Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Gems Within

I started this blog as the result of a prayer saying, “Lord, I need something new in my life.”  Almost immediately, these words echoed in my head:  “Think about writing a blog.”  It struck me that this was a seamless way to ease back into freelance writing, something I’d put on the shelf in the 1980’s.

But right away, doubts assailed me.  So I got out paper and pen started jotting down ideas to see if there was enough raw material swirling about in my brain to make this fly.  In 15 minutes, I filled a whole page and thought, “Okay, I can do this.”

The next day, instead of watching the noon news, I flipped through my PBS channels and happened upon Great Conversations featuring Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) talking about the process of writing.  Two ideas jumped out at me which I summarize from memory:

  • If you don’t write it, you may have the unpleasant experience of seeing your idea show up in print by someone else and think, “That should have been me.”
  • She had observed an intelligence or spirit in the universe that wants expression.  It may knock on your door and if you don’t let it in, it will move on to someone who will respond.

I’d had the first experience writing a set of phonics readers. I ran into serious publishing obstacles, put it on the shelf and, over time, saw other similar programs appear in print. Aargh!

I’d experienced the second, while my daycare kiddies napped, when a sudden burst of inspiration literally picked me up off my sofa and parked me in front of my typewriter.  I poured out my attempts to fully participate in my church programs in spite of being a struggling divorced mother.  The article literally wrote itself and was published later that year in our LDS magazine, The Ensign (“When You’re Mom and Dad,” April 1985).  Evidently, the Lord wanted this message told and I’m sure that if I hadn’t responded to the call, He would have moved right on to someone else.  What a great experience, both humbling and exciting.

Then I meditated on how our wonderful earth pushes up small miracles from God’s physical creation and remembered an abandoned rose quartz quarry in New Hampshire.  A friend and I had bumped up a neglected dirt road to find the biggest and loveliest rock as a house-warming present for her boyfriend’s new yurt.  It sat on his front step catching the light and welcoming visitors with a soft, shimmering, and mysterious rose light.

Rose Quartz  Courtesy R.Weller/Cochise College

Rose Quartz
Courtesy R.Weller/Cochise College

I wondered what geological processes created this lovely rock, what minerals caused its unique pink color, and what feelings it would evoke in visitors to Bill’s new home.  When I write, my current thoughts are illuminated by sudden flashes of memory, forgotten layers in my soul. They recombine in an exciting new form, trailing insights in their wake, glittering like gems.  I feel another consciousness also participating in this process.  It’s a thrilling partnership, equaled only by someone telling me they’re affected by my writing.

What is pushing up in you, wanting expression?  No one else can exactly create what is unique in you, so start digging out your own gems of creativity!

Climbing Out of The Well

On a recent Monday, I saw the sun finally come out full force after a winter with lots of gray. With fresh vision, I saw new life popping out all around:  forsythia, daffodils, pansies, and early blooming trees. It was breath-taking.

I spent this last winter in an emotional gray zone:  inventorying my successes and failures, my joys and sorrows.  I thought I’d already plowed this ground thoroughly but a new round of self-reproach and grief washed over me.  It had been over 40 years since I was divorced and still hadn’t met Mr. Right #2. It seemed like such a waste, for me and for my two children. Wanting to imitate all these spring seeds and bulbs, I saw I needed to break out of the shell of old habits, doubt, and self-pity to enlarge my life and find new adventures, with or without Mr. Right.

The previous weekend when I was at a particularly low point, I prayed fervently for guidance.  A talk from the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday gave me a partial answer.  One of our women leaders spoke about how overwhelmed she had felt as the mother of four young children.  The counsel she received from one of her leaders was to focus on the essential things first and let some less important tasks take a back seat.  Those essentials included daily prayer and scripture study, alone and with her family, plus weekly family home evening.

As I listened, I realized my essentials were daily spiritual practice, launching my writing, and regular exercise, but they often took a back seat to lesser things.  That Monday was The First Day of the Rest of My Life – I switched my routine housework to the afternoon and spent the morning writing. Then off to work out, coming home with muscles singing the Hallelujah Chorus to tackle housework.  My to-do list was completed before my energy faded – hooray! I felt I was back on track and God had rewarded my two A’s:  Asking and Action. 

Up popped a lovely memory this morning:  the well by my “little red house” in New Hampshire.  It wasn’t deep and would go dry every fall.  In spite of leaves in the bottom and a friendly frog swimming in it, the water always tested clean and drinkable plus it tasted of the wild landscape all around – a wonderful, bubbly miracle of nature.  I had the idea that I should climb down a ladder to the bottom during one of those dry spells and dig out those old leaves so it would be even cleaner.  My friend Pam came over with a ladder and she hauled bucket after bucket of leaves and sludge up as I filled them.  After a while I came to realize that I could dig forever and all I’d do was find more dirt – all the way to China!

Lesson learned:  Once you find yourself in a hole, quit digging, and climb out.  Nature takes care of cleaning the water if the well is properly sited and dug in the first place – after that we humans can’t improve on it.

Corollary lesson:  If you filter your sorrows and regrets properly as you go, you don’t need to revisit them.  They’re healed and forgiven with God’s grace.  The result is a return of joy just like my well filled to overflowing again every December.  A favorite scripture comes to mind:

Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.  (Isaiah 12:3)

May you sort out your essentials and find joy in the journey this spring!

New Life in the Shadow of the Old

New Life in the Shadow of the Old