About a month ago we came home from work to find that our dogs had gone on a bit of a chewing spree. A beleaguered house plant, a Bob Dylan CD, a discarded paper bag – and my beloved John O’Donohue book, To Bless the Space Between Us – were all victims of their anxious boredom. I don’t usually cry over something the pups mangle, I mean, it happens often enough, but this one hit me at just the right moment and in just such a way that my heart cracked open and tears rolled down my face.
See, I am a weeper by nature and all sorts of things will start the waterworks for me. In addition to the usual things that reasonably evoke tears, such as grief or sweep-me-off my feet love, I am wont to weep at moments like standing stupefied in front of a 200 year-old painting or sinking into a powerful song (Fulton County Jane Doe by Brandi Carlisle set me off on an ugly cry recently) or even a being caught off guard by an emotionally manipulative commercial. But a chewed up book?
I have been using this little volume in our Leiden Fellowship for a couple of years now, ever since I heard a particular poem read at the close of a mystical night walking the labyrinth in Chartres. I couldn’t throw the book away, but I had no idea why I was hanging on to it considering the state it was in.
As 2020 came to a close and this blog began to take shape in my mind, that poem came back to me in full force and as I pulled the tattered pages off the shelf, it rang like a sacred bell in my mind.
May all that is unforgiven in you
May your fears yield
Their deepest tranquillities.
May all that is unlived in you
Blossom into a future
Graced with love.
That is ultimately what this blog is really all about, the “why are you writing?” rather than the what are you writing. Over the next twelve months, I hope this process will create sacred space where I, where we, can let go of all that can be laid down, claim the promise of God’s indefatigable compassion and blossom into a future graced with love.
The plan –
Prose – Each month I will write something much like this where I offer a theme for the month. These may take a variety of bloggy formats from navel gazing reflections, to interviews with people who have their act together far more than I, to an annotated bibliography of what I am reading or plan to read that month.
Practices – More than all the great books, deep thoughts and exciting conversations, the most powerful moments in my journey center around lived experiences and spiritual practices. So, each month I will share a different practice that I have engaged to keep opening my heart and mind to the luminescence of life.
Prayers – I believe that how we speak to one another is ultimately how we are speaking to God. I will offer a prayer every month and hope you discover your own prayers to either share or keep tucked away just for your own eyes.
Prompts – Writing is without a doubt an essential element in my becoming. I have worked through a LOT through the pixels of my posts and among the jottings in my journals. I will post an encouraging notion or question to hopefully get your pencil scribbling or your keyboard clicking.
This is truly meant to be an interactive process. You are invited to follow along, like for real, in your journal at home. I will invite you to try the spiritual practices, pray along with me and write.
A journal – any kind will do, the less fancy the better. I find that fancy journals prevent me from writing because I fear what I write will not be good enough for the pages of leather bound, embossed books. Just grab anything that can hold a year’s worth of scribblings (and some things glued or taped in once in a while). I personally prefer unlined or bullet journals, but please get whatever will make it easy to jump right in.
Pencils and pens – I’m a fan of pencils, some say that is about having commitment issues, and may be so! Don’t go overboard, just have on hand plain and colored pencils and pens.
It will also be helpful to have on hand some basic art supplies such as water colors (CHEAP), glue sticks, scissors, a camera (your phone camera is great, or a regular point and shoot works perfectly too).
It’s important to also bring along a sense of adventure and trust – mostly in yourself. I am not a writer, until I write. I am most certainly not an artist, even when I am being artsy-fartsy, and I am no mystic, even when I am lost in the great mystery of meditation. Please give yourself permission to explore, feel vulnerable and eventually, hopefully, stumble upon periods of personal beauty along the way.
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