I’m newly aware that I have baggage within me about my last book, A Companionable Way: the Path of Devotion in Conscious Love. (Cascade, 2016).
Two sensations accompany all that I’ve written: deep satisfaction, and tender vulnerability. Self-affirming pride dancing with overwhelming inadequacy.
Intellectual curiosities, passions, pursuits never take the form on paper that they do in a book form. It’s an assumption that they should but one never possible. I’m most proud of my tenacity, my willingness to stay with my own spiritual passions-wisdom long enough to get them into book form. Once there, however, they never express the way I felt them, feel them. Pair this with the reality that once the book “is done,” it has a life of its own. It’s yours, but no longer remotely in your control. So…I love how I think, how I feel deeply, how I’ve written into the leading-edges of my own experience in forms that ‘re-form’ being theological in the public sense. Theo-poetics is the term that found me. An emergent form familiar with theological disciplines yet reshaping them toward new horizons.
Part of the ambivalence with my last book is that the community that held space for it to come to life never really seemed to receive it, or me, with affirmation. I remember setting up a possible book-signing/celebration with the community (in Cincy, at the time), but something arose in the scheduling process—a conflict, or I got cold feet or… I honestly don’t remember. It’s highly probable that I feared no one would come, so I cancelled it. At some level, I sit with the sensation that no one liked my baby. It took years of effort-trust-risk, and no one really thought it was beautiful except me. (Which isn't true, but...).
That’s the dominant storyline, underneath the pride of having been faithful to the task of writing it. I can be proud of effort, but I can’t stop looking outward for specific others’ affirmation and approval.
Then a Fire&Water friend wanted to know how one of my stories ended. “Do you tell that story in your book?” she asked. I do, actually. She smiled. Later she said her copy had arrived. My story pinched. Ouch.
She is mirroring a different story, one that instigates this awareness of baggage to be released: “Spirit wrote this book through you,” she said. “You surrendered. I can tell.”
I startled at her words. I felt a little light peek into my old story. I did surrender. I remember it clearly, when I was at the end of my rope and had nothing, not even a knot. In tears, I let go.
And the book structure appeared in an afternoon. The whole draft was done in two weeks. I pushed ‘send’ a month later, companioned by my spirit-friend who had been a part of the entire journey.
If it’s Spirit’s book, then, what have I to fear, or grieve? What freedom awaits me now, letting whatever I write be Spirit's business more than my own?