Posts Tagged With: spiritual practice

Words of Writing Encouragement

I’ve made many new resolutions to change my writing habits this past year: waking up early, committing to blog twice a week, and seeking out places of writing and reading. Still I fight the practice.  It’s easy to put it on the back burner for the day as I stay in bed for another hour, prioritize other activities, and even find myself wondering what to write.  If everything else in my life aligns for the day, then I will write.  Otherwise, it may or may not happen.

Even though I have this adversarial relationship to writing, I go to bed feeling something is missing if I don’t take time for it.  A deep desire exists to express myself and the world around me through words.  Part of my problem is hearing my inner self and others saying that writing is just a hobby, it’s not important.  However, recently several words about writing have encouraged me to take it seriously again.

Words of covenant.  Walter Wangerin, Jr. talks about his relationship to writing – and subsequently the readers – as a covenant.  This is not an insignificant word.  It reflects a serious intention related to writing.  An ethical response to this work.  It’s a bond of trust with the writer and herself, her writing, her readers.  A voice in me whispers that maybe Wangerin can get away with this because he’s a real, published writer.  But does that make my work any less respectable?  Probably the first person who needs to take my writing seriously is me.

Words of spiritual practice.  Often I have thought about writing as a spiritual practice.  I journal during my quiet times and find myself in a cathedral recording thoughts about God’s work in my life.  However, I’m learning that the content or place of the writing doesn’t necessarily make it more or less spiritual.  As we see Jesus as God incarnate – that mysterious intersection of God and human, spirit and material – we can catch a glimpse of what spiritual writing may be.  Not writing that is only about spiritual topics, but writing that comes out of an ever more incarnationally lived life.

Words of platform.  Suggestions related to getting published may not at first seem the best way to be inspired to write.  Often such things can even squelch creativity.  Yet, concrete ideas to develop a more focused means of getting my work to others is helping me to develop that writing self.  So often I allow the random currents of life to dictate what I write – or not write.  A little bit here, a little bit there.  Constructing a platform (or maybe a canoe) can help me ride these currents better and even provide a better way for readers to understand what’s coming.

These words of covenant, spiritual discipline, and platform, along with others connecting writing to play and as a means of forming and sharing stories are starting to pull me out of bed and to the computer, one day, one hour at a time.

What words and prompts get you to write?

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Taking Time to Pause

While listening to a sermon – and thinking about my plans for the afternoon, getting directions to the Art Museum off my iphone, and planning the days ahead – I heard the word statio.  My mind stopped racing for a moment to learn that statio is the spiritual practice of stopping between events to pause.  To be present.  As evidenced by my own poor attempts at multi-tasking, I could really use this practice.

As are many people, I’m often going from one activity to another in a rush.  While I hastily load my bag and run out the door, I hope the 15 minutes I allowed for a 20 minute commute will be enough.  There is no time to reflect and consider where I am going,  where I have been, or even where I am.  Somedays I get into bed unable to remember the previous 15 hours as one activity blurs into the next on these packed days.  My calendar is just too full to allow the extravagance of pausing, right?

Wrong.  My hurried transitions are probably not a symptom of too many important activities happening at once.  No. The activities are a symptom of a larger unease with myself.  As long as I’m active, or proving it by seeming busy, then I’m doing something of worth.  My life is okay.  But the worth is often a veneer if it’s primarily based on external activity.  I don’t take time to look around at the story I’m living now.  Who is the person with whom I’m going to have coffee and how is Christ appearing through her?  What is my response to the book I just finished?  What am I thinking?  Where am I now and what do I see, really see?

Even though I want to take time out, I often don’t get around to it.  I fear that taking even a small amount of time to look around may pull me away from the path I have carefully laid out or bring about uncomfortable vulnerability.  However, maybe the path needs to be changed.  Or, maybe I just need to be grateful and truly experience the beauty of the path.  The practice of pausing is a practice of place.  It roots one in the present moment.  Wouldn’t such a view of life be a relief?   In between events I can remember that I am human and God is God.

Statio.  It doesn’t sound like a lot.  It isn’t a week-long retreat, a day of sabbath, or even a morning quiet time.  As I now start rushing through Lent and the additional readings and activities only seen to add to the chaos of the day, maybe this is the one practice that can make a difference.  Just stop and pause for a minute.  Just be.

Be still, and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!  Psalm 46:10

Categories: Journey Living | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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