Spiritual Roots

A year ago today, 2-7-2010, I wrote my first blog post in SunnyRoomStudio: a creative, sunny space for kindred spirits.

So now an entire year has elapsed.  Many kindred spirits have been discovered.  People who have become friends, colleagues, mentors, advisors.  Spiritual connections have been forged and 7 wonderful guest posts have been featured here.  And we have learned from each other.  We have discussed important topics; we have reflected on subjects of depth and inspiration.  It seems this sunny space has become a “friendly, peaceful, welcoming, and uplifting space” — one that provides respite from the complications and frustrations of daily life.  One that offers encouragement and creative energy.  And, yes, sun, of course!

  • My gratitude to all of you.

Though most of us have never met, per se, we have come to know each other through our unique voices (how we write, how we think, how we view the world) and by the spiritual threads that connect us worldwide … despite geography, age, careers, personal circumstance, or limitations (imagined or real).

“Your voice, my friend, wanders in my heart, like the muffled
sound of the sea among the listening pines.”  — Tagore

Spiritual Roots

So SunnyRoomStudio, for me, and probably for many of you, has spiritual roots.  I think it’s extremely important that our work and our life, no matter its shape, form, or function, have that quality.  Geographic roots, though important, are often outgrown.  We are uprooted, somehow, by the demands of the Universe.  The demands of time and family and life.  But we can have spiritual roots no matter where we live or what we do each day.  They are ours to create and sustain.  Springboards for meaningful connection and an inspired life purpose.

  • Does your life have spiritual roots?
  • Does your work have a spiritual quality to it whereby you sense the value of people and place beyond superficial definition?
  • Does your life and work expand in creative waves via a mission that is broad, encompassing — even universal?

My spiritual roots are nourished by kindred spirits.  By people of courage and wisdom.  By people with shared interests in writing, poetry, and creative endeavors, in general.  By people who inspire me with their kind words of encouragement and compassion.  Or via their fascinating ideas.  (Hmm, I’ve never thought about it quite like that before.)   And it’s amazing how we find each other “out there” … a gift of discovery, a gift of friendship.

And our spiritual roots, in the collective sense, create something awe-inspiring. 

Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot,
others transform a yellow spot into the sun.  — Picasso

But what else inspired this creative, sunny space for kindred spirits?  Why, a year ago today, did I venture into the unknown with a new blog, a new mission, and a desire to connect with like-minded individuals?

  • What else has contributed to my spiritual roots in a very significant way?

My son, Matthew, would have been 31 this week, on February 10, to be exact.  And though I haven’t written about him here, after his loss in June of 2007, I couldn’t find the sun for a while.  My interior sun.  My generally upbeat, positive, inspiring self took a break to delve into a spiritual dimension I didn’t know existed.  It wasn’t by choice.  My spiritual evolution came via suffering, via the kind of sorrow poets and writers have tried to capture since the beginning of recorded time.

So around this time last year, I decided it was time to become a positive force in the world.  To share the path that has led me to many insights about this mortal experience.  And to bring light to the journey of others, as well.

I find great joy in connecting with kindred spirits and in writing about topics that enlarge and expand our unique, yet, forever connected, spiritual visions.  I also find great meaning in being a source of support to others who travel this planet seeking spiritual realization.

SunnyRoomStudio was also built around Matthew’s memory as a way to remember what is good and inspiring about life.  As a way to shine a light on beauty, creative inspiration, and self-discovery.  For me, it has lived up to its purpose and then some.  I hope this sunny space has given back, as well; I hope it has become a source of joy in your life.

There comes a time when the mind takes a higher plane of knowledge but can never prove how it got there.  — Einstein

So will I write about this experience one day?  Perhaps.  Clearly, another memoir may or may not be what the world needs right now.  But maybe I have a message of value that can be a source of gentle light to others.  You see, I firmly believe that we need a more compassionate world if we are ever to fully discover the divine purpose of our existence.

And I also sense that I could handle some sensitive and difficult subjects of importance to all of us … but only time will tell if I write this book or not.  There are many ways to make a contribution in life, literary and otherwise.

Yet …

Time.  Milestones.  Memories.

It’s the stuff that writers address, one way or another.

One great writer, in particular.  One great writer who leaves a lasting impression on nearly everyone she meets.

Who else, but Natalie Goldberg.

In her book, Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir, she writes:

“The reason we want to write memoir is an ache, a longing, a passing of time that we feel all too strongly.”

In the same chapter, Inventory of Good-bye: “The thing that is hard about good-byes is that often there is no resolution.  There is no sense to death either.  Well, sure they died, but when are they coming back?  Never?  How is that possible?  I forgot to tell them something.”

And another thought by Goldberg is, without question, profound in so many ways.

“Life is not orderly.  No matter how we try to make life so, right in the middle of it we die, lose a leg, fall in love, drop a jar of applesauce.”

  • We do, don’t we?  We drop the jar of applesauce that looked so good.  We encounter the uncertainty of life at nearly ever turn, the unpredictable nature of this world.

But if you aren’t familiar with Natalie’s body of work, Writing Down the Bones is a classic you won’t want to miss.  She connects Zen meditation with writing and believes good writing happens because of practice and because writers keep showing up; she isn’t especially keen on the idea of writing as a gift.

And back in 2009, Shirley Showalter’s blog 100 memoirs, featured an excellent post about Nataliethat shares more about the memoir workshop that Shirley attended.  She writes: “A Natalie Goldberg workshop envelops you, takes you on a ride, and challenges you.  Goldberg doesn’t mess around.”

Also from Shirley’s blog post: “She wants students to become very familiar with how their minds work and to recognize the connection between their own mind and a larger mind.  Meditation does this.  So does timed writing that starts with one subject and then moves to another.  Eventually, if one writes enough, the work deepens, descends to the level that anchors both writer and reader to the ground of all being.”

A Sunny Umbrella

Small things loom large in our minds.  I think I shared that thought recently on a friend’s blog.  And while a one-year anniversary might seem like a “small thing,” it has loomed very large in my mind the past few weeks.

  • What to say?  What to share?  What’s important about this milestone?

The answer —

Go where your soul leads.  Acknowledge and nurture your spiritual roots.  Be a force of joy, compassion, and creativity in the world.

Yes, darkness does arrive every single day; but we are more than the darkness.  We are also filled with light and spiritual purpose.  And, yes, some days are gray, rainy, and we wish to escape their power over us.  But we need difficult, gut-wrenching life passages to grow.

  • We need to discover the depth within if we are to evolve as spiritual beings having a mortal experience.

Per Natalie: “Stretch yourself.  This writing is about discovering what you already know but don’t know you know.”  As she writes …

“Trust the urge inside to lead you to the right choice.”

I look forward to spending time in this sunny space as 2011 comes into focus for all of us.  And I thank you for being part of my journey — for so generously sharing your ideas, thoughts, and talents here.  We are all enriched by this “meeting of the minds,” by these spiritual encounters that sustain our spiritual roots.

“The universe operates through dynamic exchange – giving & receiving are different aspects of the flow of energy in the universe & in our willingness to give that which we seek, we keep the abundance of the universe circulating in our lives.” –Deepak Chopra

And because this is a week of reflection for me, I’m taking a brief break from blog post comments.  As we talked about in a recent post, Clamoring to be Heard, silence can be the perfect antidote for a frenzied, ego-charged world.  So this beautiful time of silence is offered in Matthew’s memory.  Thank you for your understanding.

But I will be back in time for Valentine’s Day and will be sharing a few thoughts about the role of love in our lives.  Until then, may each day bring greater depth to your life, and may the superficial distinctions fade like winter snow.

“You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.”  –Eckhart Tolle

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