As of this afternoon (Wednesday) at 2:30, on this new moon in October, I have finished the first draft of my book Making Meaning Making Soul: Nourishing Your Inner Life as a Political Act! I am so pleased, but also rather daunted by all the work yet to do! I plan to review and revise it until it’s as good as I can get it, then send it out to my beta readers who will provide feedback for me (if you’re interested in being one of my readers and offering feedback on one chapter of the book after it’s revised, please let me know!), then I’ll do another revision incorporating the feedback, and then, I’ll work on figuring out how to get the book out into the world. It’s 362 pages long right now, and represents one helluva lot of work distilling four decades of thought and experience!
The book has two parts, one part giving all kinds of reasons why investing 20 minutes a day in contemplative practice, that is, in practices that nourish our inner lives, is deeply helpful to any person whether they come to their inner lives with a religious outlook or not. Contemplative practices help us to tune in to ourselves, explore our values and how we’ve acquired those values, relax, find what gives us deep pleasure and meaning, and examine how the world around us pulls us in such a variety of ways that may not be in integrity with who we really are, what we really want, and what we really believe.
The other part of the book contains dozens of practices that one can do in 20 minutes or less to bring us back to our true self. These practices are divided into five different categories of Word, Image, Dream, Silence, and Embodiment. “Word” refers to the practices such as collecting quotations or poetry that are meaningful to us, journal writing, responding to prompts that help us explore areas of life we may not have considered very deeply, as well as other practices. The “Image” chapter includes ideas to help us notice and examine the images that we’re bombarded with every day, whether in advertising or in images of the “good life”, simple exercises in art making, color, and mark making to create small havens of beauty, and collecting images that inspire us. “Dream” includes collecting and examining both night dreams and day dreams, and helps us to notice and deconstruct all the stories we sometimes take for granted in our lives, as well as how to imagine new stories for us to grow into. “Silence” looks at the many ways to bypass words and stories to clear out space for peace, rest, and new creativity to arise, including various ways to meditate. And the chapter on “Embodiment” asks us to consider who we are as physical bodies, where we begin and end, how we are interconnected with all that is around us, and invites us to experience that interconnection in ways we may not have thought of before.
These practices are helpful in healing the wounds that so many of us have suffered, and helpful in our healing the world around us. The book is for both beginners and more advanced practitioners, for both people who would describe themselves as spiritual or religious as well as people who want nothing to do with a religious point of view. As true humans, there is more to us than the everyday, and we face deep challenges to the earth’s and our own survival. This book can help us become conscious of just how many resources we have within us, and help us to know what is uniquely ours to do and to be, for justice and the good of all of life.
With much love and many blessings,