Teaming up with one of my favorite writers, Emily P. Freeman, to talk about what I've learned this season. Seasons are my favorite way to measure the year (see #5 below), so I'm loving this.
This is the big one I've learned. All season long, and even since Advent, I've heard God telling me to just ask. Ask for what I want. Ask for the desires of your heart. Ask, ask, ask. At the risk of sounding demanding, ask. Heck, sound demanding. Sound arrogant. Risk it. God can take it from me.
I'm not good at it yet: my M.O. is to just be silent, to not bother. To deny what I need, what I want. I don't want to bother God with it. Plus, asking requires me to do the hard work of probing into my soul to find out what's going on there. It requires me to dig deep into myself. And most of the time, prayer is HARD because I can't find the words. I mostly want to feel my prayers, a la Anne of Green Gables. For a writer, for someone who expresses herself verbally, this is a difficult pill to swallow, but God tells me that the Holy Spirit perfectly communicates my prayers and needs, even though I cannot.
But the magic bullet? ASK. Every single day of my life, Jesus says to me, "Sara. Darling. Ask Me. ASK ME." So I'm learning to. Imperfectly, sure. And all my asking leads to my desperation and the knowledge that I Cannot -- and isn't that the point?
2. Silence is my soul's preferred volume.
I'm in the middle of Julia Cameron's twelve-week course The Artist's Way, and it is changing me. I highly recommend it. One of the best parts of it was Week Four, which was reading deprivation week. That not only meant no reading for a week -- it meant no feeding myself with words. For me, the hardest part of this was no podcasts. Podcasts are how I fill almost all my spare moments, so for the first couple of days it was hard. But after those first couple of days, I came to absolutely adore the silence, to relish it! I needed it. I need silence to process, to give my mind room to spin, to breathe. Silence is so refreshing. Since then, I've started to notice when I need silence. My brain is so active that sometimes it just needs to spin itself out, and what a gift it is to be able to notice that and give myself what I need.
3. I don't HAVE to be a musician.
A shocking realization, and one that's caused a bit of an existential crisis, but I have learned that I'm more than a musician. There are lots of dreams in my heart, lots of things I want to accomplish. And I don't HAVE to be a singer to be happy. I don't. There are lots of things I could do to be happy. This realization felt like the rug being pulled out from under me at first, but a few weeks out from it, I can see that it's a complete gift. Now that I don't have to be a musician, I can be myself -- completely myself. I can breathe a little bit and be everything I was meant to be, not just one thing. And what a joy. What a gift. May I never lose sight of that.
4. How to order checks.
File under: adult things I didn't know how to do but now I do.
5. I love spring.
I've written here before that God has been waking me up to the beauty of seasons. I've always loved autumn; this past winter looked particularly gorgeous to me. I didn't expect to be overwhelmed by spring in the way that I was. There's something about the tender green of early spring that speaks to my heart better than any eulogy or elegy (both words that I love). The waking up of the world around me, the new leaves on the trees, the delicate blossoms that feel like kindred spirits to me, like they're expressions of my own soul -- gosh, I love spring. I can't remember ever loving spring this much. I hope each and every season becomes more and more alive to me as my life spins around the finger of God, in threads of silver and gold.
6. Retail therapy is a real thing, and it is magical.
Part of my above-mentioned existential crisis has involved a lot of crying (like, A LOT), and I'm 100% okay with that, but eventually I need a little something to help me feel better. My mom is far away, and can't give me hugs, so I resorted to the next best thing: retail therapy. I bought lots of books, a couple of shirts I've been wanting, and three candles. Also this bag from Lindsay Letters, which made me so happy! It's basically me in bag form.
7. Praying the Hours.
I've never observed Lent before this year, but with my new observance of the liturgical calendar came my first foray into the Lenten season (how many times can I use the word "season" in one post?). There are three parts to the observance of Lent: fasting, prayer, and almsgiving/charity. For my prayer practice, I decided to start praying the Liturgy of the Hours, or the Divine Offices (whatever we want to call it). I bought Phyllis Tickle's The Divine Hours Pocket Edition, and I started praying as many of the Hours as I could. I don't always feel my prayers here, nor do I always WANT to observe the Hours, but I have to tell you, they have been absolutely healing for me. I cannot describe the ways they have been the balm to my heart when I needed it. It's a practice I've kept up since Lent. Like all my practices, I cannot keep it perfectly, nor do I. But it's been such a healing gift to me, and I'm forever grateful for them.
8. Your boss can be your friend, too.
Case in point: my boss Christina. She's not much older than I am, and during this season (there's that word again) of uncertainty and instability, she has been a confidante and true friend to me as we sit at the front desk and do our work. The ability to talk to her has been a gift. In fact, as I write, I'm noticing that most of the things I've learned have been gifts to me: gifts of healing and of grace. Joy to the world, with no irony at all.
9. I really just want to ride a bike.
As I've worked my way through The Artist's Way, one motif keeps coming up over and over again: my desire to ride a bike. My family and I live out in the country, and when we were little, my brothers and I would go on bike rides all the time (Mama and Daddy would walk behind). The desire to ride a bike again has come back to me now, with a desire to feel the wind in my face and in my hair and go flying down our hills. I don't own a bike, nor does anyone in my immediate family, but maybe this can be remedied soon.
10. MMA workouts are my jam.
I started doing Beachbody's Core de Force the day after Easter. It's an MMA-inspired workout program. I was nervous about it, having heard from many of my other Beachbody friends that it was super challenging. And y'all, it is. But OH MY LORD I AM OBSESSED. I would just do this workout program forever if I could. I love it I love it I love it. I don't know that it makes me want to go to boxing class, but this specific program is my soulmate program. It has all the heart eyes from me.
What about you? What did you learn this spring?