Tuesday, September 19, 2006

JK: Remembering Wholeness

I’m reading a book called StoryCatchers by Christine Baldwin. In it she shares a story of an African tribe with a tradition that when someone offends the tribe by word or deed, everyone stops what they are doing and surrounds the person. One by one they begin to tell the person about an act, a behavior, a word, a deed that the offending person performed that was uplifting to the tribe, that strengthened the group, that was a mark of their compassion and their lack of offense. They “remember” him or her into the being they really are. The offense was an aberration not to be hung onto.

This practice truly touched me especially as I write and make revisions; as I learn that once again my most recent book is not a bestseller; as I prepare to teach a workshop on Landscape, Spirituality, Women and Story while I’m feeling overwhelmed by my own landscape, not all that spiritual, wonder about the changes my body is going through as a woman and question how to even tell a story let alone write one down!

I need to remember myself into healing, remind me of when I did feel that the ranch I live on nurtured instead of just demanded. I need to remember those things I did that once made me feel close and connected to God and what I might have stopped doing that has moved me farther away. I know I need to exercise and not just meander on a walk to help my body adjust to the changes of age. I need to remember when I used to run three miles a day (before my airplane accident) or when I exercised 20 minutes every day for one entire year. And most of all, I need to remember that I am in the middle of a story, awaiting an editor’s line-editing comments. I’m not where I’ve been with the story and not yet where I’ll be. I used to write and feel completed when I finished. I remember now.

So I will take a walk, purposeful and far through this landscape I love. I will rise a bit earlier and write in my prayer journal and take the time to listen (and remember that research tells us that the mere act of writing raises the T-cell levels that increases one’s immune system) but knowing that when I do I move closer to the kind of spiritual life I pray for. I will begin work on another story. With God’s help and my memory, I’ll move away from offense and on toward wholeness.

Jane Kirkpatrick, www.jkbooks.com
Award-winning author of 12 novels and two non-fiction books. A Clearing in the Wild, Book One of the Change and Cherish Series (WaterBrook Press/Random House) is available now!


At 1:40 AM, Anonymous Annette Smith said...

Lovely, lovely post. Thanks so much for sharing these words. They spoke deeply to me.

At 9:03 AM, Blogger Carol Umberger said...

"I need to remember those things I did that once made me feel close and connected to God and what I might have stopped doing that has moved me farther away."

Thank you, Jane, for this reminder. And for addressing the need for artists to fill the well and heal. That it's okay to take time for ourselves, to love ourselves just as we are--just as God made us.

A lovely, thought-provoking post that I suspect I will return to as needed.


At 9:19 AM, Blogger Tina said...

Jane, thank you. As writers, we need to be reminded of this. I am happy for your insights!

At 11:59 AM, Blogger Marci said...

Oh so true and so Biblical! It amazes me how often the Lord tells His people to remember. I guess it's because we so easily forget and lose our way.
Blessings for these words that point us in that direction again.


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