Life has slowed down. My books have arrived; my calendar isn’t jammed. I can linger over meals and leave my phone in my pocket when I walk to the store.
I shed an old skin in the rough darkness. After writing about it last week. I’ve been pondering these questions: What did I leave behind there? What did I receive?
This is what I noticed.
Generally, the only time I write is in the morning and the only place is in my study. In that hallowed space, I feel safe enough to listen deeply to my life. But this past month, I’ve found hallowed ground other places. I’ve written at the airport, while away on a course, and in a spare thirty minutes in the evening.
I noticed that in the endless editing to prepare Seed Cracked Open for publication, I would see something that looked odd and pass it off, see it again and pass it off. After a third or fourth time, I’d looked more closely and discover an error. It was only after I made this discovery that I noticed the pattern of look/deny etc. Becoming aware of this made me want to pay attention to any internal noticing and investigate it the first time I feel it. It also made me appreciate that my inner teacher is persistent and will keep speaking up until it’s heard–not just in editing, but in all of life.
I noticed that when I’m anxious, I panic more easily. I’m more apt to misread an email or misinterpret a directive. Just knowing that calms me. I also noticed that God was aways calm even though I was anything but. That helped me do what I needed to do in the midst of my fear.
In the Mary Oliver poem I mentioned last week, the forest is a place of danger for the snake. He is somehow more vulnerable without his old skin. During that patch of darkness, I became more vulnerable too and talked with friends about the look-at-me little girl. I risked being judged for what I shared. Instead of judging me, my friends were vulnerable as well and shared their “me too” moment.
I have taken a bold step of faith. I’ve come to believe that my writing and publishing is a divine calling and a worthwhile investment of time, money and energy, even though I’m not a bestselling author, even though some people never finish reading my book and many will never read it at all.
I also know that while I value and honour writing and the time it takes in my life, it’s not all of my life. It’s not my identity. I can forget about it a lot of the time and do.
In this new skin, I find that when I have to, I can do a lot more than I thought I could. I also know I don’t always have to.
The common theme in all these things is freedom. God has me free from thoughts and fears that have enslaved me for a long time. What a spacious place this is!
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves
be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
–Galatians 5:1 (NIV)
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While I was writing this and last week’s post, I kept thinking of this song by David Wilcox. That led me to listen to more of his songs and watch a few youtube videos of his performances. What delightful love mischief! I also watched his Tedx performance and was surprised to see quite a few empty seats in the audience. I guess some people don’t read his “book” either. That didn’t seem to bother him one bit.