Last week, I shared the story of the begging bowl - and how filling an empty bowl with whatever you desire can be a way of recognizing God's presence. My daughter, Anna, decided to choose a bowl and fill with various items. Here are her comments about the experience written two years ago.
"When I read my mom's post, I was filled with the customary inspiration that comes after reading her words. I connected even deeper to this particular post since the bowl she described came from the shop where I work. I am beyond delighted that something she bought during a visit to Portland inspired such a mindful project. When I read the call-to-action for her readers to also conduct a "bowl project," I knew it was something I wanted to do.
I have the classic conundrum of those with both a small living space and borderline hoarder tendencies: I don't have a lot of room in my one bedroom apartment, but I do have a lot of things I want to keep. Most of these things are reminders of love. My parents are a constant reminder of love, and their acts are the things that remind me of God's love as well. My bowl - well not a bowl at all, but a rather small vessel handmade by one of my favorite ceramicists in Portland - became a place for holding these special things.
Often times, I am messy in my way of keeping track of these items that cross many miles to get to me and remind me that I am loved. Having the bowl project gave me a devoted place to keep these things, a place that is beautiful in decoration and easy to access, but also didn't take up too much space in my apartment.
Things that found their way in there were mindfully placed momentoes of love: handwritten notes from my mom, an envelope addressed by my dad (just seeing familiar handwriting is a reminder of love to me), a movie ticket a friend bought me out of love - because we both needed to escape the heat and what better treat that a cool, dark theater?
Through this project, I learned that simply being open and ready to receive is enough to find oneself "overflowing with expressions of love," as my mom wrote. It doesn't have to take up a lot of space in your mind or on your countertop, nor is it complicated to catalogue. I never second-guessed what I put in the bowl, I just knew. Because I was open.
Ultimately my bowl experience was a fulfillment of my mon's prayer for her readers as the end of her post. That prayer reads: God, fill us to overlfowing with tangible expressions of your goodness, love and challenge. Guide our reflections with what you give so we can learn more about ourselves and our lives with you. Amen.
Who doesn't want to feel that? I feel blessed that I did through this project, and continue to because of it."
Anna Reed - August 27