|Praying with colours: Week 6-13th October - Where Am I? Where is God?|
Back to Sacred Spirals the other day, where, on our journey with the labyrinth and the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius, we were looking at the Principle and Foundation, in particular the examen, or examination of awareness: pausing to take the time to notice God in all things - as I once wrote - in the "bad hair" as well as the "red letter" days. It's that question beloved of spiritual directors everywhere, "Where is God in this?" in all its variations: "For what am I most grateful today?" "For what am I least grateful?" "What gives me life/drains me?" "When did I give most love/least love?"... all part and parcel of the process of discernment, "Listening to the music of the spirit," noticing what draws me closer to my centre and to God and what pulls me away. (Definitely a work in progress with me; going on past experience, I could do with the spirit presenting me with a pair of headphones!)
Any oldhow, I was thrilled when we were encouraged to use colour in our prayer *- to explore our own personal "prayer colours" to symbolise our emotions. What a wonderful idea! As my spiritual director is wont to remind me, when first we started meeting, I described myself as an "butterfly," imaginative, intuitive, forever running after the latest "ooh shiny!" ideas, thoughts all over the place; getting them gathered into any semblance of coherence is sometimes even now like wrestling to fold a pop-up tent! My discovery these last few years that I can use paints, colour, art journaling, creativity in all its wonderful variety to move closer to God has been a revelation. It also, I've discovered, a crafty way of bypassing the old writer's block and that rather mangy, motheaten "Internal Parrot."
The artwork above though is more of a "here's one I made earlier," (child of the 60s and 70s that I am!); pre-session. I've shared with several folk recently a sense of growing integration or put another way "St Francis meets St Ignatius in the labyrinth." In one of those funny "Godincidences" I'd already been trying to pray the examen this way at home. I'll not go into detail about the colours I used, other than to say that I'm now realising that by intentionally praying this way, I'm (well, to be strictly accurate - God and I) are turning round events which going on past experience have all the potential to knock me spinning right off course and away from my centre. Baby steps they might be but for me progress along the road that I honestly didn't think possible.
I might even venture a quiet and discreet "Hurrah!"
*Based on the ideas of Sheila Merryweather's Colourful Prayer.