“Happiness is not a matter of intensity
but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.”
~ Thomas Merton
“Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.”
Creative cairn builders often arrange rocks with an eye for unusual, artistic, and beautiful results. These unique cairns can offer us new perspectives for life, as we notice the beauty that comes from their simplicity, balance, and placement. How might these qualities make our lives more beautiful, too?
As I write this, I am thinking of my seashell collection. Each shell was selected for its color, unique shape, or pristine condition. Each shell was chosen during a treasured vacation time. Each shell helps me recall a lovely memory and serves as a token of the majestic sea. But placed together, they lose their individual significance and become a nondescript bowl of shells.
The shells relate to our theme of simplicity, balance, and placement this week. Our cairn invites us to consider a variety of ways to make our own unique and beautiful creations – our cairns and our lives.
~ Is it time to fashion our cairns and our lives with more simplicity? Do we need to remove a stone or two, or to discard a habit, a belief, a grudge, or a burden that has cluttered and diminished their beauty? More rocks do not make a cairn beautiful. We may need to remove a few stones, keeping only the ones that are most important for the life we are building.
~ Do we need to rebalance our cairns and our lives? Is it time to rearrange stones so that they do not topple or fall? What stone will we choose for our base, our foundation? What are our life’s essential stones, and how will they be prioritized – one building on the other – to sustain balance and create a unique perspective? Ordering and prioritizing what is essential will help to keep us focused – and less likely to be overwhelmed.
~ Is this a time to enhance the beauty of our cairns and lives by trying some new and creative placements of these essential rocks? Perhaps this is an opportunity to step back and observe the entire structure of our lives with an open and creative mindset. What are the ways in which we hope to make our lives more beautiful? Are there enough open spaces between the rocks? Spaces within the cairns help to highlight each individual stone; spaces within our lives allow room for the Spirit to move.
The best way to fashion a more beautiful life is to place our essentials into the hands of the ultimate Creator.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:1-2 (NRSV)
(As you place your stone, consider these words) “As I place this stone as an invitation to simplicity, balance, and creativity, I am especially mindful of this area in my life…”
I place this stone and ask for your loving artistry to guide my life. Help me to discern what is essential and to discard all that is not. Give me wisdom to choose what enhances but does not overwhelm; what fosters the beauty that draws others solely to you; and what extravagantly blesses through its simplicity. Guide me as I order the essentials of my life, always keeping you and your love as my foundation. Amen.
Next week’s cairn theme will be A Gift of Legacy.