Letting the beautiful stuff out…

from Heath Ceramics

I was rich and I didn’t know it. We are all rich and ignore the buried fact of accumulated wisdom. So again and again my stories and my plays teach me, remind me, that I must never doubt myself, my gut, my ganglion, or my Ouija subconscious again.

From now on I hope always to stay alert, to educate myself as best I can. But lacking this, in future I will relaxedly turn back to my secret mind to see what it has observed when I thought I was sitting this one out.  We never sit anything out.

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.  

This quote from the science fiction writer Ray Bradbury resonates with my sense of the Unitarian Universalist way of being in the world.  I find these words affirming on many levels.  The reminder to trust our instincts, that we have the internal wisdom to know what is best for ourselves.  The idea that even when we think we are careless or scattered, we are more aware then we realize.  We just need to give ourselves the time to reflect, “relaxedly” to understand our experiences.  The way of the chalice is based on attention, encouraging trust in ourselves, one another and the world.

Finally, I love the image of the cup being filled to be tipped out.  We gather in community in part to tip ourselves out into the chalice of the whole, to let go of ourselves in the greater whole.  We share our gifts and talents, our insight and wisdom, and the quirks that make us unique.  In tipping ourselves out, we share our whole selves.  We don’t always feel like what we are letting out is beautiful, in fact, we often feel it is broken and ugly and unwanted, all those sad and painful and sometimes petty feelings and experiences. But even the shadow side is part of the whole, and can become beautiful in its honest expression.  And in tipping it all that beautiful stuff out, we are emptying ourselves to be refilled again – and again – and again.

We’re afraid to be empty, no surprise in a culture obsessed with the acquisition of stuff, we prefer to attain and hoard, rather then tipping ourselves with abandon, trusting that the emptiness will always be temporary.  We need those moments of emptyness, though.  Moments when we can rest, knowing our gifts have been shared, knowing we’ve been honest, knowing we are living fully and wholly.  I find that in the gatherings of the people of the chalice, in the singing of songs, in the shared silence, in the lively animal presence of all, I can tip myself over and being cherished for doing so.

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2 thoughts on “Letting the beautiful stuff out…

  1. I’ll have to think more about this. Clearly you’re more optimistic about human nature than I am. I think people share too much, most of it unpleasant. Political opinions, religious prejudices, gossip. They don’t tip out the beautiful stuff. Does this mean they’re not full of beautiful stuff? I don’t know.
    For several years I was a book reviewer for the Post-Dispatch here in St. Louis. At a certain point, I realized the truth that there’s nothing more dangerous to one’s humility and perspective than being paid for an opinion, even if it is supposedly an educated opinion. People want to share their opinions more than anything–mostly on the mistaken assumption that they’re not opinions but insights into the truth.
    Still, I am inspired by your belief in the beautiful stuff in us all. I will try to be the empty cup, and share the good that fills it.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful response. I am essentially optimistic about humanity (no original sin here!), but in this post when I talked about tipping the beautiful stuff out when in community, I was thinking about being together on a sunday morning in worship, and letting go of the need to hold onto the petty and small stuff (not necessarily expressing it). For me the beautiful stuff is the creativity and humour that every person has inside of them in some way. I don’t think people are always good or kind or nice or pleasant (especially on the internet!), but I do believe we all have gifts to offer.

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