Snapshots from a Life

In his autobiographical books, retired Rabbi Lionel Blue who died at the end of December 2016, is very frank about his emotional state being fragile, about not being ‘wired up right’. At the end of one of the books, he writes of his liberating spiritual experience and the inner freedom it left him with. He ends the book with a question to himself: “I wished I knew what to do with it.”

When I first read this, I wrote him a post card: “Perhaps we are simply to be where we are with that inner freedom?”
Some 10 years on, I realise that I, too, may not be content with simply being there: Like Lionel Blue, I may have a drive to write about that which can ultimately not be put in words, find stories and images to tell about it.

There are several strands to my reflection on my life themes:
Foremost is the description of survival on high sensitivity and a load of paradoxes, out of an upbringing of emotional abuse and alienation, not least, as I now understand: transgenerational trauma.

Then there is the theme of a spiritual awakening, layered and non-religious, as it were, as it is called in 12-step groups, and finally for now, there is the paradox of living my initiation utilising to some extent the structure of philosophy of religion as providing relevant categories, yet being at home – far beyond religion.

The inner imperative to apply myself to an issue of social justice by way of paying forward will become clear.

In the midst of an ordinary involved life, although framed now by a solitary life style as far as possible, I do not claim any grand personal gifts or achievements, and I remain only too aware of most of my paradoxes, shortcomings and oddities. And that is putting it mildly.
My posts are snippets of a work-in-progress… – Friendly comments and questions are very welcome. I love dialogue. I am interested in followers who share personal reflections that invite dialogue. Those whose front page shows they merely provide a service may find themselves declined.

All pages and blog entries as far as not guest posts or re-blogged:
(c) Barbara S, Nottinghamshire, UK 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021

9 Responses to “Snapshots from a Life”

  1. Readers will notice that blog entries carry my own comments. I have borrowed that technique from the Zen tradtion: Koans, samples of deep paradoxes in life presented to students, gather these layers of comments by generations of masters. I have no teacher and I am no master.

  2. Encouraged, by my favorite blogger Sarah K Reece and one other friend, I am launching my own blog for public view and feedback (I hope): It has been growing hidden from view, for some 3 years now – born out of the sitting-in-silence at the foot of Cader Idris over 10 years ago.

  3. I’ve enjoyed reading this and your comments as this has provoked deep waters within me and about writing and sharing my own “snapshots from life.” Indeed, as well…. “I have no teacher and I am no master.” I will be returning when time permits to read more of your blog, Barbara.

    • How very good to hear from you Anna. I hope you come back and enjoy more, from the depths of the blog, as it were. Writing seems to link the the contemplative and the active sides – and publishing, mmh – puts the balance at risk? Sharing, however, puts it back into place, in a higher order.

  4. Rabbi Lionel Blue passed away last Sunday. He recorded his own obituary on BBC Radio 4 where he ad been well-known and loved for his curious ‘Thought for the Day’ contributions. RIP buddy.

  5. I am reviewing my blog and therefore most posts will be ‘private’ for a short while. Do come back.

  6. my experiments in writing started from 4 or 5 Haibun Moments in my life (essays with haiku incorporated), in 2002 published and praised by the then World Haiku Review, online. I fell into this technique as a way of sharing the joy and insights on my particular way of living paradox. Around the same time, I fell in love with Rose Auslander’s late poems – of haiku-like brevity, many of them. I can only hope that II will be able to develop my writing further.

  7. At present re-reading the late Cyprian Smith OSB’s book The Way of Paradox, the best explanation of a non-religious spiritual path – full of paradox for sure. Based on analysis of Meister Eckhart. The kind of read that leaves me with an inner smile.

  8. I fondly remember Lionels appearances on Radio 4s Thoughts for the Day. Always worth pausing our usual morning scurry to listen to him.

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