On my last full day at the lake house I am staying in, the overcast skies never cleared and the threat of snow loomed. The area I’m in just got a dusting, however, I only ventured outdoors to grab firewood for my cheerful fire.
If yesterday’s theme was self care, today’s was creative conversation.
I set logs ablaze in the fireplace this morning, and snuggled there to read and write. I have loved the fireplace, and I am grateful the house has one, especially since it wasn’t on my list of “must haves”. It was while I was reading in Brené Brown’s book, Braving the Wilderness, that the idea arose that would set the tone for the day.
In the chapter titled People are Hard to Hate Close Up. Move in. Brené includes an interview from Dr. Michelle Buck, professor of leadership at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She says that the best thing to say in a conversation, especially an uncomfortable one where we might be tempted to argue, defend or counter, is Tell me more. Tell me more causes us to listen, really listen, to the response so we can understand, even if we don’t agree.
I was captivated by tell me more. I intend to incorporate that phrase into my conversations more often. However, for today, on a retreat alone, I decided to play a game with the Divine. I was in creative mode already. I was open to inspiration.
I am always engaged in an ongoing conversation with the Divine. I receive signs, wonders, and synchronicities throughout the course of my day, all nudges, guidance and love notes from El-le (my name for God). But what about when I am, by choice, house bound? I wanted to play anyway.
Tell me more, I spoke aloud. Tell me more…about who I am and about this magical journey I am on.
The first thing that happened was that my awareness came up, and I noticed things about the house that I have not noticed until today…and it is my third day here! Near the fireplace, which has been my favorite hangout, there are a series of black and white photos. The top and bottom prints caught my attention especially. The canoe on the river was my symbol for 2016. It represented surrender. I imagined taking my oar out of the water (relinquishing control) and surrendering to the flow of life. What a powerful year that was. The top picture is one of an oar raised out of the water. Wow. How had I not seen that before?
I had appreciated a huge painting of a tree in the living room. While it has not been a symbol for me yet, the tree has significance for me. But I had not seen at all the painting hanging over the bed in the room I am sleeping in. It is of dandelions, gone to seed. They represent wishes, to me. Amazing, as I have been focusing on the desires, or wishes, of my heart while I have been here. Also in the same bedroom is a Life is beautiful framed art piece.
Every time I noticed something, I whispered Tell me more.
This afternoon, things got interesting. I used sticky notes and pieces of paper to flesh out ideas and thoughts around the five areas in my life that are experiencing shifts. I brought the tell me more idea into this creative exercise as well. I would say aloud, tell me more and then write my thoughts quickly, without over thinking or editing. I did this over and over, as an exercise for myself, and also as a way to get Divine input on what I was doing.
It was an insightful way to get beneath my first responses and go deeper. Here is where things took an intriguing turn. I brought my phone into my work area and opened my playlist. I selected shuffle, and walked away from the phone.
The Divine often speaks to me through songs. I play a game I call Spirit Songs, and ask for guidance. Today, as the first “random” song began to play, I simply said, tell me more. I have more than 400 songs on my phone, an eclectic mix of soundtracks and rock, classical and Christmas, meditation music and single songs that I have purchased because they spoke to me. I pick a song every year to go along with my theme. Those are on my phone as well.
I was doing my creative work, and humming along, when one of those songs began to play, a theme song from several years ago. I had forgotten about it. I paused to listen. And then another theme song played…and another. That caused me to tune in to what was going on. I had my phone on shuffle. The selection was random. No way should those particular songs have played one after another. Unless…
El-le had my attention. Each song that played had a strong connection to one of my previous years, or to an event or person that had a connection to me. It was my life, represented by a playlist of meaningful songs. This one made me smile. This one, from my Year of Surrender, gave me goosebumps. The next one made me get up and dance around in joy. Tell me more, I kept whispering, and the songs kept coming, until tears finally filled my eyes.
I was having a conversation with the Divine. I felt loved. I felt understood. I felt seen. I felt heard. I felt safe.
I felt a bit freaked out…when I returned to writing, and the words I wrote were being sung, on the next song, at the exact same moment. That happened several times.
It has been a magical day, indeed. There has been conversation, if I had the ears to hear it and the awareness to grasp it. The words tell me more will forever have a deeper meaning for me now.
Our last bit of conversation occurred a short time ago. I turned on the tv in the bedroom, as I prepared to write this blog post. The movie Braveheart was on. I love the movie, about the Scottish hero William Wallace. And yet, parts of it are very difficult for me to watch. I was looking down when I realized the end of the movie was coming. I don’t like to watch this part, I said out loud. I looked down…and realized the tv had gone silent. When I looked back up, the television had turned itself off. Blank screen. No picture or sound.
I was surprised, and then I laughed. I checked the tv by turning it on again quickly and back off. It worked fine.
Well okay then. Let’s not watch that.
Tell me more…I am listening.