The takers are the people who believe their lives will always be the total of what they can get from the world. They are always thinking get, get, get. They plan and scheme ways to get what they want in money, in love, in happiness, and in all kinds of good... but whatever may be their spiritual ideals or lack of any, no matter what they take, they can never know peace or security or fulfillment.

The givers, on the other hand, are convinced life is a giving process. Thus their subtle motivation in all their ways is to give themselves away, in love, in service, and in all the many helpful ways they can invest themselves. They are always secure, for they intuitively know that their good flows from within."
Eric Butterworth

We live in a culture that drives us to consumerism and external fulfillment from the moment we can watch TV. Which is not to say that we aren't made that way to begin with. The "mine" stage of a toddler is certainly about getting what I need from outside myself, and rightfully so. Its a good survival  mentality for a 2 year old. The thing is, when we mature, when we realize that we won't always get what we think we need from outside ourselves, then we learn that our needs are not so plentiful to begin with. We learn to back away from always looking out there with expectation and, hopefully, we realize, that all we need is right here, right now. We draw our expectations into the presence of Now, a time/space intersect. Kairos, the "moment of opportunity,"  that graced moment (moment used figuratively here) when, if we open ourselves fully to life, we realize the paradox of being empty and full at the very same time.

May you find yourself enjoying many moments of opportunity, as you open humbly to the Spirit of the Universe, the flow of life, the arms of eternal Christ...may your taking become your gracious giving as the world flows through you~

Namaste, Peggy _/\_

About Kenosis~

In Christian theology, kenosis is the concept of the 'self-emptying' of one's own will and becoming entirely receptive to God and the divine will. Kenosis, or self-emptying, is only possible through humility and, in a Monotheistic sense, presupposes that one seeks union with God. Or stated another way, one seeks to humbly remove all barriers to Love. Kenosis is essentially the same as non-attachment in Buddhism. Relative to human nature, kenosis denotes the continual redirection of spiritual energies (self will and externally directed neediness) toward Loving humility.  Kenosis is a paradox and a mystery since "emptying oneself" in fact fills the person with divine grace and results in union with God. Kenosis is the process of transcending one's attachments to psychological ego needs. 

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