Although I am not Jewish, I have found much nourishment in studying spiritual aspects of Judaism, in particular the Hebrew Alphabet (Aleph Beit). Jewish mystics and scholars believe that God used the letters of the Aleph Beit to bring about creation. Consider the power of the Word.
This morning I spent time with the letter Kaph. It means “palm” as in the palm of the hand. There is power in the hand–we raise a hand in blessing, we use our hands in the act of creating, through the hand healers channel their healing energy–think of Jesus, or Reiki Masters. It is intention, kavannah, that enables this power. Kaph is the first letter of kavannah and, as such, invites us to bring intentionality to our daily actions.
A few hours ago I spent some time doing the domestic thing: folding laundry, doing the dishes, a quick “pick up/put away storm” around the house. The idea of kavannah came to mind and, as I was making the bed, I realized that I can do it grudgingly or with grace. Bringing the intention of love to simple chores transforms them–making our home a blessing. It’s true that this is something I learned at an early age, but it’s something I have to continue to strive to remember. It’s so easy to slip into unconsciousness and go through the actions of every day without awareness.
So, we write. How can kavannah/intention affect this part of our life? What happens when, before we put our palms on the keyboard, we remember that we are instruments of God’s creative Spirit?
My very Catholic background is steeped in ritual and is (and always will be, I assume) an integral part of who I am. I’m not speaking here of superstition or rote utterances, but processes that invite me to pray or to create.
This morning I read an article in the most recent Writer’s Digest in which readers shared their writing rituals. My own vary from time-to-time, but I do find that there are ways to create an environment and mood for practising our art.
One technique that I’ve used in the past is to bless my writing space. I light a candle on my desk and ask my angels and God to be with me as I work. Sometimes, I’ll use incense. I write best in a place of quiet and comfort. Right now, this is a challenge since our two little dogs love to be close. They will jump on my lap (and threaten my manuscript) and want to snuggle.
Many writers enjoy writing in public places such as coffee shops or libraries. Because of my distractable mind, this doesn’t usually bode well for me, but bringing a notebook to such a location has been the source of story lines and descriptions.