I woke early today, but the sun still beat me to it. So I sat and smudged in full light this morning and whispered aloud the words of Richard Wagamese that have become my morning prayer.
In this stillness, I am the trees alive with singing. I am the sky everywhere at once. I am the snow and the wind bearing stories across geographies and generations. I am the light everywhere descending. I am my heart evoking drum song. I am my spirit rising. In the smell of these sacred medicines burning, I am my prayers and my meditation, and I am time captured fully in this now. I am a traveler on a sacred journey through this one shining day.
Here on my deck, the trees truly are alive with singing, and the lake also, with the loons who have taken up residence at the far end.
Today, in my reading, I found this line: It seems to me the act of being spiritual is simply the act of allowing myself to feel my spirit move. (Embers, p.75)
I thought about that as I listened to the birds, felt the sun on my face, enjoyed the caress of the cool breeze. These are the things that move my spirit. These are the things that remind me of my place in this great tapestry.
I drank my coffee and let my mind wander. Before long, it landed on the characters I have spent the weekend with. My new novel is in the early stages and for the past three days, I have had a character or two with me everywhere I’ve gone. This morning, Agnes sits with me on the deck. She also loves the morning birdsong, although she is a bit uncomfortable with my dog, Jed.
Suddenly, I see something about Agnes’s life that is so obvious and true, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it until now. I grab my notebook and begin to scribble. In half an hour, I lift my pencil, see the world as it is, come back to it. I sit and eat granola and think about that little bit of writing and all the ways that it has shifted the entire story.
(I can’t tell you anymore than that. Although a few of you know the premise of The Vale, only Dave the CommaCzar Jenkinson knows how it's progressing, and it must stay that way for now.)
But I can tell you this: this process moves my spirit. Not the story – the process. The collaboration between my imagination and that unnameable quality of creativity that seems to live on and in the lake. And in the trees. And in the faces of strangers in the city. And in the impossibly soft fur of my dog.
I allow myself to feel my spirit move.
Richard Wagamese died earlier this year. His body died. His words are very much alive in me and countless others. His spirit is alive, in this stillness, in the trees alive with singing, in the sky everywhere at once.
I was lucky enough to attend Richard's last writing workshop. I left with a head full of ideas and a heart full of inspiration. It was truly one of the best workshops I've ever been part of. When I heard of his passing, I couldn't read his work for weeks. (And I read his work a lot: Keeper'n Me is like my bible.) I wasn't planning to buy Embers as it is a collection of his posts, most of which I had already read. But one day at a bookstore, I saw Embers and thumbed through it. It is a beautiful book, in every way. So I bought it and began to read. Bring these words into your life, Richard wrote of Embers. And I do. Everyday.
I will allow myself to feel my spirit move.