THE WANDERING, WAYWARD DAUGHTER: A MEMOIR, OF SORTS

I keep talking about and focusing on how long it had been since I sat proper and did a bible study in my trusty Life Application Study Bible (New Living Translation). Perhaps I am trying to level myself lest my head get too big (which is ridiculous). Or perhaps I am attempting to differentiate myself from others that I deem more godly than I (which is also ridiculous). Either way and for whatever reason, it is something that I do.

I focus on the time I spent separated from the bible version of God’s word and the pursuit of Him in a Christian sense. Which means I ignore all the other ways I’ve found God these past two and a half years in the pursuit of a meditation practice, yoga, healing herbs and teas, the energy in a beautiful crystal, good food and wine, hiking in nature, and the study of the religiously-neutral, spiritual, indescribable yet palpable energy that connects every and any thing.

In those two and a half years, I became a member of the People’s Church of Necessity, a phrase I use to represent God’s uncanny way of placing you in situations that seem so. wrong. amongst people that are too. different. (read: hedonists and nihilists and heathens) in order to heal you. Through the healing, God is dismantling your ego* brick by brick until all you see around you is rubble. Then slowly but surely, God shines Its light upon one brick at a time and you find yourself elbows deep in the dirt building and building. And one day, the rubble is gone and around you is a beautiful Home to dance, sing, play, and rejoice in.

* It is the ego that keeps us separate from God and others. Because it is the ego that drives our desire to be a Special Snowflake and the ego that drives our fear that we are Too Much/Alone/Different/Weird/Needy/etc.

I also came to understand how insignificant our human concept of time is to God. In Psalm 90:4 we read, “For a thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.” A thousand years is a day. Can you imagine? I sure can’t. And that’s exactly why I take upon my heart the largely inaccurate persona of the Wandering, Wayward Daughter.

When I read or hear the Word—in any text or conversation which was inspired by Divinity— and it rings as Truth, I see my thoughts for what they are: a (needless, unnecessary, ungodly) shame cycle meant to feed my ego and keep me separate from God.

But when I read Psalm 107:2, “Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out!,” I am reminded of all my conversations with the heathens and nihilists and hedonists in which I would start clapping like a giddy child while pouring out Truth after Truth after Truth of our Grand and Loving Creator of the Universe.

And when I read Jeremiah 31:12, “They will be radiant because of the Lord’s good gifts,” I am reminded of all the times I left yoga, glowing in said radiance, with a desire to only eat foods that would nourish me, and have conversations that uplifted others, and be kind and gracious to my neighbors.

And even when I read, “Happiness is the lost paradise. Humans have worked so hard to reach this point, and this is part of the evolution of the mind. […] Moses called it the Promised Land, Buddha called it Nirvana, Jesus called it Heaven, and the Toltecs call it a New Dream,” in Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements, I smile knowingly because I know that the God of Everything is, and has always been, in everything that truthfully brings us closer to Joy. No matter what you call it.

And just like that, the shame cycle is finished.

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CAPITAL L

We are connected more than ever, but what exactly is it that we are connected to?

If you say that it is to each other, I dare say you’re mistaken.

Yes, we might know more people in a numerical sense, but do we really know them?

To know someone is to feel the heft of their soul in your hands as they articulate feelings and thoughts without words.

To know someone is to reciprocally share humanity and divinity in such a palpable way that you walk away from your interaction with your heart having grown in size.

To know someone is to feel the trueness of Love in your soul and to feel compelled to give that Love away to someone else because you are so full that you are spilling out.

So you pause your music, take out your ear buds, and walk across the kitchen to give the most present hug you’ve ever given to your mother.

And because you are so connected to Love, you gently tell her to ease out of the urge to pull away from the sudden confrontation of Love and Oneness with another person, and when you feel her melt into the hug, knowing you’ve delivered the right dose of Love, you give her a squeeze and head into the den to where your father is.

And you do the same for him.

And because your heart is a writer and you heal with your words, you open your laptop back up and pour some more Love out through your fingers to the rest of the world.

And then, because you’ve been so pried open, you cry the sweetest of tears where the bitterness of salt has no place.

ON DISPLAY

My shades are open and it is early evening. I am practically begging my row of neighbors — and the lone pigeon perched atop the corner of an adjacent building — to stare into my life. To watch GIRLS with me. To eat my garlic knots and drink my tea. To be the voyeurs we all secretly wish to be.

I would draw them but as I said, it is early in the evening. Which means the sun is going down. Which means that the beautiful view of the city that I have out of my right window is filling up with purple clouds and sherbet sky and I am partaking in the age old ritual of saying goodbye to the day. Of marveling at how grand our tiny planet is when the sun leaves the northern hemisphere. Of turning clouds into stories and colors into words.

My shades are open in Brooklyn but the only person being voyeuristic is me.

“There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them.” ― Jo Walton

INSPIRED

I take vacations from my computer. I forget what it feels like for a few days and then slowly return. I open it up, and rest – my wrists cooled by aluminum – and run my fingertips over softened keys. I drum my nails on small black squares, relishing the moments before I figure out what I wish to say next.

Vacations are good for the soul. They help the brain slip into a relaxed state to live out of its purest self. And that, I have found, is when you should write.

Hemingway once said, “Write drunk; edit sober.” Perhaps he meant it literally, but I think him far more complex than that. Maybe, just maybe, Hemingway was urging us all to get so far deep into ourselves, so intoxicated by the subconscious, that it becomes all we can see, feel, or believe, for that moment. To push so fiercely against the boundaries of reality, that they break. To let our innermost essences guide our writing to depths so vast and great, we won’t dart up our eyes to read what we’ve written. Because in darting, we scare it.

To edit is to feed bread to the drunken stomach. It sops up the essence like tasty vinaigrette and feeds it to the conscious mind. And then it is gone – bread, vinaigrette, essence – all of it. Gone.

Hemingway knows well because he – like we – has lost many times. Overcome by the cockiness and arrogance that hits you like the second current after a brilliant idea, he sought to relive the moment. The journey. The feeling. But the subconscious tolerates no man’s ego. And so, like oil-soaked bread, it dissolves.

He urges to instead let the mind wander. To let your inhibitions fall away. To get drunk on ideas and notions, possibilities and stories. To let your hand go mad. To birth the story until its fast approaching end. Until the drunkenness fades.

And at its end, you will know. For the clock will tick louder. The lights will suddenly awake. Your hand will slow. Your purest self will retreat. And then, only then, once the rolling boil lulls, should your eyes wander to the top to relive the experience.

And then, you edit.

ON PENS AND BLANK PAGES AND NONSENSICAL MUSINGS

Inspiration is a funny thing.

I often feel without it for days, weeks, months even. I can’t seem to articulate my thoughts into concise, sassy, witty blog posts. I can’t journal because I don’t feel like I have anything worthwhile to put in it. And nothing is worse than that.

It threatens to drive me to insanity.

I find myself in this place where I can’t formulate one creative thought. Where I can’t think, or breathe, or do anything with fire. With passion. With oh, I don’t know, joie de vivre.

And then I see the beautiful way a light, cotton curtain waves back and forth in a cool breeze and I dream of beautiful dresses and lunching in Paris.

And I see a little child and her daddy playing on the swings and I pray that one day, I’m blessed enough to bless a man with a daughter to play with outside.

And I feel love for a stranger because my God loves them. And I find new meaning in old lyrics and familiar melodies because of the Spirit that resides in my heart.

And I see flowers, and I hear songs, and I smell freshly baked bread. And bridges over water and bright lights over cities. And how it feels, smells, looks, to be young. And I feel overcome by this overwhelming desire to live. Truly, fully, passionately.

And then I realize, this is inspiration. This is creative thought. This is life, this is love, this is experience, and this is energy.

These feelings, these notions, these stumblings, these musings, these ramblings, are what make life, life. Equally creative in method yet common in occurrence, these struggles, these conflicts, this emptiness, this overflowing fullness. The juxtaposition and contrast, and the complements and compliments.

All of it, every single bit, beautiful, inspiring, life giving, and creative.

There is inspiration in everything because a divine Creator inspired everything. He blesses me with brilliant thoughts, even when I don’t have a pen handy. He shows me miraculous pictures, even when I don’t have a camera to capture them. He breathed in me life and shows me how to feel it, use it, live it, love it, give it, share it, and desire it, in and through and between these patterns of emptiness and fullness.

Laughter is inspired. Smiles are creative. Love is flowers and songs and freshly baked bread; daughters and daddies and days outside; bible verses and worship songs and questioning everything; tripping and stumbling and leaping and jumping.

Life is inspiration. Life is creative. And complicated, quizzical, nonsensical, lovely, and maddening. Interesting, dull, bleak, somber, jazzed, sequined and glamorous. Jumbled, mixed, and seamlessly perfectly imperfect.

RIDDLES

I am a bit of an oddball. I am currently sitting perched upon my bed (I should be outside), wearing half-calf grandpa socks and my glasses as a headband. I have accepted the fact that I will always be eccentric of sorts, that is just who I am I guess. But, that ideation isn’t enough for me. I want a definition, a concrete idea to rest my head upon. I want a digestible phrase or two to sum everything up.

But, the trouble lies in the fact that I am constantly shifting what defines me – my outward appearances and outward perceptions. I am never satisfied with any conclusion; I am always searching.

Even when I believe I have stumbled upon an answer, or two, I keep digging. I keep looking, prying, experimenting, and exploring. I am always searching.

I am not sure that I will ever be content with what I find. Or, that I will ever really find anything at all. While it is true that all of my questions lead to answers, those answers then lead to more questions, and those questions lead to frustrations.

At which point, I throw my hands up in the air discouraged that all my life ever will be is a series of questions.

I am a researcher, a philosopher of sorts. But perhaps a more appropriate way to phrase that would be, a perpetually discontented over-thinker. I am constantly in a state of flux, changing my mind, changing my self. Voicing all of those opinions so firmly and feverishly only to change again the next day, hour or even minute.

There are never answers with me, but I always want them.