Many years ago I asked a friend how she managed to achieve so much - to care for her three boys and to be a successful professional and a sought-after lecturer. "Life is a symphony," she told me.
At that point we were just getting to know each other, and she had no idea that I was finishing my master's degree in music. Her remark struck a chord, and this chord has become a pedal point, or ostinato, for me.
In the years since then, I have managed a diversity of activities by striving to understand better that I don't have to manage anything alone, but that living is praise - "praise in a dance." A praise to God, to goodness. "Let them praise his name in the dance," says a Psalm (149:3).
Life is like music. It has rhythm, speed, touch, loud and quiet times, and very active moments alternating with pauses. It's important to have the right proportion of all the elements needed for a good performance; important to lean back at times and evaluate the elements; important to always remember that life, like music, needs practice. I've found that a fundamental part of living is to be in touch with life's secret - that Life is purely spiritual.
There is a way to dance with Spirit, to feel the goodness of being at home in creation, and this way is listening and prayer. You might also call it meditation. In any case, it's an awareness of spiritual being in us and around us - a hint that there's more to life than we can perceive with our eyes and ears. Ideas have power, and their source is not in us; it's divine.
When life feels overwhelmingly filled with obligations, responsibilities, demands, it can be helpful to dance! Dancing helps us remember that much is accomplished with one rhythm. Many notes, one piece.
Two years ago I was asked to take on a very demanding job in my church. It felt right to accept this job, yet the very same night I sat straight up in my bed. What if this was too much? What if my current activities as professor, mother, wife, spiritual healer, were already enough? "But God is good," the reassuring thought came. "There are no traps in unselfishness. Goodness is expressed continuously. Go with the flow of good."
What makes demands difficult is not primarily the demands themselves but our preconceived notions about them or experiences others might have had with them. Yet this is the truth: as diverse as we are as individuals, so will our experiences be diverse - our ways of walking and working with God by our side.
Then I remembered moments while writing and researching for my PhD thesis. There were times when caring for our little son didn't leave me much time to research anything, times when I trusted divine intelligence completely - and clear guidance came. I found books and articles just when I needed them. One time, a colleague brought me a book that was still in manuscript - a book that I could read and give due credit even before it was published a few months later.
This experience of effortless creativity was repeated and expanded in the case of my new job at church. I felt I had a contract with my Creator. I offered my dedication, sincerity, and willingness to listen in turn for creative ideas without detours.
Ideas came, and this additional job, rather than being just another demand, has broadened my understanding of the rhythm of goodness. Thoughts and ideas continue to flow, sometimes in unexpected ways at unexpected times, at a speed I have to adapt to. Inner growth and development keep me on my toes. I try to keep pace with an overflow of good.
There is indeed a wonderful power leading, guiding, guarding us that has a rhythm of its own.
Let us feel the divine energy
of Spirit, bringing us into
newness of life and recognizing
no mortal nor material power
as able to destroy.
Mary Baker Eddy
(founder of the Monitor)