Materials needed: computer or tablet; a piece of furniture or a heavy object; pen or pencil and paper
Before beginning this exercise, take a few moments to be still using some of the techniques in previous exercises and sense the presence of God within you. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you through this activity and reveal what he wants you to know.
Something to push
Next, find something in your house that is difficult to move such as a piece of furniture. Don’t decide on something that you cannot move at all. Preferably it would be on a smooth surface such as a wood floor. Stand in front of that object and imagine the following:
The object will represent a loss you may not be ready to accept. Pulling the object towards you means that you accept your loss. Pushing it away means you do not accept it. The surface upon which the object stands represents God’s grace, holding your loss.
Push and pull
Link your loss to the object and try pushing it away; you need not push it hard, you only want to get a sense of the resistance. Think about what you are feeling as you push. Now stop pushing, and write down what just happened. Try connecting the physical sense of pushing the object with how you are feeling with your loss. If you are having trouble making that connection, make first a list of single words describing what it was like to push the object and feel the resistance. Now, in a separate column, write down single words that describe how you feel about what you have lost and how you feel when people seek to console you. Do you feel that same resistance and how does it play out in your life? How do you feel about your resistance? Do you feel connected to God in your loss? If you do not feel a connection with God, what do you feel? Feel free to write down anything you wish even if it denotes anger, resentment, frustration, or a loss of faith. This is your own private time between yourself and God, and he already knows how you feel.
Next, pull the object gently towards you and think about what you are feeling as you pull. Now stop pulling and write down your impressions: was it easier to pull the object towards you or push it away? Try making a connection to your loss: right now, is it harder to pull that loss towards you or to push it away? Why?
Finally, imagine that someone is with you (or you might even invite someone to be with you during this exercise) and while you were pulling on the object, they were pushing. How do you feel physically now that you have help? How much easier would it be to pull the object forward if you had help? Who does your help represent?
Watch the video of Paul McCartney’s song, “Tug of War” to spark further ideas and impressions:
Pray and ponder …
Go back now and read Ecclesiastes 3:1–8. In light of what you just did, write down your impressions of the verses: What do they mean to you now? How do you feel about that area of your life that you have been trying to push away? How does the cyclical nature of life, as described in Ecclesiastes make you feel? Write or speak a prayer to God to help you understand your feelings.
copyright 2015 Susan W. Bailey;
from Chapter 3 of River of Grace: Creative Passages Through Difficult Times,
published by Ave Maria Press