No time like the Present

I suck at being future oriented—being not very ambitious or competitive.
I feel obligated to the past—giving just enough information and attention to honor it appropriately.
Which leaves me right where I am.
I have a gift for expanding the present moment.
Maybe I should consider Buddhism.

In my blessed blogging absence, there has been no shortage of LIFE HAPPENINGS. We bought a house. We lost a beloved pet. We moved to a new city.
And I did another production of Godspell.
Wherein I desperately attempted to stay present, but a combination of discomfort with the current experience and the overwhelming urge to REMEMBER kept pulling me into my memories.

And I knew I would soon be reflecting and preparing a place for new things to be born, because I wrote this, though never finished or posted it:

”I almost never NEED to write. But for this brand of thinking, I do.
It’s like my brain is reset to 1997. I am a theologian, a pastor, a biblical scholar, a seminary student. I think about religion by writing.
Now that I am a professor, I just talk talk talk. Smile

I find myself back in Godspell—like it’s a town I visited every Summer as a child. There is a faint nostalgia to the present moment. The veil so thin.

Graduate school gave and took many things from me. I gained wisdom and friends; I lost faith . . . and friends.

The greatest gift was hearing the words of Jesus through my friend Johnny.
The gentlest dissenter, the kindest challenger.
No one dares compare a living ordinary human to the Christ.
But that’s what Jesus was. And I heard the New Testament like never before and felt the forging of community—transformation—and fire.

A couple short years and Johnny would be gone. First back home for awhile to California, and then strangely absent from this Earth with no explanation that could ease grieving hearts. He was my congregational studies partner and he was the best conversationalist.

I had the honor of helping to lead the seminary’s memorial for him. I still had our coat rack, his jacket and cane from All for the Best. I used it in the worship design. If I had known how powerfully that would haunt me . . . “

johnny and me

 

I now find myself quite contentedly back in the Present, but WONDERING, which is dangerously close to my unfamiliar territory . . . the FUTURE.

Having missed a regular practice of purposeful thinking, I have turned to something formal-ish. Something even a little future oriented.
During my busy-busy, Jeffrey Davis presented the world with a visioning period of prompts and exercises, Quest. It wasn’t for me at the time, but I drank in other creative people’s time and devotion to their craft and lives like Gatorade after the big game. Now there is a new challenge, and enough free time and energy for me to accept it. Dare to Excel.

The words Dare and Excel both sort of give me hives, so it must be therapeutically necessary for me.

So I am just gonna expose the process right here, as I think and write.
Seems like a good enough place to begin the work, the re-centering and re-making of my life.

Before I received the first official email, I saw that the prompt was:

What burning question of possibility will influence what & how you create during the next 30 to 90 days?

FUTURE FUTURE
ABORT MISSION

Calm the hell down, Heidi.
Here were the first questions that came to my mind.
These were the personal questions that might inspire the greater vision and outcomes of a more honed, project driven “burning question of possibility”–
for your amusement, consider these navel-gazing fear-based inquiries:

What if I consider acts of creation essential to my daily life?

What if I wasn’t cripplingly ashamed of my stories?

What if I turned a single thought from my head inside out each day?

What if I really am a writer? (Albeit a wildly undisciplined, non-practicing one . . .)

What the snot am I going to do with that drivel?
Likely nothing.

So, I do what I always do. I unpack my directions. And I research.
And then I said, just write the question. For now. It can change.
Everything can.

What if we sought inspiration for daily acts of creativity in people’s personalities and experiences, in our relationships to one another?

Even still the question evolved. I was a trained minister– am a natural ritualist.
What I need to know is:
Is it possible to craft everyday some event, even a mundane task, in order to perceive the meaning in life that we crave?

crave

Churches are fading. People are still in spiritual starvation.
I am tired of feeling helpless—or only helping myself.

Onward, 2015

We will open the book.
Its pages are blank.
We are going to put words on them ourselves.
The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.
~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

I don’t have any words for 2014.
One would think in a year of such struggle and intensity,
I might have some desire to speak of its misery.
But there was enough light.
Not enough to really see by,
but enough to maintain hope for a brighter year next.

Much has happened to me and around me.
My wish is for more creation, more say so,

more stories that I author for myself.

chrysalis, out of time

It is cool and crisp.
But also clear and bright.

butterfly
It feels like “my time” – September or October.
But it is July. And even I am not ready for Summer to end.
Just the same this weather and the energy it brings me, are welcome.

This last year so much has been lost and gained.
Ups and downs.
A liquid brimming—and then the vessel emptied.
Over and over.
It is filled and spilled by waves of unexpected and extreme sizes—both enormous and imperceptably small.
My brain can’t decide which parts of life to “reset” or transform first,
so I force my body to STOP.
To listen.
To not receive words, but a sensation-al sign of what direction to move.

For the next brief period—and hour, maybe two—there is no to-do list.
No test message to return or call to answer.
Just a candle and an open window.

because I am so moved . . .

moved as in motivated, not emotional.
Let’s not get crazy. It’s rare enough that I feel compelled to write.
I certainly shall not be having emotions while doing so.

At any rate, I composed an essay while my head was upside down over my tiny bathtub during my miraculous hair washing. Miraculous because it is only due to an ice storm that I had time to bathe—for the first time in 3 days.
Ridiculous. But we Americans are overly concerned with hygiene anyway, so let’s call it an experiment, or water conservation. Anything other than just-plain-dirty.

That essay, now flushed from my brain, rinsed down the pipes with the grime, will not be making any sort of appearance. But I am attempting to get thoughts out of my head more often. I’m an only child and a pretty serious introvert who is obsessed with knowledge and well practiced in observation, so lots of words get stuck up there. Sometimes my brain feels like a fountain recycling its own water, or a plane cabin full of stale air. So, it is time to drain or depressurize, whichever metaphor you prefer.

I have always hesitated to call myself a writer, mostly because I feel that title relates to someone who puts words into form with some regularity. I am a composer of verbage, but nearly never put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. I put words together inside my head carefully because there was a time when I did not speak out loud anything that wasn’t properly rehearsed mentally first. I appear well spoken as an adult only because I have scripts. For every situation. And finally after 38 years on the planet I am comfortable altering or abandoning them, but they have given me a good foundation and some confidence ultimately. That said, I spent most of my time with other humans in observer mode for the better part of 20 years, so even now my talk and writing style is more reporter than poet. *shrugs*

My creative expression has always existed in other outlets—painting, acting, design, photography. And when I am not involved in an artistic pursuit my word flow gets even more clogged.

So, I haven’t taken a picture in weeks. It’s cold and wintry and I have been working so much. Even my Instagram is sadly lacking. I have had to cut back on traveling and doing theatre for awhile. I haven’t painted or collaged in so long. The house is such a mess that I can’t bear to make more messes. Especially ones I would probably only half clean up with this nutty schedule.

So.
I am carrying a notebook. And taking a writing class online.

my 70 hour work week

Sounds thrilling, no?
I am a part time professor. 30 hours.

And in this season, I do people’s taxes.
It is my way of justifying what might otherwise be frivolous spending on trips to New York City and Disneyworld.

But in the absence of a manager at one office, I am working 40 hour weeks at my “part time” gig.

Needless to say, I am too tired and lazy to write more than one blog post in a day. So yea, visit The Mountain Spirit blog. Winking smile

before the snow came

IMG_8163

I took this photo on the road home.

I was on holiday in Virginia at my in-laws.

I had an epiphany when the power was out and I couldn’t see to record it in any way. It flowed over my regular thoughts like a waterfall and is now six states of mind down the river of enlightenment.

At least I had a good excuse. That time.