I am in the midst of a pretty intense time of creative laboring and as I have told my friends I feel like the time has come to give birth and I am having triplets! The first creation was the intensive class I taught last week on Contemporary Expressions of Monastic Spirituality with a wonderful group of students who were a gift to journey with through our days of prayer, study, and discussion. Their papers are due today so I will be making some time this week to be present to their personal explorations of the material and get the grades submitted by the end of the week.
The second creation is my manuscript now titled Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire: The Christian Spiritual Practice of Praying with the Elements for Ave Maria Press which will be released in March 2010. I have received their edits of my manuscript so now I am re-reading those and making any final changes that need to happen and need to return those in a week.
And the third creation is the book I am co-writing with Betsey Beckman titled Awakening the Creative Spirit: Bringing the Expressive Arts to Spiritual Direction for Morehouse Publishing's SDI Imprint Series and will be released in February 2010. Betsey and I have been working very hard these last few weeks to get a full draft of the manuscript ready to send off to some very generous souls who offered to help us edit. Those need to go into the mail by Wednesday, so right now is a big push.
As you can see, I feel as if I am in heavy labor, ready for the final push, and then another, and then another. And at the same time I am filled with gratitude and a sense of the profound grace that I get to work this hard at some many things I genuinely love. Monastic practice, nature, and praying through the arts is the perfect trilogy of passions for me.
Last spring I attended the Spiritual Directors International Conference where one of the presenters talked about the word "deadlines" and wondered why we called them that. She suggested we think of them as "lifelines" instead, as the impulse to move deeply into our creative process and give shape to what is moving in us. Hard work certainly, but also very life-giving work. I have found a wonderful sense of empowerment in that word.
So please pray for me this week as I enter this big last push (and of course have other projects just over the horizon, but without as much of an intensity demanded and a few days off coming soon). This blog space will be quiet for a few more days and then I hope to return with renewed vigor.