I give up.
I just spent 2 hours writing a lovely blog post about Guidance, following the leadings of our souls. I talked about the Quakers teaching me at age 13 that I could hear the voice of God, and how I believed them. But then I added a metaphor from my new project, Storm Journey Story Cards, about letting go of control when we are guided or sent by Love or the Spirit... how our preferences and panics get to fade back as we more deeply say "Yes."
I hoped it was a sweet little article that might be helpful. I always want so badly to be helpful, not sound stupid or schmaltzy. As I went to save the post, I must have swiped the wrong way on the laptop trackpad-- poof. Gone. Seriously, after the shock, brainstorming, and clicking the same thing 12 times, my lovely post was still gone.
My wife, Hol, left a respectful bit of silence and then said, "Well, maybe you could write about losing your blog post."
But I didn't want to write about surrender. I'm typing this at 11:58pm, not wanting to write about surrender.
Admittedly, smack in the middle of the Storm Journey story is the Surrender card. And actually, that's one of the key turning points where the impossible opens up.
[I just clicked the SAVE button for the third time so far writing this-- I don't like surrender. Or pivot moments. I like control.]
I've had the hardest time editing the conversation questions for the guide booklet page on that Surrender card! Of course I'm trying too hard... surrender is hard there too. And of course I can't possibly find the perfect question to make room for someone to be vulnerable and honest about that deepest dark moment of an anguish of admitting the plan is gone. And maybe the hope is gone. That lovely article is gone, my wife's health, or your future as you knew it, or your trust in government, or the house you grew up in, gone.
I hate typing this because truth bugs me when I'm still upset about that lovely article, and cancer, and climate change:
Then what? What's next is Surrender, the real kind. Bare truth "I can't fix this anymore," "I'm lost and scared," "I can't possibly start over" kind. The kind that's deeper than my words can go right now, but maybe you know what it is to lose this much-- that kind of surrender.
A couple of months ago I was completely lost, bereft of clarity or energy. I couldn't for the life of me hear the Guidance about what project was next, and I was scared. I went out to a special place to pray because I was angry and frightened and other times I'd had found better luck listening out there among the ancient rocks. But nothing came. And more nothing. Ok, plenty of anguish and a little bit of Sacred Presence, but the Guidance was gone.
In frustration, I gave up. Seriously, I decided to go home, to quit listening since it was gone. I even got dramatic and waved the yellow towel I was sitting on like it was a white flag.
I swear it, that Surrender art flew right in and I got it-- all in a flash--
Giving up put me smack in the middle of a story of hope.
Suddenly, I belonged again, in the very center of the Storm Journey vision I'd been given 9 years before, where real Surrender turns out to be a doorway to Insight. I wasn't actually lost or abandoned once I surrendered to the truth that I couldn't find my own way. Then I was open.
[Oh dang it, I'm crying as I type. Why doesn't God want to remember that I like control and not this much vulnerability?!]
The message flew in easily then, the Guidance was clear. I hope it doesn't sound cheesy, but it was time to reprint Storm Journey.
On my drive home, I understood another layer of why Storm Journey wants to be out in the world again. Truthful art, poetry, writing, and songs are ready to remind us that we belong in the stories of our lives. We most especially belong in the hardest parts, where surrender is a doorway with hope on the other side.
I'd tell you the rest of the story, but I don't want to wreck the surprise.
PS- If you'd like to take a chance that Storm Journey Story Cards will inspire you and spark conversation in your own heart and your community, please join the reprinting campaign and pre-order decks on Kickstarter. I'd appreciate your help to share this spiritual tool more widely.
Thank you to the 114 people who have already supported the campaign-- we're 83% funded as of tonight, with 7 days to go. THANK YOU!
[So. Whew. That's not what I expected to write. But in a fit of Guidance and shaky faith, I'm gonna trust this and post it. I offer my solidarity with whomever of you are in your own Surrender moments. Bless us all.]
And we're launched!! Please visit the Storm Journey Story Cards crowd-funding site on Kickstarter, to join the effort funding this printing project.
Watch my campaign video and read about this powerful conversation tool to help us talk about the hard things that matter.
If you like what you see and want to make a pledge, you're essentially pre-ordering your decks. And if we meet our goal, we'll be able to give them for the holidays.
Let's do this together. We belong in a story of hope!
UPDATE: Campaign success!
179 people helped raise $13,325 to get these new decks printed. Hurrah!! And THANK YOU!
Storm Journey Story Cards will be available in this website shop soon, around December 15.
Hurrah!! Finally, after two years out of print, the Storm Journey story is ready to go in a new deck format. With 26 Story Cards of art and text, and a Guide Booklet full of Conversation Questions, this is a resource made to spark meaningful interactions about the more difficult aspects of life.
The Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign starts soon, with your chance to support the printing process and pre-order your decks. Watch the campaign page here, and you can sign up to be notified the minute it launches.
I'm excited to offer this new tool, and hope it will be useful to help us move through struggle and into community.
It's quite a milestone: I've sold 1800 Listen For Joy Art & Wisdom Card Decks, and I just received the third printing of 1000 more. Wow! My inventory shelves are full again, and I love imagining all those cards and booklets inspiring people all across the country and the world.
It made sense to celebrate with a Second Edition for this latest printing. I wanted to incorporate a few tweaks to help new customers understand the purpose of the decks a little better. But don't worry-- the cards themselves are exactly the same! In fact, if you held the old and new decks side-by-side, the differences are small. I made some slight changes to the box cover titles, back-of-the-box words, and booklet text.
The most noticeable adjustment in this new edition is a shift in the order of the booklet sections. I switched "Out of Balance" and "In Balance" on the card theme pages. Simply put, each page now ends with the more positive "In Balance" paragraph. It's an uplifting difference that simply hadn't occurred to me when I first created the decks. If you already use the decks, you might try reading the sections in this new order to see how it feels to you.
Other than that, the images continue to inspire just as they are, and I've only changed a few words of the text here and there. Two and a half years ago, Christianne Squires of Bookwifery and I did some rather fine listening, writing, and editing that has stood the test of time. I'm still humbled and amazed by that whole process. Thank you, Christianne!
I hope you'll continue to recommend the decks to your friends and colleagues, and to give them as gifts as the occasions arise. Your support means the world to me, and it keeps these Art & Wisdom Cards moving out into the world to serve hearts, minds, and spirits. Thank you.
Watch for a new crowdfunding campaign coming soon-- it's time to reprint Storm Journey in a new Story Card / deck format! I'm excited about the change and timeliness of that story. Please sign up for my email newsletter list at the bottom of this website page (if you aren't already on the list) to be sure you get the latest news.
Thanks again, and blessings!