The intention, the motivation, the heart of this Lenten Safari is to arrive at a place of reorientation that allows us to embody the life we were created to live. However, when our orientation is a bit off and we put in an order for reorientation, we must be ready for disorientation, because it will be on the menu. This process of disorientation, which includes the discomfort of change, has to be embraced at the heart level. Change is never easy as “the only people that like change are wet babies” according to a well-known saying. So, during this disorientation process, it is essential to engage at the heart level with clear intentions and an openness to change.
While this intention is not quite like the resolutions we make at the beginning of the year, it is similar. In December 2013, while I was working with college students, one of them in conversation asked me what what resolutions I had made for 2014. Although, I had not really thought about it, there was a yearning in my heart. So, at the time, I did not have a resolution per se, but I was holding an intention, and I remember saying that my intention or desire was to be more present. Funny thing is that the student doesn’t even remember asking me the right question at the right time to bring to the surface what was already in my heart.
Nevertheless, I learned two distinct things from setting this intention. First of all, be careful what you ask for when you set an intention, because it most likely will not be delivered in the way that you envisioned. Now, when I set the intention to be more present, I envisioned the lighter side of being present…under fun, favorable, and friendly conditions. However, 2014 was a tumultuous year of disorientation for me, and instead of smooth sailing, I was offered stormy waters and a smorgasbord of opportunity after opportunity to be present under some of the most hostile, unfavorable, and unsavory conditions. Even so, I am so grateful not only that God honored my heart’s desire, but I am also grateful for the ways in which God chose to do it. The lessons of disorientation–not only from that season but from every period of time proceeding my transition to a new assignment–have served me well.
Secondly, this intention was much more than a resolution that might last a few days, weeks, months, or only for the year, because I really wanted a reorientation to my truest self, a reorientation that would totally change my life. Being present to myself and to others meant having a greater connection between heart and head. It meant seeing clearly what was and was not lining up with my heart, my call, and my purpose. In the process, it brought to light some ways of thinking, being, and doing that needed to be uprooted and replaced with what lines up with my true essence, and whole being.
That, my friend, is the reorientation that we seek, one wherein the heart is awakened, and we enter the process of disorientation to undo those things that do not line up with our highest truth. It is the process by which we develop the capacity to live out our most authentic self, the self God created us to be. It is when we launch out into the deep and get out of the boat to be fully alive and fully awake to engage in the disorientation required to arrive at a reorientation in which we embody the life we were created to live.
Tara LaShawn Seabrook is a self-proclaimed “free spirit,” a public, practical, and prophetic theologian; a spiritual and social justice activist; a creative and cultural artist; and a prolific teacher, speaker, and writer. Currently, she resides in Guatemala where she is finishing up a 2-year volunteer in mission commitment with a non-governmental organization before returning to her native Charleston, SC in the spring of 2017. Her book based on her original poem, “I Am She: The Anthology” will be released later this year.