It can happen…there are things more important than blogging. Last Sunday when I got back from church there was a message from my niece that my almost-90-year-old mother was on her way to the emergency room. Within 2 hours I was on a plane, heading toward Huntington Beach. And that’s where I’ve been for the last week.
Mom’s antiquated computer, which she only uses for solitaire, wouldn’t let me access my blog. So, I put aside my writerly persona and resumed the role of nurse. She’s doing a little better, but I’ll be heading down south again in a few days, this time with my laptop.
Events like this serve to remind us of the importance of being present in the moment and responding to what’s important in the now. There are times when writing must take a back seat to more important things…and moments when physical and emotional demands drain us of creativity. And that’s okay. We do what we are called to do and bank the experience for future inspiration.
Today, I need to rest and recover. Tomorrow…we’ll see what the day brings.
As writers, we’re cautioned to write what we know–or to do some thorough research before diving into a subject that is murky to us. A good way to do that is to take a situation with which we’re familiar and ask ourselves the question “What if?” For “Winter is Past” I asked myself What if something happened to Paula, my kidney donor? That was the jumping off point for the story that evolved through many rewrites.
This morning at meditation I realized the same question doesn’t work so well in life. As we face difficulties and uncertainties in our journey on earth, many “What if’s” present themselves to us. What if my investments tank? What if I lose my job? What if this is cancer? What if I never get published? It’s so easy to drain our energy by ruminating on our worries–on all the possible “What if’s” looming on the horizon. And it’s betrays our lack of trust in God.
When “What if” knocks at our door, can we realize the invitation to give attention to the present moment? That is where opportunity–our potential–dwells. Here’s to relegating all those worrisome questions to the creative process.
Most every spiritual tradition invites us to cultivate the art of being fully aware in the present moment. So much creative inspiration can be culled by attentiveness to detail.
I’m currently reading “Mariette in Ecstasy” by Ron Hansen–the fictional story of a postulant in a contemplative religious order. The author, a Catholic deacon, has an incredible command of detail. Some of the critiques I read on Amazon.com noted that there seemed to be an ill-defined plot, but in my view, this book is an example of the most brilliant attention to detail and sensory description. It is like reading an epic poem.
If you are looking to experience metaphor at it’s best and experimental fiction that, to me, does seem to go somewhere, I suggest checking it out. The read itself invites exploration of one’s relationship to God in a very Catholic context and is a good example of character-driven literary fiction.
(I purchased this book on my Kindle and was not asked to review it.)
It’s funny. As a writer, I’m in the business of assigning words, labels, descriptions to things, feelings, events, human interraction. But spiritually, I’ve become so aware of the limitations of labels.
Today, I happened upon a post when I was avoiding getting into my manuscript. (I did manage to eke out 1000 words this afternoon). The author spoke of mature spirituality and described basic tenets of Hasidic Judaism and the importance of allowing our spirituality to develop as we grow in wisdom and experience. Because I’ve been studying aspects of mystical Judaism and incorporating it into my own spiritual life I have become aware of how resonant most religions or spiritual traditions are to one another.
This brings me to the topic at hand–limitations we create when we impose labels. I have struggled with the boundaries that I impose when I identify myself in terms of nationality, religion, political affiliation, even gender or age. I believe that labels create separation, division. Could it be that the answer to many of our human problems lies in being true to self by living fully in the present moment and by searching for and discovering those things that make us one?
Right now, I’m enjoying the beauty (and relative warmth) of the Southern California desert. I thrill when I see nature’s gifts. We have an abundance of hummingbirds. I see them dart from the feeder we have hanging outside the kitchen window to the geranium, the primrose, the trumpet vine. They cull their nourishment from so many sources. Can’t we, like them, enjoy the bounty of God’s Spirit without confine. The gifts of other spiritual traditions has only enriched my own heritage.
It used to be, spiritually, that Advent was my favorite time of the year. Something about “incompleteness,” about waiting for what’s to come. When I was young, I wanted to be older. Then I couldn’t wait to graduate, fulfill career dreams, accomplish all kinds of life goals. My life’s journey followed directions that were different from most of my peers: going in the convent at a very young age, not marrying till I was in my late 40’s, no children. Now, I’m in the “3rd third” of my life, as my neighbor refers to it. And still waiting for what is to come, but so much more focused on what IS. In writing–enjoying the process, as well as the prospect of publishing. Spiritually–savoring the moment, wondering what is to come, STILL waiting.