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.]
I'm giving thanks for a new business coach, a timely entrepreneurial grant, and great sales at an international Play Therapists' conference in Texas. I had no idea that a focus on business would be such fruitful spiritual practice.
More than ever, I want to share the gifts of art and wisdom I've been given. So this year I've worked extra hard to implement some new strategies to welcome more customers and expand my connections. You've likely seen the new website, but behind the scenes you haven't seen the new shipping application, social media classes, bookkeeping changeover to Quickbooks Online with a new chart of accounts, new shipping strategies for traveling sales, and extra inventory and shipping shelves in our garage. Each of these steps required flexibility, courage, and trust-- all qualities my soul has been wanting to practice, I guess!
But wait, there's more-- the Spirit isn't finished inviting me to make sales and goals into prayer and gratitude. My next projects to build my business spiritually and systemically include a cash flow analysis, integrating inventory systems with bookkeeping software, and adding a few new conference exhibitor events. Thank goodness I am working with some terrific teachers, like my coaches Julianna and Kris at WESST and Susie and Sammie at Checks and Balances For You.
Along the way, I've received some surprising affirmation and support. For example, the inventory/bookkeeping work has been supported by a generous Power Up matching grant, sponsored by Power New Mexico and administered by WESST. And I've made some fascinating new friends who like talking shop, literally. :-)
Thanks be for all of this amazing help and faith in my work!
I look forward to growing the ways I can serve, as I stretch my skills and spiritual imagination in the business world.