Monday, April 25, 2011
I'm grateful and a little sad to be done with my Lenten writing experience. Excited to have a couple more hours a day to do things like sort through mountains of papers. Sad, I guess, that I will let things like sorting through papers (sorry to overuse that phrase...it's just the truth of the moment) take precedence.
In an attempt to review what I may have gained spiritually from this exercise, I have come up with a few ideas. Rounding them out to 10, here they are:
What I've Learned this Year from my Creative Writing Exercise During Lent:
1. I can make myself do things I don't feel like doing. This should transfer to other areas of my life, don't you think?
2. Everything...seriously, just about everything...can be twisted according to perspective. The way we view things, experiences, people, emotions, values, religion, philosophy; is altered and is alterable by our perspective. Mood, timing, past experience and even hunger change the way we view things. I considered at one point doing 40 days writing on one word. One can find a myriad of ways to drive thoughts around one single word. What I learned from this, in the spiritual sense, is that I must be part of a living religion, allowing myself to be altered by the spirit in meaningful ways, while at the same time being cautious that my own faulty reasoning doesn't take me off track. Stepping back, shifting to the right or left, slowing down, even stopping - these are all useful tools in changing perspective. Sometimes a change in perspective puts us behind a column in the theatre of life and blocks our view. Other times it opens things right up. I've learned to always ask for the Spirit of the Lord to be with me when I risk changing perspective.
3. There is such a thing as too much information. I think I over wrote this year. Too many words. I too easily followed my train of thought, which sort of goes along with my messy study. I let myself drift a little bit too easily. I need to be aware of my tendencies and correct my course for the sake of the final outcome.(in the study AND my writing. :)
4. Honesty matters. Not everything is sweet. Nor should
it be. On the other hand, some things are especially sweet and should be celebrated as such. It seems like we've sacrificed too much these days, worrying about being cheesy. What is - is. And that should speak for itself. When you expose yourself publicly in the vulnerable hours of the day (when I tend to write) what you get, from me at least, is candor. That has to be ok.
5. We must be still. But we must not be lazy. In order to get to the deeper places I learned to be still physically, and extra active mentally, allowing myself to push past easy and into strenuous but uncontrived. It's a delicate balance and we don't get good at it until we try.
6. Some things take a long time. Their worth is not always in the final product. Not every thing is worth keeping, or sharing, but that does not mean it's time wasted.
7. There are sometimes big stories and important messages in little things. Finding them is worth repeated effort.
8. I shouldn't judge myself by others' comments - for good or for bad. I wanted people to like what I had to say. More than I should. It took quite a while and a bit of sorry self-centered conversation with the people closest to me to finally let go and allow people to not necessarily like, or even care about, what I had to say. For some reason I had very few comments this time around. It played games with my head and heart. It probably took thirty days of Lent sacrifice for me to let go of caring about that. I was glad Lent was longer than 30 days so I could come to that conclusion.
9. I have a bottomless pile of memories. And you probably do too, if you'd allow yourself to fall into them through the rabbit hole in the back of your head. One silly word is a good way to start.
10. God plays a big role in my life. This exercise was not intended to be anything but a writing exercise. I had no other intent. I could not have been so candidly honest otherwise. But in looking back I see that my faith in a higher power, whom I call God, and whose son is named Jesus Christ and Jehovah, has a central place in my thoughts and history. By writing every day on words that were not religious by nature, I notice that faith is a part of my center whether I shout it to the crowds or whisper it to myself. If you are a believer, it will show without you trying to make it show. Trust me on this one.
OK, so now I've looked back and breathe a sigh from all the way down in my diaphragm.
If you have read this far, you may have read some of my other over-written pieces this year and perhaps for the last three years. They are all here in this blog. Can I ask you a favor? (I realize I am probably at this point talking to Libby and maybe a couple of my kids...oh, and my friend Kristen) If I were to collect a few of the best pieces from my Lent Writing, what would a few of them be for you? I'm thinking of making a small collection for my bookshelf and decided that printing them all takes too much paper. If you remember any off the top of your head please leave them in the comment section or email them to me (firstname.lastname@example.org). Don't go re-reading. You can also scrawl through titles and see if any of them struck you as meaningful. Even if you recall just the subject matter, that would help, then I'll find the post.
(So there-what you think DOES matter to me)