The Devotion in Discipline & The Discipline of Devotion
It’s time. My dear friend Pieter Van Winkle has started a practice. He is writing a song a day, posting them on the internet just moments after he puts the period after the last word of the last line. It’s brave. I have another friend, Sheila Foster, who has reverently plucked the Roman Catholic term “novena” (which refers to a series of prayers, devotional acts or services spoken/offered in nine consecutive days). Sheila invites women to craft unique practices based on their particular loves and devotions. She then guides them through the often ecstatic, definitely treacherous, terrain of this practice and maintains her own with a breathtaking dedication. I’m way behind both Pieter and Sheila. I’ve started devotional practices like this so many times and in my way, I’ve let them slide. Procrastination. Or so I thought. Clarissa Pinkola-Estes says there is no such thing as procrastination, only insecurity. She says we do not not finish something out of laziness. We let it slip away because we imagine ourselves to be insufficient for the task. "Who am I to be taking myself so seriously? To imagine that I ever have something to say that is important, poetic or meaningful, let alone on a daily basis?!" Oh my....as unbearably harsh as this internal messaging is, it resonates profoundly for me.
But even a lack of commitment borne out of insecurity, while understandable, is a dishonoring act. The things that move through me do not feel like they belong to me (the same way my children do not feel like they belong to me) and so therefore I don’t have a right to determine their fate (even though, of course we all do determine the fate of our creative offerings). But somehow, to decide whether they get offered or sequestered based on my sense of inadequacy is, ironically, an act of hubris.
As I sat at my kitchen table this morning and listened to Pieter’s novena offerings so far, listened to the poetry put to music, still raw, wet and barely unfurling, I felt myself being called into action. We can do this, humbly, stumbling, together. Inspired by his discipline and courage, I can offer my own words, prayers, poems, essays, into the world, with no expectation that they are ‘finished’ (whatever that means) and no expectation that anything will come of them other than that they have been made an offering of. Which, really, is my only task; that I not hold on to them in fear.
So, here is my very terrifying promise. I will make a daily offering here, in this blog aptly titled Making Love. In the way that is most uniquely mine to do, I will make love to the world by offering short conversations or thoughts. Poetry. Perhaps even a video offering. Maybe an essay. Each day will be a foray into the unknown. I will not censor it. I may be posting at 11:59pm some nights...way past my bedtime. But I will post daily.
And I will post with gratitude and love. Even as I write this I feel tears pooling in my throat and eyes. To be given the opportunity to have something to say is the most extraordinary gift. To have an opportunity to offer it up it is beyond measure.