Hello readers! This is the second batch from my ask me a question experiment. Thanks for being here!
Josh asks: What are the life lessons that you have learned through your life experience that you hold as the most valuable?
For this, you get an *8Things list:
1) Be dangerously compassionate.
2) Love peopleâ€™s little folliables. (and hope they love yours!)
3) â€œAs you go on your way of life, you will see a great chasm. Jump.â€ Joseph Campbell
4) Do Less.
5) Follow your intuitive voice. It is wisdom.
6) Thinking before you speak is overrated.
7) Lean towards beauty.
8) â€œLive where you fear you cannot dwell. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.â€ Rumi
Bethany asks: How did you find your own ways of nurturing your daughtersâ€™ spirituality? As my two little girls grow, I find myself realizing that the only spiritual parenting technique Iâ€™ve ever seen was going through a devotional book together. However, you seem to be bursting with special and unique ways to help your children connect with God, and I would love to know the story of how that came about.
I started by creating art-based spiritual practices for the church I was pastoring at the time. When I left the official pastorate, I just transfered those passions and practices to my home.
Mostly I just do what I need, what intuitively sounds good to me: making shrines and building altars; celebrating things that happen seasonally and come around each year; writing prayers and liturgies that have a certain cadence and beauty to them; starting and stopping practices as the become or cease to be useful to me. (Praxis is key for me â€“ what works in real life.) Then I offer these things to the girls. Some of them stick, and some of them donâ€™t.
Catie jives with me pretty well because we are both kind of mystic. Eden used to be like that too, but as sheâ€™s gotten older she’s become more pragmatic and scientific. (She often says, â€œMommy, you and Cate are for all that God stuff, but me and Souren are for science. Wellâ€¦Iâ€™m for a little God, but mostly science.â€) So, I try to give Eden soulcare that has to do with physical realities: taking time to rest, conscious breathing, making lists of emotions. While with Caite itâ€™s morning prayers from a book; grace at dinner, and building shrines.
I think my biggest piece of advice here would be â€œget comfortable with failure.â€ Failure is such a positive thing. It shows you what you donâ€™t need to do anymore. Failure and experimentation go hand in hand. Experiment a lot. You donâ€™t have to commit to something and do it forever. Just try it. If it works, keep it. If it doesnâ€™t I give you permission to leave it by the roadside. (I know you donâ€™t need permission, but it helps sometimes, doesnâ€™t it?)
And speaking of soulcare for kids, Soulcrafting: 12 spiritual practices for soulful kids is this close to being done. Watch for a self-published version in the new year!
Shell asks: Do you have one major thing you like to do before you turn 40?
I was meant for the stage! By the time Iâ€™m 40 Iâ€™d like to be speaking to big groups of people in an environment that feels like home. Or, Iâ€™d like to produce a set of audio essays, or have a radio segment or something like that. Right now, making either of those a reality feels out of my hands. But I can control one way of getting onto a stage â€“ Iâ€™m learning how to play the guitar and hope to pluck out one decent song at an open mic for my 40th birthday.
Amy asks: What makes you feel loved? What have you found to be the most effective way to love others?
I feel most loved when someone seeks me out for conversation. Time is my love language. I like thoughtful little gifts tooâ€¦but again, not so much for the gift itself as for the idea that someone took the time to gather them and get them to me. I also feel loved when someone remembers: something I said to them, something we did together, something that is important to me. Ironically, I don’t feel like I am very good about remembering these thigns for others!
I think the most effective way to love others is to follow your impulse towards them. Thatâ€™s your intuitive voice of wisdom telling you what to do. I struggle sometimes to embrace this wisdom, because the older I get the more disreputable those impulses seem. They often require me to live counter-culturally. Examples? Iâ€™m a lot more transparent than most people would advise. I tell people what I dream about them. I keep in touch with my first crush because he is such a wise, dear soul. I adopt teenagers who talk to me on street corners. None of these seemâ€¦prudent. But those are the things love has offered to me these past years. When they come Iâ€™ve tried to embrace my puckish side, deny fear, and jump. Itâ€™s not been without pain, but I truly have no regrets. I keep choosing The Beast, and people get loved in the process.
Abbey of the Arts asks: One simple question â€” do you know, I mean really know deep down, how beautifully stunning you are?
LOL! No Christine, I totally do not! I can spot it in others, but not so much in myself. What’s that old saying? “The cobblers children have no shoes.”
Thanks for reading, commenting, and querying. Stay tuned for more Q’s with their A’s….!