a few thoughts on life + death + being back on the grid

guess what i am doing, you guys?! blogging from bed! that’s right, we have finally gotten our internet and tv connections all fixed and hooked up, and we are back on the grid. feels wonderful. and a tiny bit weird too.

i woke up this morning fairly late for me – about 7:30. i stretched + came to my senses + remembered that, starting today, i have six days off. six days of total, wonderful, lazy freedom. i also remembered that we got our internet + tv fixed, which changes entirely  how i have been experiencing life for the past month or so.

stretching my arms + rubbing my eyes awake, i contemplated my joy over the many hours that lay in front of me to blog and write and plan. the hours that my love + i can snuggle on the couch and catch up on some netflix series (ok. binge on netflix). and the hours that i can choose to be off the grid as well. because, after the past month, something in me has changed. and i seriously hope and pray that the change remains with me.

uppsala cathedral

and then i remembered that today is good friday. the first day in this very holy weekend for christians. this weekend that remembers + celebrates life, death, and rebirth. and this time of year that even non-christians celebrate the same things in nature + the physical world.

what could all of this timing me for me? this off the grid, on the grid, jesus dying, life returning stuff that’s all happening at the same time. all of these energies and feelings and mysteries colliding + connecting in some mystical, cosmic way. you know i love making connections + reading the signs that the universe places all around me.

so, i stayed snuggled under my covers this morning + just let my mind drift for a while…

you know, jesus never said that we had to live off the grid. as separate people, praying and being holy and monastic all of the time. that is not the ideal thing to strive for. in fact, he, and many other religious/spiritual traditions, said the complete opposite: we must engage the world. be in it, but not of it. we must live transformed lives right in the middle of all of the mess that is this world. but, we do that, with the idea that we can make a difference. that our lives can bring about change. that we have a purpose and a calling and a reason for living. that our unique and amazing individualities can be used for the greater good.

so, no. we cannot live off the grid. we need to be connected. online. active. engaged.

the thing is, we must be intentional about it.

perhaps this is exactly what i have learned from my unintentional, non-self-imposed off the grid month. now that i have access to everything again, now that i feel like i am part of the world again, emerging from my march hibernation, now is the time that i seriously want to reign in my online activity. i want to choose how i stay connected + engaged. i want to be intentional about why i look at instagram or surf the net. i do not want to get online just because i am bored. but, i want to use my presence on social media, on the internet, on this blog as a means of communicating, a way of engaging, and not waste time on just being online because i have nothing else to do. i also really want to use my own brain more. i want to create my own stuff, instead of just finding inspiration out there and re-using it. i want to produce my own stuff. intensely produce it. and then share it.

i have many, many more things to think about all of this. so, i’ll just let things stay here for now. and return to these thoughts another day, after they simmer inside me a little bit more.

sunrise uppsala

back to jesus and being off the grid.

in my theological studies, i was able to research and explore and understand different passages and stories and myths and writings about who jesus was and what he did. one thread that i have discovered in all of the descriptions of him is that he very often pulled away to be by himself. his version of being off the grid. 

he would retreat to a place alone to just be. to recharge. retreat. reconnect. pray. meditate. and remember who he was. and it most often was a place alone in nature. a lakeshore. a mountain. a garden. the thing is, he always, always, always returned.

in fact, one time, as the story goes, he invited three disciples to follow him up to the top of a mountain. up there, as it is with us when we reach the summit of a mountain, they basked in the glory and beauty and amazingness of the moment + experience. but, immediately after that, they returned back down the mountain, instructed  by jesus, to get back to the people. to the world.

the disciples, of course, wanted to stay right there on the top of that mountain. it was perfect there. i am exactly the same. i want to climb mountains and stay there, soaking up the beauty and power and amazing feeling of such deep peace. i want to hibernate. retreat. nest. be alone. go deep. bask in silence + solitude. i could so easily stay away, spending most of my life in a very small, simple place. just me, my love, and nature. it’s so tempting.

but, the thing is, i always return. like jesus + the disciples, i always leave my safe space and re-engage. because that is what life is all about. oh, those times away, those moments or days or even months of being off the grid are so very important. in fact, in my opinion, they are necessary + required. but, they are not the end of the story. they are the beginning. they are the moments that remind us and ground us and teach us who we really are + why we are really here.

palm branch tree

on the night before good friday, jesus went away alone to a a garden. the garden of gethsemane, outside the walls of jerusalem. according to the story, in those last few moments alone, he struggled. knowing + feeling, like we all do, that something big was coming, he tried to refocus. he meditated and prayed for courage. he begged and pleaded and cried. but, as he struggled, he also remembered who we was and who we was called to be.

and, he got up from that safe, solitary place, ready to engage the world. inspired and encouraged and filled with the strength to move forward. to stay true to who he was. and pretty much immediately after that moment, he was arrested and killed the next day.

maybe we are not called to engage the world so dramatically, but metaphorically, we are called to give our lives over to something bigger than each of us. to a cause and the work of living the best life that we can live… using who we truly are to truly make a difference in our own unique and individual ways.

this is something that the story of jesus, the story of easter, has to teach us all – christians or not. it is simply a lesson of being passionately committed to living a authentic life, determined to stay true to who we are at all costs.

morning bedroom

my moments in bed this morning, on this good friday + the first day of my little staycation, led me to consider how living an intentional, balanced life, filled with plenty of time in solitude and meditation, while also being fully engaged and committed to living actively in the world (both online + off-line), is exactly the type of life that i want to live.

now, it’s simply to rise up and make it happen. all that’s left to do is to live it: a messy, inspired, authentic life fully connected to all of the moments of life, death and rebirth that we experience on our journey. to follow my personal legend + to let even my little life count for something

and so it is. and so it will be.

xoxo. liz.

7 comments

  1. I really appreciate the intentionality of which you write and how it shimmers in my thoughts, giving rise to thoughts of my own intentionality — in fact, you’ve just inspired me to get offline and head into the studio for some intentional art-making.

    Thanks my friend for the inspiration!

    • Liz says:

      I am so very grateful that you found some inspiration in my rambling words. I cannot express how grateful I am that you come here and read through all of my thoughts as I process them and dump them out into cyberspace. Love to you!

  2. Barb says:

    Helpful perspective. Thanks!

  3. Jess Witkins says:

    Sounds like you needed some downtime. Happy Easter weekend to you and Lina! Enjoy the free time!

  4. Meghan says:

    I love your goal to be actively engaged with life and your relationships/the world around you all the time and to not just “spend” you time. I also believe it’s amazing because that level of presence in every moment can only result from being totally, 100% grounded in your Self.
    I think your point about needing to retreat in order to sustain ourselves so that we may give ourselves completely to the world (as in full participation) is true for everyone, even the most extroverted people, because its (also? Mostly?) about active contemplation rather than passive escape, and without stepping back to examine we can’t learn and truly move forward/progress. I often wonder how you (and other people) maintain such presence and active engagement with the world so consistently.
    Thank you too for sharing the story of Jesus in the garden in Gethsemane and the lesson that we need to be engaged in the things that are bigger than ourselves in the world. I was totally with you reading this post up to that point, but that story and your interpretation was really powerful and hit me hard. xoxo

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liz

liz

slow living. photography. craft beer. spirituality. moon + stars. bare feet. road trips. mexican food. blankets. the ocean. journals. coffee. airplanes. forests. meditation. eating out. cacti. playlists. family time. zola the cat. lina, my love.

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