If you have curly or wave hair you know the more weight (read length) you have the less curl you will experience. You may also know that about 80% of people with curly hair have hair that’s curlier towards the lower 2/3 of their head and less so in the upper 1/3. As a result, weight means less curl and no bounce. If you cut curly hair to all one length, you in effect “hide” all the curl. Curly hair also has to be cut well or it sticks out all over like crazy ringlets! Not everyone can cut curly hair.
I am one of those people who has curly hair in the lower and straight hair in the upper part of my head. I had been letting it grow out for the last 7 months and as you might expect as my hair got longer, the straighter it became. I hated it, but the thought of getting a “bad cut” was always in my mind.
I finally gave in and scheduled with a new stylist. I was hopeful because they actually had the option for a “curly cut” in the appointment scheduler! On Monday I went off to have it cut. I wasn’t sure what the outcome might be. I was pleasantly surprised. Almost immediately I could see the bounce, shine and joy springing back into my hair. With each new snip came a new curl! She even knew to use a razor to thin the ends. On Tuesday I damped my hair and the curls came back to life. This morning I washed it and immediately the curls sprang to life, bouncing around like they had springs attached.
You maybe wondering where am I going with this? Its simple really, curls are the perfect metaphor for our life. When our life is long, drawn out, weighted down by too much activity, shame, frustrated hope, or fear, life becomes heavy, lifeless, dull and straight. With a few simple well placed cuts, life can spring back to a bouncy, full, loving, brilliant experience.
This all sounds good, but just how do you “trim” your life? We have so many things pulling us in different directions. How do we chose those activities that give life and those that take the bounce right out of our souls? The prayer of Examen is one tool I have found to be most helpful.
In the prayer of examine we take time to explore our day, mindful of the the events, our feelings, our thoughts, our actions and how we experienced God. Notice I didn’t say how another person might have prompted us. This reflexion is all about you and your responses and experience of God in the world around you. In the examen we are being honest with ourselves and with our higher power about our deepest secrets, fears and the triumphs of the day. Much like the 12 steps in AA, we are taking account of our lives, admitting our mistakes, how we saw and experienced joy, what led to peace, and how did grace enter in.
This can be a quick daily practice, a before bed ritual of 5 – 10 minutes, exploring the day, releasing fears, expressing thoughts of shame and failure, seeking the good and beautiful, and making amends, then giving thanks to God for the day. When practiced daily, the Prayer of Examen can prune our life leading us deeper into rhythm with the Divine’s work in us and creation around us.
Focused prayer and meditation, paying close attention to the events of our day can give us a new lease on life, restoring the balance, bounce, shine and joy. Life is like a curl, it has twists and turns, buoyancy and lightness, and heavy, weighty moments. In examining and then releasing these moments daily, we cut the dead weight, releasing the curls, adding bounce, shine and new joy.