Mystic Mondays February 13, 2017
The time has come. After ten months of writing under the Mystic Monday title I am once again needing the freedom to let my voice emerge more naturally again. I do so with some hesitation. Many of you have informed me that it’s the first thing you look for on Monday mornings. There is nothing as satisfying for a writer than knowing that people are anticipating the next thing you might write. I suppose that is part of the reason for freeing myself up.
I had anticipated that I would do more introduce you to the world of religious mysticism and the ways that many of us are already practicing it without the benefit or the burden of the name. But honestly, the whole Trump blitzkrieg flooded my soul and consciousness many weeks. I had to write my way through that or risk letting having the psychic toxins poison my whole being. My voice is feeling muddied and it’s time to clean it up again.
But there is more to it than that. The Rome to Rumi book is begging to be written. I am also preparing for what has become my every two to three year job search as I near the end of my current interim. With that I am finding myself once again pondering just where I belong. I am receiving calls to work with churches that are in need of transformational leadership. At the same time that I am receiving more invitations to lead workshops, write blog posts for other media, do soul coaching, and lead pilgrimages. Right now it’s hard to know which path to take.
One year ago I wrote under the blog title “Between Two Worlds” in a daily Lenten devotional where I shared my struggle with feeling caught between a religious institution that seems to be eroding away and an emerging spiritual consciousness that is forming but has little structure. But if I felt stuck between the two in the past with no sense of belonging in either, now I feel pulled from both directions. It seems that I have established my credibility to speak to both and now my challenge is whether to lean more toward one world than the other. There is more financial and professional stability in serving the church, but less of a long term future. And being part of the emerging world of spiritual community is titillating, but at least for now it doesn’t put the beans and rice on the table.
But despite letting the Mystic Monday post go I can promise you that I will continue to blog and write on a fairly regular basis. What has changed is that I now need to remove the stricture of the Mystic Monday theme and let my posts and themes come to me again more naturally. In recent weeks to column has felt more forced.
There would have been a time when I would have seen this as a failure of sorts. But not today. I think my two pilgrimages taught me this. The soul doesn’t operate on a predictable and exact schedule. Like growth spurts, the soul seems to have long fallow periods and then a sudden surge of creative juices that may last for weeks or months.
I remember when this happened on my Rome to Rumi pilgrimage. I had made a general plan to ride from Rome, Italy to Konya, Turkey, passing through the northern part of Greece. I began the trip naively thinking that I was doing it more for the community than I was for myself. That became apparent just a week or so into the journey as I struggled with internet issues and briefly toyed with the idea that the trek was not even worth it if I couldn’t blog about it on a daily basis. Silly me!
I soon righted my thinking and spent the next four weeks in physically and spiritually challenging terrain. And then, as pilgrimages do, things shifted again. Just before arriving in Istanbul I realized that my deepest pilgrimage work was done, but I was still a full 400 miles from my destination in Konya. The terrain south of Istanbul was both unfamiliar and felt like just an obstacle between where I was and where I wanted to go. I switched up my plans, took a bus to the biking paradise of Cappadokia, famous for their hot air balloon rides, chimney rocks, and ancient Christian cliff dwellings and then rode the last 200 miles into Konya as planned. My soul knew what what it wanted even if it didn’t fit my original plans.
I say this because I have this sense that I am on some sort of a life-long spiritual pilgrimage with regards to the future of the church, spiritual community and religious mysticism. For a few miles (and a few weeks) it felt exactly right to write under the title of “Between Two Worlds” last Lent. Then for a few more miles (months actually) the Mystic Monday title worked, although awkwardly as political forces muddied the waters more than once. Now I am in new terrain once again. The landscape has changed. New opportunities are opening up ahead of me. Financial considerations will once again dictate much of what I can do and can’t do. And that Rome to Rumi book is pestering me more and more and getting tired of being put off.
I assure you, I am not going away. Mystic Mondays is just taking a break. But this pilgrimage of discovery continues. Our work is not done yet.