Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Proverbs 31: Guest Post by the Lovely & Fascinating Periphery

Where Is My Mind? 
King Solomon and The Pixies

For starters, a giant thank you to Marie for her thoughtful contemplation of Proverbs 31 this month. She has given me new perspectives on some dear old verses. Not to mention, llamas. And thank you, thank you, thank you for letting me guest post here today, Marie. I am truly honored that you would let my words fill your space for a day.

Do you listen to The Pixies? No matter. That's what Youtube is for.
I married a die-hard Pixies fan, so I've seen Frank Black close enough to almost reach out and rub his grumpy bald head twice and this song features heavily in the soundtrack of my life. Not a fan? That's OK. It's an acquired taste.

With your feet in the air and your head on the ground,
Try this trick and spin it, yeah.
Your head will collapse
If there's nothing in it.
Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?

We are busy people. There are never, ever enough hours in the day. (Except sometimes we have those days that have far too many hours and it's not bedtime soon enough, but those are just as bad.) Stress related illnesses and injuries are killing more and more people. It's serious, folks. We are busy people. 

Where is my mind?

Read about the woman in Proverbs 31:10-31. She's a busy woman. She stays up late and gets up early, she cooks exotic meals, she gets the shopping done, she and her family are well dressed, she makes her own clothes and then sells some too, she's a philanthropist, she does real estate deals, she's got her own vineyard! And after all of this, her family blesses her and tells other people how awesome she is. Is she for real? What's her secret?

We have different work now than our busy friend of thousands of years ago. Not many of us are seeking out flax and wool out of necessity (although, the knitters among us may have some stashed away for fun.) Our work varies from household to household. Some of us have children and spouses, some of us have animals, some of us have demanding day jobs, some of us have lots of land, some of us have health issues to manage. Some of us have all of the above. Are we stressed? 

Where is my mind?

She does good and not harm... she works with willing hands... she dresses herself with strength... she makes her arms strong... she perceives... she considers... she is not afraid... she opens her hand... she opens her mouth with wisdom... the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

These all work together to paint a picture of mindfulness: of conscious and considered choices, of intelligence and purpose, of planning and forethought. This is no harried housewife, running around to put out fires. This is no resentful martyr. This is a strong and mindful woman.

Where is my mind?

Perhaps this woman is a myth. No one gets it right all the time. The work of daily life can wear us down and discourage us - no matter what our particular work is. There are sometimes fires to put out, despite our best efforts. Sometimes we find ourselves spinning with our feet in the air and our heads on the ground. Sometimes our mouths open with exhaustion and the teaching of kindness isn't anywhere near our tongues. These are realities. It is also a reality that there is no escaping this work of being alive. But I believe in another facet of this reality, too. That we are all given the ability to choose how we live, to aspire, to want to do better, to succeed. 

Frank Black is no King Solomon but he has a point, though: Your head will collapse if there's nothing in it. Mindfulness. It's not easy. We may not get it right all of the time, but are we living with conscious choice or merely reacting to our circumstances? How often do our heads collapse from lack of content?

This mindful woman Solomon's mama is telling him about? Give her the fruit of her hands, let her works praise her in the gates. She reaps the rewards of her mindful life and her life speaks for itself. It not only speaks for itself, it sings for itself. I want a life that sings.

Where is my mind?

Okay friends, did I deliver or what?? 
Thank you so much, Suzanne.
Thank you from my guts and ribs and fingertips.
That was beautiful.
Iespecially love the assertion that the Proverbs 31 woman is 
"no resentful martyr," but rather a "strong and mindful woman."
And yes, Frank Black, we collapse if empty.
Please keep track of Suzanne's constant stream of brilliance over at Peripheral Images

"Out of the corner of your eye is where the magic happens."


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