Daily, I surround myself with modern technologies and factory mentalities, focused on efficiency and effectiveness. I can turn lights on and off with the flick of a switch. Brighty lit, beautifully staged photographs in magazines encourage me to organize my external surroundings into peaceful little compartments. All around me, there seems to exist a fantastical universe of everything in its place–an enticing thought, especially with the chaos of young children in the home.
However, I find that my own tendency towards compartmentalization works insidiously. If I’m not careful, I begin to think we can switch our very selves on and off, or that we can stow pieces of our time or our selves in little organized boxes, none of which affect the other, let alone anyone else in my life. I become inflexible with my time, and irritated with the circumstances (or persons) that may interfere with my plans.
But the real life I live is integrated, and I have a mission to live in wholeness. I exist as a whole being: body, mind, and spirit. Our Orthodox worship reflects this, with its emphasis on the five senses and elaborate seasonal rhythms that build on one another. Our very bodies reflect this–we can’t turn ourselves off with the flick of a switch, and even our sleep has a rhythm to it that needs maintaining. The blocks of time we create in order to organize society are a mere concept (though a very powerful one). But if we fall into thinking that we can compartmentalize into separate little pieces, we will rend ourselves in two.