It has been said, and I’ve come to believe this as a truth, that writing for an author is as much as anything else, a process of self-discovery, that one of the things that happen necessarily, in the process of writing, actually writing is that I see myself, I look into my own soul, I recognize things about my own life patterns, history, my moments, I learned me as I write. And I’ve been asked a few times, including last night at the book release party for Sacred Strides. What are the things that I learned about myself in the process of writing Sacred Strides? And I think there are three there; there’s more, some logistical stuff. But internally, when it comes to my soul, there are three things that I’ve come to over the course of writing this project. And the first one is this, I really do prefer and want to live a smaller life, not just to live the same life at a slower pace; I want my life to get smaller. And here’s some of what I mean by that. There are relationships in my life, institutional and interpersonal relationships, that I had thought for many, many years were more central than they actually are. And I’ve thought they were healthier as more central relationships than they really are. They’re not bad. They’re not bad places. They’re not bad relationships, and they are not bad people. They’re not bad institutions. They just can’t be central. One, because there’s only so much of me. And I can only give so much of myself. While I have time on the planet. And associated with that. I want to give the best of me, to the things, to the relationships, to the institutions, to the projects that I actually give myself to. I want to be more fully present.
When I am present, institutionally, vocationally, and personally, that comes with being pickier about where I’m actually giving myself away. And when I’m applying myself to where I’m present, I need fewer central relationships; I look at the model of Jesus, who certainly had the masses around him, certainly had even the 72, who were more regular round and even had the 12. But within the 12, there were really two; I want my life to get smaller so that I can be more fully present in the life I’m living. That’s the first thing I’ve come to, and come to recognize and appreciate and want in the process of writing sacred strides. The second thing is kind of a sad realization, which is that a lot of the agencies, ideologies, institutions, platforms, the environments that I put myself in are not neutral. They have their own agendas. And in those agendas, they’re things that are wanted of me that I don’t want to give. In other words, I am regularly being acted upon. When I give myself over to institutional settings, to online platforms, to communal settings, that’s when I am placed with other people, and I’m actually inserting myself into a sort of tidal movement of agenda of interest of desire. And while that’s not a bad thing, I have acted as if my environments, institutional and otherwise, have been neutral, and they’re simply not. You can probably see some of the connection to the first learning curve about the smaller life. Some of why I feel the things I feel some of why I fight some of the battles internally I fight is because over the course of many years, my soul has been acted upon by agendas that I did not know I was participating in. I wasn’t paying attention. I wasn’t listening. I thought I was just somewhere in space, and I wasn’t. I was in Tides. I was in flow with agendas and ideologies that weren’t always good for my soul, my relationships, and my career. The third thing I can say without question is that I have come to. I’ve learned I’ve agreed in the process of writing this book how absolutely wonderful it is to be a dad. And I don’t mean that in just this sort of sentimental Hallmark card way. I mean that The deeper I get in the discovery and understanding of who I am at the core of myself as a beloved one of God’s, the more being a dad to my kids and even a kind of dad figure to kids that aren’t exactly mine becomes a favorite place. And a really, really clear place to practice my own belovedness. And to extend that belovedness, there is a kind of archetypal experience to fatherhood, that as much as I might try to tell you what it’s like to be a dad, you really can’t compare it to something else being a parent in general, for me, being a dad, you can’t compare it to being a coach, you can’t compare it to being a teacher, those are things that you would compare to being a parent, it is an archetypal experience, there’s nothing quite like being a parent, apologies to dog parents.
But now this experience of being aces dad, of being Kaitland stab, of being a father figure to neighborhood kids, and the sons and the daughters of sisters and brothers of mine have unveiled and sharpened and clarified my own belovedness in ways that just I wouldn’t have said I wouldn’t have seen or even received really otherwise. And in the process of writing this book, I’ve been able to look at those relationships with a much deeper thankfulness that I get to be here, I get to be this person with foreign to these people. So those are the three things that I can think of off the top of my head that I know I have learned in the process of writing sacred strides. As you read the book, I’d love to hear from you about what it unveils in you, what it exposes in you about maybe some things in your own life that highlights or even down the road. Maybe after you’ve read the book and slowed down a tad, or pay more specific attention to certain aspects of your work life. I’d love to hear what it is you’re learning as well. This is why I do what I do publicly so that we can share these things and learn and grow together. Until next time.
Links For Justin:
NEW Single – Let Go
NEW Music – Sliver of Hope
NEW Music – The Dood and The Bird