Inside of you, and inside of every other one of us, there is a story gestating that is as big as the universe, and as mysterious, and as mind-blowing and as beautiful. And the amazing thing is that when we even begin to explore the narrative of this great story, we find that we are growing inside that story. – Margaret Silf
Every morning, my mom got up, got coffee, and sat in her chair – the one Meander has claimed as her own now, the one I brought here to be my reading/thinking chair. She took out her Bible, her journal, and whatever book she was reading, and she spent the first quiet part of her day – after Dad went to work – reading, thinking, praying, writing. She showed me that discipline early, and if I had to guess – although I never asked her – it was this practice that kept her grounded and steady even when cancer pounced back into her life.
It is a practice she taught me, and one I have let slip for at long time now. But this morning I went back to it, picked up my Bible, found a new journal, chose a book, and began. I read of Rahab and the red rope hung as a way to bring back the kindness and security promised to her. I wrote of guidance, and patience, and lack of focus. I read Silf’s words above and found – in a way that can only be described as miraculous because it happens every time – just what I needed.
I have lost the red rope that is my story. In the farm building and the wedding, in the book release and the business goals, I have lost me in little bits over time. Instead of hunkering down into myself – into the way that I am created to be doing all these good things – farming, and wedding and writing, and teaching – I have flung myself open too wide, scattering my core along with my seeds. I am too twisted up in worry.
I needed the quiet of this morning to see that. I expect you could probably use that quiet, too, because it is so easy to become woven into the ropes of other stories, to become tangled up in even good things and loose track of the single red rope we are asked to hang out.
For me, this return to myself means a few things:
- More quiet time walking and reading and writing by hand.
- More listening for direction and clarity on my path.
- Less energy devoted to trying all kinds of things instead of moving steadily on the path I see before me.
- More prayer.
For you, those things may be different. Perhaps you are not a religious person, so prayer does not suit. Perhaps you find clarity in a good run or a long swim. Maybe listening for you involves music or ice cream cones or quilting thread. Maybe yoga or meditation or chanting loosen the notes of ropes round your torso. My hope is that you live long and steady into the things that keep you whole and that you choose them again and again and again.
In practical ways, I will be choosing to do three things each day:
- Spend at least 30 minutes reading Scripture, meditating, and journaling.
- Take at least one 30 minute walk each day.
- Make intentional plans for my businesses instead of flinging myself at everything.
I am committing to these things for the next 30 days – from July 24 – August 24 – and I’d love for you to join me. Choose three things that will help you return to your story, and then commit to doing them for 30 days with me. Share your commitment in the comments below, and we’ll follow our red ropes of life together, even as our paths are different.
I wonder if Mom realized how very much she was teaching me about centeredness and quiet and listening on those mornings when she sat in her Wemberly Worries t-shirt and PJ pants. I expect she probably knew that the point was that she be true to herself and that all the rest would follow.
What brings you back to your story, the big mysterious one growing in you? What pulls you away?