Culture of Imagination

connecting spirituality to everyday life

Category: Longings of the Soul

A Longing of My Soul

114701740204911777tsNbL8fcWhy is everything so empty and boring? Am I falling apart with my ideas of success and life and happiness? I feel alive and broken at the same time. Where is my true passion?

How come people and systems and institutions bother me so much? I cannot escape my cynicism. It is too much. Maybe I don’t care anymore. Maybe this is all there is or ever will be.

The ideas I been taught have disillusioned me. I am lonely, sad, and miserable. Where is the honesty I need within me and around me? Is my true self gone never to return?

Who am I? Why am I so arrogant with ungrateful attitudes and deep cynicism? What will this day bring? Will it bring misery or dishonesty or pain?

Maybe at the point when you lose everything you thought life was to you is the stage of growth where you start to understand something about yourself, about life, about honesty. Somedays how I love my dishonesty, how I hide my own truth of what is happening in me, of what is alive or not alive in me in the present moment. Sometimes I want to scream in rage. Am I crazy or just getting more honest with myself in the depths of who I am?

I want to run and dance and smile and live, but it seems confusing how to connect with what life is. I am confused and beaten down by life. These hardships are too much sometimes. Alone with nowhere to go but deeper into my own intensity of despair.

This melancholy is my friend, my companion, my hope. I long for what will never be and it is tearing me apart. No one understands me! I live rejected and hidden by my own shame.

Unmet needs live within me and I don’t know what to do? I am tired of all of this and need some silence. The emptiness inside is too much for me to handle. My pain leaves me on the ground.

01Is there any way to find meaning anymore? All the clichés of God have played out. Leave me to my misery and pain and cynicism. Maybe that is what I want. I feel sad at the state of life I am in.

The tears are never ending. The questions are everywhere. I will not accept the status quo anymore. My life is ruined in what I cannot see.

There is nothing for me here in this life I live. I find more pain and emptiness with each passing day. I am afraid of tomorrow. Is there even a God to help?

May I know love and compassion if it is real in the here and now. I am longing and dreaming for some gratitude that will blossom like a flower in me. Is that even possible? I truly hope so.

Is hope an illusion I have believed in for far too long? Maybe there is no hope in life. I don’t know what hope is? Can someone teach me along the way?

What is the longing of your soul today?

My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism

My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!

“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist

Lead Us on the Path of Love

Still Life with Ferns, 2000

We long for something more authentic than this North American box we’ve been put into.  Help us to dance the dance of freedom.  May we be kind, gentle, compassionate and honest.  We are wounded, lonely and afraid.

We dream of you all throughout our days.  You are like the wind on our face on a hot summer day.  You bring us life, peace and a sense of meaning.  Allow us to understand our interconnectedness.

Be to us our life.  Show us the way of love, humility, vulnerability and grace.  We are disillusioned with the church that is supposed to represent you.  This breaks our hearts.  This makes us cry.

Why is everything so messed up.  We lament the violence done in your name.  We lament the colonialism that Christianity has brought into the world.  We repent of what we have done in the name of God that is not representative of love.

Love is all that matters, but we have loved money way too much in our individualistic culture.  Progress has caused us to live the cut throat life of competition.  We are sad and want to resist this in whatever way we can.  Help us to live a sense of sanity in the midst of our violence.

May we learn to be more aware, attentive and responsive toward love.  May we be compassionate and truthful.  May we allow Christ to live within us.  The ego has drowned us into propositional statements of doctrine, creeds, formulas and ideas based on you.

God save us from God.  We have boxed you up into our intellectual minds and have not allowed the body to experience you.  We have forsaken love and compassion turning toward our individualistic ways of subtle violence.  This all seems so normal and acceptable where we have lost a consciousness to anything beyond the status quo.

We are content in our boxes of fear, anger and violence.  We have separated ourselves from our neighbors.  We lament over our hatred, bitterness and prejudice.  We have lost our path to love.

We care more about our houses, cars, family and money than recreating our identity in a compassionate way of love.  We want to be free from what is of the false self.  We want to be our true self and learn to see the sacredness of all of life.  We are made for community, compassion, grace, humility and love.

Our consumerism has choked us to death.  Our individualistic ways have buried our imaginations within us.  Authenticity has become foreign to us.  The church has made us sick in its unhealthy ways of power and wealth.

We have abandoned the poor, oppressed and marginalized among us.  We have rejected you as we ignore the poor.  Help us to understand that what we do to them is what we do to you.  We lament over the disrespect we show others.

Our souls have not been valuable to us.  We struggle to care for our own growth.  Serenity has been trampled under our feet.  We have destroyed our expression of love and have given in to making money as our first priority.

Lead us on the path of love.  Love is what will heal our world.  Love is what is of the true self.  Love will help us to overcome our individualistic violence.

What resonates with you?