‘What helps?’ This is the basic question that St Ignatius kept asking himself. He wanted to notice and so give himself to things that drew him towards consolation, towards God. It was a continuous education. What are the things that I have noticed time and again that have left a good imprint? What has opened my heart, brought ease perhaps? What has created space or made me more gracious towards others? Ignatius would have an open mind, not prejudging what those ‘things’ would, should or could be. God was so generous and so self giving that Ignatius eventually coined the phrase ‘God in everything’ so pervasive, everyday, ordinary and evident was He to Ignatius’s sight. He was listening for and heeding the One voice among many voices, and that One voice is compassionate.
During lockdown 4 questions that Kirsty passed on to me continue to frame my enquiries into self care and identifying longing:
What do you miss?
What do you not miss?
What are you really enjoying?
What are going to do with that?
The big guns I turn to in times of difficulty tend to be poetry and nature. I note that these are things which Carl Honore says ‘defy acceleration’. So much of self care for me appears to relate to slowing down. Though not a cat lover (yet owning two cats!) the poem by DHLawrence Pax and a walk with or without an aim both come to the fore.
Finally, what do I look forward to? A bath: the sanctuary, the going nowhere place. I am thinking it is worth noting what it is that we look forward to and then asking Why? What’s it’s essence, at its core, for you?