Monday, December 29, 2008

December 30-The Sixth Holy Night - The Need for Arousal

A calm soul seeks arousal. It wants to be awakened and turned on to life, to nature, to divinity, to others and to self.

Most of us read the word, arousal, and think of sexual arousal. Yes, arousal calls out for intimacy, for deep knowing and deep connection. Arousal is a heightened desire for fulfilling engagement of any kind - sexual, spiritual, intellectual, artistic, practical, playful. Sustained arousal supports commitment, loyalty, sacrifice and authenticity.

Arousal is the potential for being love. Physically arousal increases the beating of the the heart. Blood flows with more energy. Spiritually, a feeling of destiny appears. We feel embraced by the gods.

Arousal can seduce us if our soul is not calm. A calm soul experiences arousal consciously and harmoniously. Arousal awakens and directs your calm thinking, calm feeling and calm willing into the future. If you have a calm soul, you will be able to ask yourself, "Is my soul both calm and aroused?" Sadly, arousal can take over our consciousness and all self-questioning and objectivity disappear. Without calmness in the soul, arousal can become prejudice, addiction or fantasy.

Arousal births devotion in a calm soul. Arousal gives the calm soul such a vibrant, joyful sense of self-fulness that deeds become free of self-seeking and self-serving agendas. We are able to ask ourselves if truth, beauty and goodness are the cause and the result of the arousal.

In nature, arousal sensitizes us to the seed about germinate, the rain about to fall, the rabbit about to jump out from the bush. In divinity, arousal lets us see imaginations, hear inspirations, and act on intuitions. In a social context, arousal awakens us to the the heart of strangers and keeps us discovering new meanings in long-term relationships. In our own lives, arousal lets us see the paths we want to walk and the goals we want to achieve.

If arousal appears in an agitated soul, the impulses become selfish, obsessive, dangerous, even destructive. Arousal in an agitated soul is like an itch that cannot be soothed, an inflammation that can not be cooled or a thirst that cannot be quenched. It cannot be satisfied and come to an end. Remember the sounding of the word, calm, with the beginning, the middle and the ending.

The Hans Christian Anderson story, The Red Shoes, tells of a young girl who is deeply aroused by a pair of red shoes. She must wear them and in her vain need for the shoes, she neglects everything around her. The shoes are enchanted and will not stop dancing once they are on the girl’s feet nor can she remove them. After much suffering, she has the shoes and her feet chopped off and seeks the calm inner life she lacks. After much struggle, peace comes to her soul.

In my work as a counselor, I have listened to the despair of those whose souls can not be aroused. They do not feel alive. Their deeds are dutiful, but unfulfilling. Here, too, there is a need to calm the soul, first. Then, with patience and perseverance, a wisp of growing arousal can be found and warmed.

Tonight, look back over the year, or over your life, for the presence of arousal in your soul. What turns you on in ways that give you a strengthened sense of self? What new ideas, new feelings, new activities have you engaged in with enthusiasm? Seek the truth beauty and goodness living in each experience of arousal.

If you have feelings of arousal that cause you to lose your sense of self and lack real truth, beauty and goodness, why is your soul agitated? How can you calm your soul? The Holy Nights are a powerful time of year to ask that question. Just listen to your inner voice - not the screaming voice, the quiet one.

If arousal rarely appears and does not last, who can you ask to help you calm your soul and warm your interest?

Our calm souls require arousal. But arousal requires self-insight. When we can calm our souls and stimulate arousal consciously, we find true joy in our humanity.


  1. Caring calmness captures the Call,
    Poised between Holy, Folly and Will.
    Crawling into the crescent of the Moon,
    Aroused by the Mystic with a cup of Magic.

  2. The story of the red shoes reminds me of chasing a job, fanatically..and the chase turned out to be for a mirage, that still shimmers seductively, I saw a dimension to myself that was ruthless and driven, born out of desperation and I am sick and all that I have been chasing doesnt seem to matter any more...I so wanted "sucess"...and now it feels as if the only real failures of my life are those times and places where I failed to be whole, where I stretched fly and to be something bigger than I am and fell like Icarus...because I abandoned the truth and limitations of my humanity and lost humility. I aspire now to survive and to be authentic...and even sometimes to be graceful about both!

  3. Sadhu ! Sadhu !! Sadhu !!!!

  4. Thank you for the insight and inspiration. Anyone who has been actively seeking wholeness,
    spirit and happiness can relate to this profound description of arousal and calm.

    I think it is really about balance in all areas of life. I can relate to the frenzied, hurried life that at first seems to trick us into a feeling of accomplishment only to leave us worn and tattered, in need of love and healing.

    Arousal is also an awakening to self-being alive. Arousal is an energy to fully being alive and the calm resides in the eye if the storm.

  5. Paradoxically, arousal seems to be stirred by letting go. After all, if your hands / heart / soul are full of the things that do not calm and, ultimately, do not matter, there won't be room for the things that will spark holy arousal.

    Just a theory. I've spent most of the past year really examining my life and trying to let go of the things that don't serve me, and it seems there's no end to them....but I have found peace, and joy, and true arousal, and if you find something that works for you, well, you just roll with it...

  6. Amen to all of the above! This writing captured for me a true understanding of the hope, dysfunction and empathy around the concept of arousal. It clarifies the agitation I experience in myself and others. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this and each of the holy night topics. Epiphany is not at the end, but a bit occurs each night! Blessings to all.

  7. I am loving these Inner Christmas posts this year - they are providing a calm and quiet center in the midst of a major shift right now...

    thank you


  8. What a treasure to visit these posts throughout the day. What rich company.

    Lynn, I had never thought about the connection between "calm" and "arousal." Now that is enlightenment! Thank you.

    As I work with my manuscript with all the post-its--do a scene, delete, research more, use dialogue, shorten, etc. As I work in the calm solitude of these holy days and nights, I'll make the changes that arouse me, not the shoulds that scold me.

    Thank you again, Lynn, for your generosity to strangers to take the time to share these wonderments.

    Mil gracias!
    Kate, NM

  9. To me arousal means waking up to the spirit within that produces the feelings of calmness which foster peace, love, and joy. The arousal of anger, hate, and fear come from the ego driven mind and do not serve me.

    Thank you, Lynn, for sharing your thoughts with such grace and beauty. Your words inspire. SCS

  10. This message gives me a lot to think about...

    when I remember the deepest desire of my Soul, then I can feel true arousel.

    But why does it flow away each time? Because my Soul needs to calm down. So I take my list (calming thoughts, things and activities) I made earlier this week and start 'working'.
    Focussed on my goal, connected with the Desire of my Soul.

    Blessings to all


  11. After having let go of all images of myself the night before, arousal came through this blog as well as through a friend, who sees a problem in me because her boyfriend was in love with me once and their relationship is based on mistrust and old relationship issues they are trying to sort out with each other...she cant look me in the eye anymore because my mere presence in her life (we have been friends for a while) hurts because she cant do anything about this all, he just doesnt love her as much as she would want to (says she). Last night the thought of her came up in my life again (we havent been speaking for some weeks)but there she was, her image and my sorrow to be losing her would not leave me all evening. It felt as if now that my soul had had a breathing break throughout these holy nights it could face her and the situation we are in again, honestly and with Love. I felt a small storm going on in my heart, and I am anxious to meet her at my new years party (and he will be there too...perfect set up for either a confrontation or a first step in healing.)
    Happy New Year!!!

  12. Feeling deeper into Arousal, it becomes Vitality, simply an awakening of the Life Force and it's movement through the world (and me) either up and out(stem/leaf/expression/art) or down and in (root/grounding/introspection/vision).

    It's not easy to sit with Arousal, she always wants to get up and DO something! Especially now, because hibernation is in itself a calming dynamic after the arousals of the growing year. Arousal can so easily become a distraction for me if I don't tap it from a deeper source.

    The calming of mid-winter comes over me slowly and surely in the image of snow falling, softly and relentlessly for hours until it softens all the corners, muffles all the edges until the silence has built so deep I can put my ear down close and hear the flakes landing.

    Way under there I calmly pause with the other seeds to await the first glimmering call to stir, for the spark of arousal to grow into the desire to grow more and more into the next performance...

    For now, we dream.