Much of our stewardship talk is about how we use our resources in the outer world. How generous are you with your finances? Where do you offer your time, talent, skills to help others? How do you call others mercifully and compassionately to accountability for their actions, their lack of stewardship?
These are all outer-world questions.
Stewardship of our inner world is just as important as stewardship of our outer world. When we are unhappy, not in alignment with our Highest Self and the Highest Good (Spirit), in our inner world, it reflects out of us. Misalignment inside creates poor stewardship outside of us.
We must pay close attention to what is happening in our hearts and souls.
Lady Mary offers us a beautiful example of this. She is frustrated and unhappy by her own life choices. She has created life choices that are preventing her from marrying the person she loves because he is not ‘equal’ to her. Equal for Mary is about finances and position. The man is equal to Mary in all other ways but financially. She is unable to see that.
Then, her sister, Lady Edith, is asked to marry by a man Lady Mary considers to be poor. Turns out he is the heir to a huge estate, richer than Mary. This makes Mary jealous and she ruins Edith’s chances and life by revealing a huge secret spitefully.
Lady Mary, in her unhappiness, then turns on her Father blaming him for a servant’s attempted suicide.
She continues this downward spiral until Branson, her brother-in-law (Sibyl her late sister’s husband), calls Mary on her unhappiness.
In a powerful scene, he speaks truth to her:
Branson: Well, you got what you wanted. Bertie has left for the train. Now Edith will not be the next Marchioness of Hexham.
Lady Mary: Well that is not what I wanted.
Branson: Isn’t it?
Lady Mary: I still can’t believe she never told him. How was I to know that?
Branson: Don’t play the innocent with me.
Lady Mary: I didn’t mean…
Branson (raising his voice and interupting Mary): Don’t lie! Not to me. You can’t stop ruining things — for Edith, for yourself. You’d pull in the sky if you could — anything to make you feel as frightened and alone.
Lady Mary: You saw Henry (her love that she will not acknowledge) when he was here — high handed and bullying and unapologetic. (actually that is Mary not Henry) Am I expected to lower myself to his level and be grateful I am allowed to do so?
Branson: Listen to yourself! Lower yourself to his level. You are not a princess and the prisoner of Zenda…
Mary: You don’t want to understand me.
Branson: You ruined Edith’s life today! How many lives are you going to wreck just to smoother your own misery?
Mary: I refuse to listen.
Branson: You are a coward Mary. Like all bullies, you are a coward.
Mary looks insulted and unsure what to do. Branson storms out leaving her to her thoughts.
Branson then writes to the Dowager Lady Grantham, asking her to return and help heal this situation….
Mary begins to pay attention to her inner world, a little. She has paid enough attention to her heart, that when Dowager Countess, Lady Grantham, Mary’s Grandmother returns from her trip , Lady Mary is about to hear her Grandmother’s gentle compassionate call to accountability. The Dowager encourages Lady Mary to be happy and to right the wrongs she has committed.
Mary opens her heart, accepts Love, and seeks a way to right the wrong she committed against Edith. By the end of the season, all is righted.
Paying Attention to Our Inner World
When our inner world is out of alignment with Spirit, our outer world will reflect that. We find ourselves cranky, doing things we do not ‘normally do.’ Things are not working out for us. We are getting frustrated, angry, increasingly unhappy.
These are all signs to step back and pay attention to our hearts, to our spirits, to our inner world.
It happens quickly…
I had lost my spiritual practice when I moved here to New Mexico. All the transition, getting myself fully into what it means to pastor St Paul’s United Church of Christ, as well as settling into living here in New Mexico took all my time and attention. I told myself that I did not have time for meditation, etc. Yet, my heart longed for it, longed for quiet prayer-filled moments, slowing down connecting with Spirit.
One morning I decided, Today is the Day!
I began. The practice came back quickly. Morning walk, followed by meditation, journaling, listening. I noticed sycronicities occurring more and more. Life was flowing freer, more fully. I was laughing more. There was less stress weighing me down. Creativity increased. All these good things began to reassert themselves in my life!
Then one Sunday afternoon I got a migraine like I have never had before. The migraine lasted two days. Then it took my body another week to recover. Within that week, I had lost my practice.
Losing my practice...
I noticed that I was not practicing. I gave myself grace and permission because I felt horrible.
But it has been two weeks and my practice is not back. It is like I walked away.
My creativity dropped. You may have noticed that there was a week of no blogs. Yep. All creativity was gone.
Call to accountability
This past week, things have happened that are beckoning me back to my practice. I feel it — a spiritual pull, an invitation to pay attention to my inner world, a call to accountability from Spirit, “You are not being a good steward of your spiritual life and practice.”
I am walking again, slowing down paying attention to the natural world. Meditation is arriving back in my life. As I bring back my spiritual practice, I feel myself returning to ME.
It is important that we pay attention to our inner worlds.
How are you being a good steward of your spiritual life, of your inner world?
Have you paid attention to the stewardship of your heart?
What does that look like for you?
If you have not paid attention to your inner world, to your spiritual life, before, spiritual direction is a powerful practice to guide you into a practice that works for you, that deepens your connection with Spirit. Spiritual direction teaches you how to be a good steward of your inner world. Contact me if you would like to spend time contemplating Spirit’s invitation to stewardship of your heart and spirit.