I can't remember when I decided I wanted to write a book; the desire has been building for years. When I turned 30 I got serious about it and started blogging more regularly to remind myself that I could write. Last year I went so far as to hire a writing coach to help me sift through all my words to find my voice, and a thread of story that couldn't help but make itself known emerged more obviously than I expected. I outlined 10 chapters of ideas and notes and got to work. Then everything changed.
My husband and I quit our jobs and jumped, feet first, into unemployment with a road trip across America. With no destination in mind, we found an overwhelming sense of peace; we sought only rest and rested well for three months. We abandoned the road to sell one of our houses and most of our belongings and moved the rest of what we owned to another state, into our other house. But over the past seven months, as our journey has settled us into living creatively so we can pick up where we left off and hit the road again, we've found thicker knots to be undone - knots that had been making us sick. We administered the same medicine we've used for years: prayer, bible reading, worship singing; only we had become immune.
My words began to shift as my soul untethered itself. I redesigned my blog and suddenly the book I was writing was no longer the book I wanted to write. It sits among my files gathering pixelated dust.
It wasn't just that the structure of our lives changed, it's that our minds are actively changing and it has thrown us into permanent contemplation of everything we once knew and relied upon.
As my husband and I take turns tugging on the knots in our stomachs and our hearts, I found resolve in The Discovery Project. With steady breathing, I can finally say again, "I am writing a book."
The Discovery Project - an update, or, changing my mind isn't scary.
Hands down, the greatest thing about this project is the rebirth of my hunger to read. As I tugged at the knot and burned my fingers, too desperate to give up and too tired to care about the pain, I was no longer interested in learning how the knot came to be, I just wanted it undone. All the book recommendations being offered as a solve only offended me, "I don't need someone else's tricks and methods. I need my own. I need to hear my own voice, God's voice; it's the only one that will always be with me."
Needless to say, I've fallen deep in author love with Elizabeth Gilbert. After devouring BIG MAGIC, I dug out my copy of Eat Pray Love from the darkest corner of my bookshelf - the copy I bought at least a year ago and purposefully ignored - and finally cracked it open. When I purchased the book, I heard echoes of friend's perceptions and reviews when I tried to read it, so it'd always be returned to the shelf. Even then I think I knew this book would have a profound effect on me, and each time I picked it up and thumbed the pages I knew the timing wasn't right; I knew it would be an experience more than just a good book I read at some point in my life. And now it's riddled with highlighter. I resonate deeply with Gilbert's thought process, and not just because I'm trying to retrain my own, but because her words are simply my thoughts realized - they are the thoughts I've entertained silently from the day I decided to quit religion and seek God.
In the midst of The Discovery Project, I've found it hasn't just been my Christian friends and family who have concerns about this particular method - practicing visualizations and meditations - of discovering my personal beliefs. The Group Sessions have been scoffed at by almost every person I talk to for one reason or another. There is worry I'm becoming a follower of things too mystically spiritual, that I am "just taking someone else's word for it" and I'll attach myself to anything that isn't obvious Christianity because I want to separate myself so badly. I can only remain appreciative of the concern, but I wonder when those who know me so well forgot about my natural bent toward skepticism. And I wonder how my 35 years being Christian isn't measured the same - as a follower, a naïve believer, gullible for trusting someone else's experience and mimicking it in hopes of having my own similar experience.
I am a seeker, unbound by labels and definitions.
The seeking is what fills me; the longing a romantic relationship of mine that I ache for. Landing on answers has never been the point of my quest. With every year I age, things change, and I have to accept each leg of my journey as explorative and beneficial to the next. What I know today will only be added to with my continued learning tomorrow, so why stop? Why be satisfied with there being only one way, only one answer?
It's not about whether I wind up Christian or practicing yoga while being led by a spirit guide - or preferably, a spirit animal - everyone is going to wince at some form of my chosen path. It's not about everyone else though, it's about me and God. He has and will continue to reveal himself wherever I decide to earnestly seek.
So. I am writing a book about this very thing; my 10-week experience with The Discovery Project and where I find myself landing spiritually these days.