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The New Song Our Grief Wants to Sing
Greetings lovely one,
Living in Hawaii for three months now has been quite an adjustment. I’ve been praying a lot about what I’m supposed to be doing here. I was going to put my LLC to work and strive for goals that past business coaches believed I was more than capable of achieving.
But all the thoughts and ideas floating around in my head after seminary graduation went out the window my first night here. Those dreams were no longer my dreams. Those visions were no longer my visions. I was no longer the same person. Two years in seminary, in pandemic, in family crises had changed me.
A quick glance at what’s going on in my network indicates I’m not the only one thinking … 2022, what a year! It’s like we’re OK and yet, so many of us are not. I’ve learned that you can experience wins in life — a small uphill battle here, a courageous voyage into the unknown there — and yet, there can still be a war waging on the inside of people’s hearts and minds that impacts all of us in systemic ways. As changemakers, as truth seekers, as wayfinders — we creatives who create in the name of something larger than vanity metrics, seek to bring a sort of healing with our works, perhaps even a healing justice… The kind that “identifies how we can holistically respond to and intervene on generational trauma and violence, and to bring collective practices that can impact and transform the consequences of oppression on our bodies, hearts, and minds.” - Cara Page
In trying to force answers about what changes I can bring to my works during prayer time, I’ve become frustrated with the answer that is my current lived experience. You see, right now more than anything else, what’s shining brightly is the need to heal on a much deeper level. To pray on a much deeper level. To love myself through my transitions on a much deeper level. I’m grieving in ways I couldn’t allow myself while in school — not if I wanted to graduate in the allotted time of my scholarship funding. How often do we suppress our individual pain to “keep on with the keeping on” for our careers? Our families? Our churches, Meetings for worship, or communal circles for faith or spirituality exploration? How hard is it for us to surrender, to fall apart so we can allow ourselves to become the change we want to see?
“…Contemplatively, and with compassion, You ask me to reach into my water jar. One by one, Jesus, you enable me to lift out the things that are a hindrance to my wholeness. I take each on to my heart. I hear You asking me, ‘Why is this so important to you?’ Like a murmur of a gentle stream I hear You calling, ‘Let go, let go, let go!’ I pray with each obstacle, tasting the bitterness and grief it has caused. Finally, I sit with my empty water jar. I hear you whisper, “You have become a space for God; Now there is hope. Now you are ready to be a channel of Life. You have given up your own agenda. There is nothing left but God.” - Macrina Wiederkehr
In my opinion, I had already addressed some of the areas loudly calling my attention, and thoroughly so. But as they resurface in the form of my undoing in my new environment, I realize yet again, I still need to let go, let go, let go.
So many of us constantly fill our lives with stuff to feel that it’s meaningful … or to fill in the empty space because it’s uncomfortable. I’ve gone on my fair share of retreats to find peace of mind — only to return and fall right back into the same patterns.
I know healing work is ongoing … intellectually. But it sure is a pain in the butt when I have to know it experientially and the result doesn’t feel like the vertical and linear growth I expected. Quite often I’ve been described as a wounded healer. Probably some of you reading have the same label. When I was ready to believe that writers are healers and that writers are changemakers, (or at least we could be) I accepted the moniker. However, I tend to want to quickly move past my woundedness so I can do do do and help help help.
Healing, real healing, doesn’t work that way. Rushing the healing process is also not helpful for anyone involved. It’s like realizing you’ve done the hard work of building a cocoon, you stayed in that dark place of creative incubation (what’s up fellow 12th House peeps! -iykyk) made your wings nice and strong to bust out a transformed version of yourself and you flew away … only to realize you carried some of your cocoon with you.
So, I’ve slowed down. I’ve pulled back more layers of the onion. I’ve let the floodgates open to clear the way for something new.
Perhaps there’s a new vision that wants to spring forth in many of us who cannot/do not want to return to the way things were pre-pandemic — even though there’s comfort in the known — even if that known is and has always been to the detriment of our health, healing, and growth.
There are new ways to be in this world. New melodies to walk our talk to. New words that rise up out of all the transformative work we make space for. New songs to sing that have the ability to stir souls and meet deep needs.
We must be willing to sing this new song.
Peace, Love, and Wellness,
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Available now: I’m a contributing writer to the latest edition of Illuminate — the only Bible study curriculum written by Friends (Quakers). Faith groups and communities all over the US and some in other countries will be using this study guide in December, January, and February. So can you! You can purchase a print or digital copy of Illuminate here: 1, 2 Corinthians; 1, 2 Thessalonians; The Early Church.
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Tales from the blog keepers
We create the patterns of our society through our choices and beliefs and practices. As such, the path to a future in which humans can be in an authentic and accountable peace with each other is fractal — we must be willing to practice authenticity and accountability at the small scale of ourselves and our lives.
Therapy doesn’t work without understanding, and the “extremely online” deserve to have their experiences taken seriously. Here’s why: Therapists Should Build a New Cultural Competence: ‘Onlineness’.
Muse of the month
photo credit: The School of the Spirit Ministry
Blerd’s the word
Okay, so I am NOT a fan of horror. Like nightmares for days and gotta listen to gospel music to go to sleep … so, yeah, not a fan. Funny thing is, The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my favorite Christmas movies. I like other Tim Burton films too, which is when I realized that while I don’t like the horror genre, I do like the gothic aesthetic — a lot. So when I heard that Jordan Peele and Henry Selick created a gothic comedy stop-motion film with a Black lead, Wendell & Wild — I may have to check this one out. The movie was set to be available on Netflix starting October 28th, so by the time this publishes it should already be out.