Friday, December 21, 2012

Waiting-to-totally-surrender purgatory

Listen to this post:

A January-7 deadline approaches and I noodle notes here and there: on my studio chalkboard, a scrap of paper, my laptop. Can’t find the focused time I need right now to hunker down and write the grant and that seems all right.

Underneath, there’s a sense that things will fall into place as and when they should. There’s time for the busyness, it tells me, later. Right now, I need to sit with the larger question than meeting a deadline. Can I do the projects that align with the funding? Will I have the personal energy, the volunteers and enthusiasm of others? This is clearly not a solitary endeavor, even though it seems so in this moment.

I’m wary of completely giving myself away to projects that will obviously companion and deepen Artsy Fartsy*. I stand at an all-too-familiar crossroads. I have given myself away countless times before. Is this one of those times or is it really where God is leading me? Could my surrender be to let go of the pretense of a livelihood and live my passion sans a paycheck? I struggle here. Earning my own way is so intrinsic to who I have been.

More simply, deeply and profoundly for me is that taking care of myself, independently, is all I’ve known. It’s a locked pattern, trapped in my psyche. Perhaps mistakenly, I’ve thought my task was to ask for help, human help.

I had a wide opening Wednesday during my monthly shamanic-counseling session. Insight into where, why and how I have been wounded. It’s almost too much to discuss yet. Generally, I was hurt and left alone to tend to the wound, then never given the opportunity to talk about it. Alone, alone, alone. That’s where I always seem to be.

Until I remember I’m not. This sucking up that I do whenever there is something that I [think I] have to do myself, which is most of the time, is so wrongfully inherent. I’ve been surrendering to God half-assed. Saying yes, but still feeling responsible and trying to control aspects. Surrendering some aspects is not surrender.

So how do I let this rip, I mean really rip? Like the way I felt a layer melt off Wednesday through breath work. I feel apart right now, like I’m living somewhere in between. Some kind of waiting-to-totally-surrender purgatory because I don’t know the next step.

I keep getting the message to pursue my passion and the paycheck will follow. Not sure what that means, but, I believe, it includes carefully discerning what is mine to do and what is not … not just doing because I have or can.

So through the holidays, the celebration of Jesus’ being in the world and anticipation of the clean slate of a new year, I will wait and see what settles and where I can surrender fully.

• How have I only half surrendered?
• What will it take for me to fully surrender?
• What’s holding me back?
• What patterns must I break?
• What is my prayer right now?

go it alone,

it has

 I crave
the solitude

don’t want
to be crowded
or smothered

and then,
I wonder
why I’m
always the one

to get things

I forget
that I can

to God

my prayer:
please, teach
me how

*an arts-exploration for at-risk kids I offer in my studio and for which I have received a Clarence and Lilly Pickett Endowment, a Good News Associates grant and one from the Clermont County Mental health and Recovery Board


  1. Your post resonated with me - I know those feelings! Unfortunately, I don't have answers for you, but you already know that only God can give you those. Like you, I've learned so far that everyone has a different role and it doesn't do to want to follow someone else's path or be like someone else's life. God made each of us unique. Also, everyone has to learn to be alone with God. All the great Bible characters found their way by following God, not social norms or popular opinion.

    The conflict one feels in finding direction in life is because God's definition of "success" doesn't match society's. Christmas is a perfect example of that. If you were responsible for designing and implementing a project that would have a savior come to the world, would you attempt this using the son of a carpenter of a minor tribe in a remote corner of the Roman empire at a time in history when there was no mass communication? What a dumb plan!...and yet...

  2. I was hoping to hear from you, Colin ... I just knew you'd get this. I appreciate the reminder of Biblical characters not always finding it easy to follow God, but, especially, your idea of a "dumb" plan and yet ... made me smile. Merry Christmas!