While meeting with my spiritual director, she suggested I consider the questions, “What if?” In one of the workshops I teach, the “What if?” question is presented as a fear tactic artists sometimes use to procrastinate.
But in this instance, I was to think about the “What if?” as a possible direction, even a vision-making steppingstone. So I drove home, pulled out my journal and started listing the possibilities of “What if?” questions and answers.
- What if my current novel makes the New York Times bestseller list? What difference would that award make in my life? Could I handle the extra book tours, publicity requirements and the pressure to write another bestseller? Would I use it for good?
- What if I could visit Santa Fe at least once each year? What if I could own a vacation home there so I would always have a place to stay for a personal retreat?
- What if I could learn to live in the present every day so that everyone I meet feels the love and light of the Divine Three in me? What if I could become a better listener?
If I thought long enough on the subject, I could easily entangle myself in all the possibilities the “What if?” question might involve.
When we dig deep, some of our visions and dreams carry their own baggage. Change is not easy, and the transitions of life require us to change along with them.
Another point my spiritual director made was that I should “Listen to my heart.”
I just finished reading Julia Cameron’s latest book, The Listening Path. She describes how we can learn to listen to our hearts, but also to the sounds around us—even to the silence within us.
To dig deep requires that we listen carefully and consider what our souls are saying. One reason why I journal is to process my way through life, to tap into my inner conflicts for clues about how to clearly understand divine guidance.
Digging deep means we listen for that still, small voice that ushers us into the divine space. When we tiptoe into that soul sanctuary, we learn more about ourselves and become more teachable.
What does my heart tell me?
It reminds me of the many ideas I have for more books, so many stories swirling in my soul. The artist in me yearns to bring them to life.
Even for my writing clients, my heart breaks for the unwritten books, the stories waiting to connect with their characters and the voices longing to be heard. That urgency to write while we can, to share the wisdom and experiences God has gifted us with through the many years.
My soul beats with a restless tone, eager to authenticate itself and complete the mission God birthed in me before the foundation of the world.
As I dig deeper, another question surfaces. I stop breathing as I consider the implications of what its answers might entail. Almost afraid to add it to my journal page, I force the pen to scratch the question across the page: What am I avoiding?
We may avoid doing something that requires a major change, because we’re afraid of what that transition might ask of us. A move, a new job, the addressing of a spiritual weakness, the uprooting of our comfort zones.
Yet in the avoidance, we remain in the zone of discomfort. We stress our souls to the point of losing our true core. We avoid what our hearts long for, because we are so blasted practical and cannot imagine any other type of experience.
My journal now contains several pages of personal reflection around these three questions. And I offer them to you as a spiritual writing prompt:
- What if?
- What is your heart telling you?
- What are you avoiding?
I look forward to the time when these questions find their connecting answers in my life. What about you? Are you ready to dig deeper?
Hope shines when we find the courage to ask the hard questions.
©2022 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
Digging deeper is a daily exercise as we find strength Day by Day.