How Sweet the Sound
by Roger Mock
Six years ago now, back in January of 2013, we began our Sunday evening “multi-faith music and meditation” service which we now simply call “OneSong.” Rev. Jim Fuller, Mark Shepard and I collaborated on it, coming up with a loose Order of Service and testing it out by initially offering it once per month through August of that year. In September we took the extra leap and went to a weekly format.
I also began an email list (which became this one) to help get the word out. Pretty much from the beginning I would send out an email about the upcoming service and its chosen theme. Over the months I found that as I began writing, my thoughts and ideas would often coalesce into something more than I would have expected. Unforeseen connections were made. A little research would reveal some new and interesting thread. In short, I was engaging in the creative writing process; something I had previously not dabbled in. It was fun and rewarding, often grace-filled, and I started receiving positive feedback. More than that, the process had become a key part of my own spiritual practice, even more so when the service went to a weekly format.
I did reasonably well at keeping up a nearly weekly writing practice for a good couple of years, eventually cutting back to every other week or so, then monthly, then… well, by last summer it seemed to have gone the way of all blogs.
For one thing, this creative activity required setting aside a good part of the day to pull it off for me – even if the result was a just few short paragraphs. The main reason for the curtailment though might have to do with my not always believing that I had something worthwhile to say. Funny thing is, looking back, I rarely (never) had any burning catharses demanding to be shaped into prose. If there were any epiphanies, they arose in the writing process itself.
That’s a really important point, and the takeaway here is this. Life/The Universe will engage with us if we are willing to engage with it. The requirement is some form of taking a chance, of making that first step (and a second and third one, too, frankly). The artist, like the writer, must necessarily begin with a blank page or canvas (or, yes, a Word doc). You make a mark, you type a sentence. You erase or paint over or retype and you keep going, open to in-spiration – the allowing in of spirit. Life does want to engage with you in that way and wants to work with you. Perhaps you have toyed with the idea of keeping a journal or taking up watercolor painting. Maybe you feel the need for a career change. You may not have a clue what that career might look like, or if your paintings will be “any good” (it doesn’t matter), but you do know the first couple steps to take for any of those ventures, and that’s where to start.
It’s not about the end product of the journaling or the painting or even of the career shift. It’s about the dance, about engaging with Life, with Spirit. It’s about overcoming fear of the big blank page and even being willing to make a mess of it, if it comes to that. A good artist throws out most of their sketches and a good songwriter has a batch of tunes the public will never hear.
For my part, I guess I’m trying this out again after a several-month hiatus. My spiritual practice has seemed a little lacking without it. I haven’t really missed having to confront that “big blank page”. But the thing is, as soon as I start typing, it’s no longer blank, and it doesn’t look nearly as big. Plus, I have missed the sacred dance that can come from engaging with it. So, we’ll see how it goes. No promises about firing off weekly missives, but you might be hearing from me a bit more. I always love to get responses, too. <Hint, hint>
How about you – what big blank page is staring you down right now? Pick up a crayon or two and have at it. Keep it simple, keep it light and enjoy the messes! Just dance, partner, dance.