Devotion to the Word: A 30 Day Commitment

Photo credit: Xlibber (Creative Commons)
Photo credit: Xlibber (Creative Commons)

The pain of not doing it is greater than the imagined pain of doing it.

At the beginning of 2014 I chose Devotion as my word of the year. I thought that devotion would look like intentional practices and new disciplines – praying, writing, ritual, etc. However, the first six months of the year turned out instead to be a whole life practice in devotion to my family. There have been devotional changes leading new disciplines regarding my body and my spiritual practices. I am eating much better, incorporated a yoga practice into my days and have small sacred rituals regularly. But otherwise this year has been about changing my life in order to nurture the family I desire for my youngest son and myself. I prepared to move to a new city, moved, and then adjusted to all the changes that came with the move.

Now that I am feeling settled into my life here – or as much as I can settle without my partner, a job and the home we will all share – I am feeling restless and recognizing that there is a devotional practice that I crave. It’s been missing from my life for a long while.

Writing.

I have fancied myself a writer since I was a teenager journalling daily and composing my first poems. Writing was my therapy and made me sane. It was also my primary form of creative expression. I went into college expecting writing to be a part of my career as a teacher. My favorite classes were those in which I could write with some freedom about the topics I desired. I continued writing poetry and essays through my 20’s and was published in every venue I queried.  I have a trunk half full of old magazines, journals and other writing spanning ages 18 to my 30’s. Unfortunately I’ve also lost large swaths of my writing on blogs that no longer exist. This is actually the sixth iteration of my blogging life.

All this to say that writing was a devotional practice most of my life.

Until a few years ago, when I entered a Dark Night of the Soul that went too deep and black for words. Between relationships that took me to the rock bottom of my addiction to emotional masochism and the onset of Fibromyalgia that took away my body and much of my brain capacity, writing was no longer a light in my darkness. Instead it was hard or impossible, and a potential weapon that could open the wounds I bore, making me bleed all over the page. The pregnancy and adoption only intensified the sense that I didn’t have the strength to bear looking at my big emotions in words. It occurs to me now that I feared a sort of emotional suicide if I opened myself up the way writing requires. It was hard enough to feel the weight of emotion in my heart and slowly process as much I could let into my mind as conscious thought over two years time. I couldn’t bring myself to analyze it more through the written word (or even talking to friends) and risk being overtaken by my emotions. My biggest fear is being emotionally out of control. That is what my crazy looks like.

Now I am in the light again. In fact, I am the lightest I have ever been. The psycho-spiritual and emotional evolution that took place in me during my darkest night purified my heart, mind and soul in ways I never expected. I am virtually free of the dysfunctional patterns that created my illusions of being unseen and unloved despite considerable evidence to the contrary. I am free of the angst and drama that I unconsciously nurtured in my relationships. Despite my frustrations with some of the circumstances of this slow transition for our family, my life is happy and healthy. I have strong relationships with open and kind communication. We navigate complex issues with ease. We don’t hurt each other. We are not perfect, but there are very few days of tension or irritability. Living together only increases our quality of life.

In this light I feel safe to put my experiences into words, as I began to in my previously inconsistent posts. I’ve been feeling a powerful urge to write and yet also powerful resistance, which is perfectly normal for the creative life, so I am being kind to myself about it. Yet I am also ready to change it. I am inspired by some recent exposure to other writers who challenged themselves to a public writing discipline. Writing to my community, whomever they may be at any given time, brings me great joy. It’s once of the most fulfilling things I can do with my time. It is where I flow. I am ready to bring the joy of writing into my life, no matter the dark places it may temporarily take me.

I am committing to 30 days of writing here on the blog. I may also write for myself, journaling or working on my book. But I will always share something here as a form of accountability. Some days may only be a few heart-full sentences or a more poetic exploration. Others may be 1000+ word ruminations. In the process I hope to find the fullness of my writing voice, not just sharing my own story, but also sharing my thoughts about topics that I am reading and thinking about.

p.s. From today I am also making a commitment as a blogger to only use images that I can attribute back to the artist, as I think it’s important that artists always receive recognition for their work and I need to be in integrity with that thought. Blindly sharing images without attribution is unkind to those who’ve put their time and their heart into creating it. 

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