The beginning of the year always comes chock full of wanting more of something. More weight loss. More gym time. More “living life to the fullest.” More shower heads (which, incidentally, made yesterday 400% more enjoyable. As a matter of fact, I did take two showers). Resolutions and changes exist to bring more of something desirable into our lives. I love this.
However, it has dawned on me – and perhaps many of you, I could just be late to the game here – that more is not always better. In fact, more cannot always exist. Taking stock of the American Life, I’m not sure we have room for more.
Perhaps, instead, we need to refocus our work not on gaining more, but on creating space for the right and the good. We cannot have our current inventory and add more of something. You cannot grow an apple on top of a field of sweet corn. If you want an apple, you must make space to grow an apple tree.
In yoga, much of the work of the mat is about creating space. Once, we were in a reverse triangle my teacher said the phrase, “as we create some space in the sidebody” and I nearly fell over. Astounding! This stretch, this leaning in, opened up an area of my body so that blood and oxygen and all the necessary, life-giving elements could flow to those parts and organs and often-ignored places of my body. In ancient thought, blood was the “life source” and as a carrier of oxygen we can understand why. When I stretch and bend, I’m creating space for my body to have new life infused into it.
I got hung up on the Beatitudes this morning, those crazy sayings of Jesus about when you have all the nothings, you have everything. Grief, poverty, weakness… these seem to be game-changers in experiencing the Kingdom of God. He says that those who have lost what is dear to them or is necessary for life, has more of God.
In our loss, in our poverty, in our desire for something else, we create space for God to “move into the neighborhood.” But for God to move into the house, someone else has to move out. Even if God were to decide to build a new house at the end of the block, we lose that empty green field our children used to play in. We must decide what we want closest to us.
As we each endeavor this first full week of the new year, the re-entry into life, let us find the places and things that can move out, to create space for that which we really thirst after. If we want something new to grow in our midst, pick a patch of land and grab a plow. What was formerly there must first become barren earth if we want to plant a seed and watch it grow.