*8 Valuable Life Lessons

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?

8things from Magpie Girl
For this, you get an *8Things list:

1) Be dangerously compassionate.

2) Love people’s little folliables. (and hope they love yours!)

3) “As you go on your way of life, you will see a great chasm. Jump.” 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) “Live where you fear you cannot dwell. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.” Rumi

Bethany asks: How did you find your own ways of nurturing your daughters’ spirituality? As my two little girls grow, I find myself realizing that the only spiritual parenting technique I’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 – what works in real life.) Then I offer these things to the girls. Some of them stick, and some of them don’t.

Catie jives with me pretty well because we are both kind of mystic. Eden used to be like that too, but as she’s gotten older she’s become more pragmatic and scientific. (She often says, “Mommy, you and Cate are for all that God stuff, but me and Souren are for science. Well…I’m for a little God, but mostly science.”) 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 it’s morning prayers from a book; grace at dinner, and building shrines.

I think my biggest piece of advice here would be “get comfortable with failure.” Failure is such a positive thing. It shows you what you don’t need to do anymore. Failure and experimentation go hand in hand. Experiment a lot. You don’t have to commit to something and do it forever. Just try it. If it works, keep it. If it doesn’t I give you permission to leave it by the roadside. (I know you don’t need permission, but it helps sometimes, doesn’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 I’m 40 I’d like to be speaking to big groups of people in an environment that feels like home. Or, I’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 – I’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 too…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. That’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? I’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 seem…prudent. But those are the things love has offered to me these past years. When they come I’ve tried to embrace my puckish side, deny fear, and jump. It’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 — 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….!

Grow your gratitude. Live Satisfied. Join us on Facebook for our weekly *8things roundup.

Jilly Beans November 1, 2008 at 1:01 pm

How lucky your girls are! How lucky that Eden can say to her mom, a minister, that she is more science than God.

Monica November 2, 2008 at 7:39 pm

I love Bethany’s question. And your answer. And I can’t WAIT for the book. Yeah!!!! I’m a shrine and altar building kinda girl, but I don’t know anything about either of those things. My kids have loved so much of the alternative kinda stuff.

You will appreciate this (I think)….. a month or so ago I created a little space in the centre of our dining table for a basket full of blessings and a tray to hold the basket and any nature treasures the kids pick up while outside. At mealtimes I figured we’ll pull a prayer out of the basket. We painted watercolor backgrounds on the papers. I searched through one of my world and seasonal cookbooks for blessings and prayers from other lands. And wrote out the ones I liked. New ones mixed with some old. Well some of the prayers referred to Father Sun and Mother Earth. Or the Great Spirit. So my girls were LOVING these alternative (to Dear God) prayers and after a week or so of these kinda of prayers my husband says, “What’s with all these prayers that don’t have God in them?”

I was more than a little hurt. He’s more conservative than I and finds some of ‘this stuff’ to be too hocus pocusy for him. He tolerates it. But not always well. Although I feel kind of hurt sometimes, I come from a family where my mom is much more conservative than my dad. They were always very respectful and open about their differences of opinion. And I really think my brother and I benefited from being able to hold both views. I like to think that it’s given us the capacity to bridge ideas and ways of thinking. Looking for the similarities instead of the differences.

Anyway, the Godless prayers in our basket have become something we laugh and joke about and when one is chosen, the girls try to find the God part, making Dad feel a little better.

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