a four week writing course ~  ~ is helping me clarify and express my own faith and spiritual journey

Exercise 1.1:
Write down words that come to mind when you think of the word spirit or spiritual.

not he
not she
not it

more than

bone-deep mystery
unknown, unexplainable, underground, unlimited. uncontained

first inhale
the air
the wind
my breath
a gasp
of recognition
a whisper
a sigh
a knowing

sweet song, gentle hum, pounding heart


consuming fire
growing desire
creative expression
force of birth blood
tickle of intuition




Exercise 1.2:
How do you clear your mind and your life for writing and/or spiritual practices?

the first words that came were impossible. simply impossible with background music. and that led my jumbled “mind” that needs clearing, to cinderella and her fairy godmothers interaction. then my cluttered mind recognized the “fol-de-rol and fiddle dee dee and poppy-cock” that have been running through me. through my heart and life and core belief system. like seriously, on a cellular level i spend so much of my time like a “dreamer, dizzy in the noodle.”

i get lost in computer games. i stare into space. i watch ridiculous reality tv shows. and i am constantly tired. too tired to write. too tired to be spiritual. too tired to practice what i believe. now that is fiddley faddley foodle! i’ve listened to every version of this song on youtube over the last couple days and never imagined that i would be impacted by cinderella and her fairy godmother on my own spiritual journey.
Fairy Godmother: Well, the sensible people of this world will say Fol-de-rol and fiddle dee dee and fiddley faddley foddle all the wishes in the world are poppy cock and twoddle. (Don’t even think you can write Anne. You don’t have anything to say. Who will listen?)
Cinderella: Aren’t they?
Fairy Godmother: Not always. The sensible people will also say Fol-de-rol and fiddle dee dee and fiddley faddley foodle all the dreamers in the world are dizzy in the noodle. (Are you serious? you think you can write?)
Cinderella: And aren’t they?
Fairy Godmother: Not always
Cinderella: Oh, dear Fairy Godmother it all seems so impossible!!
Fairy Godmother: Impossible for a plain yellow pumpkin to become a golden carriage. Impossible for a plain country bumpkin and a prince to join in marriage. And four white mice will never be four white horses. Such fol-de-rol and fiddle dee dee of courses. Impossible! But the world is full of zanies and fools who don’t believe in sensible rules and won’t believe what sensible people say.. and because these daft and dewey eyed dopes keep building up impossible hopes impossible things are happening every day!
Cinderella: Impossible!
Fairy Godmother:Impossible!

life feels impossible, simply impossible to me right now. i quite my job in ministry. i don’t know if i have medical insurance. i am caring for my mother who recently had a stroke (and is physically able, but cognitively slipping away with dementia) in some ways i am her brain searching for her heart as she navigates her life. my husband is blind and i am in some ways, his eyes ~ always on the lookout for a pot hole or a curb, ordering and fixing and keeping things in place.

i have too much to do, i feel overwhelmed, overworked, over-meditated, over-educated and find it difficult to make space for a long bath, let alone a walk or time to write or create or be with friends. this long litany sounds so “poor me” and not too different than cinderella cleaning the fireplace, with her head hung low, watching everyone else head off to the ball while she could only see a plain yellow pumpkin and a pair of mice.

this is the curious thing though: it isn’t the prince that “saves” her. it isnt even the fairy godmother, although she is a brilliant witness and spiritual director. it is her very own self-awareness, her willingness to see things differently, to step out and into the glass slipper and onto the plain yellow pumpkin.

writing clears my mind. ahah! lightbulb moment. it is so easy to put off, to not trust, to disbelieve, to doubt. especially when i am sitting in the ashes or playing computer games….

but when i write, a way is made clear.

my mind becomes clear. this is cracking me up!!!

IT’S POSSIBLE. in every way.

Exercise 1.3:

What rituals – subtle or obvious – are involved that allow you to clear space?


turn on the furnace, prepare tea tray, switch on the kettle, warm milk, light candle, settle into the predawn hour.

ponder, think, consider

ritual done by rote. morning time often is automatic. it sometimes is done unthinkingly and mindlessly.

but what does it mean? why have ritual if only for show and tell?

some ritual can be breathtakingly beautiful, filled with lovely, gentle music that sounds impressive and provides an external environment for creative expression. ritual can be easier to write about and describe what it looks like than it is to enter into the experience or the felt sense of ritual.

when i allow myself to drop down, to sink into the meaning and purpose and sacredness of ritual, it draws me inward, into the place of tears and tenderness, emotion and regrets, into a place of connection and memory and meaning. a place to slow down, rest into a word or a phrase or a place or a choice. this word works. this word doesn’t work. here is the heart of creation. of crafting a string of words to be knit, to sew, to weave together to unleash, to wick my heart’s desire.

the light of a candle in the early morning darkness

the ritual of a tea tray is nourishment, warmth, comfort

the song of a gong draws me to wait. wait for the beginning, the middle. the ending of sound. let it linger.

bare forsythia branches
budding on the mantle
placed each january
36 years
a reminder
anticipation of my first born
a birth celebration