Starting Inspirational Fires

This is the blog post that almost wasn’t. And it is one of those twisty, turny journeys that needs a bit of backstory to make sense. Bear with me.

In July of this year, I felt drawn to create what I dubbed Inspiration Starters. Read about those HERE. I wrote creative ideas, with the intention of challenging myself, on 32 slips of paper and dropped them into a container. I randomly selected one of those Inspiration Starters a few days later. And then, totally forgot about them, as in, they passed from time and memory. Until this past week. Decorating for Christmas I opened the ceramic jar and thought, oh yeah!

I had 31 slips of paper left. December, with its 31 days, was about to begin. I decided what a great way to finish this Year of Inspiration, this time of living with a focus on creativity and treating others with kindness. I could draw a slip of paper each day, beginning December 1.

I was excited to draw the first folded slip today. When I played a similar game last year I was amazed by the synchronicities, the Divine guidance, the remarkable alignment of perfect conditions that appeared around each of those slips of paper. Drawing them randomly takes me out of the equation and opens my heart, spirit and creativity to a power greater than me.

What would I select? Honestly, I had created the Inspiration Starters five months ago. I had forgotten all that I came up with, which was good. I could be surprised.

I drew:

My first thought was, Well…even though this is Friday, and this Inspiration appears perfect, it won’t work this weekend. I have an out of town family birthday party tomorrow and an open house Sunday. There would be no get away this weekend.

My second thought was, This one is a miss. The timing was off. And, there was more to it than that.

I have been thinking much about a weekend get away lately, just me and a journal and a pen. As this year winds down, I feel drawn to go off by myself and think and dream and plan, a releasing of 2017 and an anticipation of 2018. I want time to commune with the Divine and meditate and go within. With that desire in mind, I asked the Divine to arrange the get away weekend, guiding me to the right place, at the right time, by way of signs, symbols and synchronicities.

To make it an even more fun and challenging quest, I asked EL-LE (my personal name for God, pronounced like the letter L), for a very specific sign. I would know it was all EL-LE’s doing in two ways: The weekend away, alone, would cost me nothing, or very little, allowing me to be open to all kinds of opportunities beyond simply staying in a hotel somewhere. And, I would know which place was the right one because it would have a particular symbol attached to it, that is significant to me.

Drawing that slip of paper today threw me. Nothing appeared to be in place for the weekend get away. It did indeed seem to be a miss, timing wise. I decided to keep a weekend away in mind during this month, and just see what unfolded. I left the slip of paper on my writing table in my studio.

I’ve had other things going on today. I’ve been busy and didn’t dwell on that Inspiration Starter. I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about this evening but I trusted the right thing would come along at the right time.

It did. And it connected back to the weekend get away paper that I drew.

As I was finishing my last task for the day, I was offered an amazing, and surprising, gift. This person, who wishes to remain unnamed, did not know that I have been asking EL-LE for a weekend away, or that I had drawn that slip of paper earlier in the day. I was gifted with a check, for a generous amount, and instructed to get away for a weekend, to have some time alone. I was told that the thought suddenly came to my gracious benefactor late today, seemingly out of the blue, accompanied by the urge to give me this gift.

I am undone. I am so grateful. A miss? No. The slip of paper I drew earlier was a wink from the Divine, a hint that it is almost time for that weekend get away I have been longing for. And as I hoped, as I trusted, all is being arranged.

I am looking at the end of the month for my special weekend. Or perhaps the first week in January. I have no doubts that I will know which weekend is perfect, and where to stay. I am being guided. I am involved in an ongoing conversation, an intimate dance, with the Divine.

The December creative game is underway. This must be why I completed my Christmas decorating early this season. I needed to be free. Something bigger is unfolding. I am going to finish out this incredible year by starting 31 fires that will ignite my passion, creativity and imagination. I am setting my heart aflame.

Choose a Book for Me

Most of us have picked up a book, opened it to a random page, and jabbed our finger down without looking. I have done that many times, usually while asking a question aloud or in my heart, looking for inspiration or confirmation or direction in that arbitrarily chosen sentence. 

I have learned that guidance comes in all kinds of seemingly random ways. A song on the radio, a snippet of overheard conversation, a bumper sticker on a car can deliver the message needed at the perfect time. I call these signs and synchronicities my ongoing conversation with the Divine. There is always great significance in those cosmic signs, and sometimes great mystery as well. 

After visiting Joplin’s new public library last month, I felt inspired to suggest a game to the Divine. This afternoon, it was time to play. 

Choose a Book for Me
What if, rather than opening a book and flipping to a page and choosing a sentence at random, I allowed myself to be guided to an entire book? Using the library as my playground, I did some prep work beforehand in the Fiction and Non Fiction areas, counting the number of rows, the number of sections in each row, and the number of shelves per section. 

At home this afternoon, I wrote numbers on slips of paper, dropped them into a glass bowl, and mixed them up. First I drew numbers for the Fiction area…row, section, shelf and book number. Then I did the same for the Non Fiction area.  I only asked to be guided to the non fiction and fiction books that would be perfect for me today. 

Choose a Book for Me

I arrived at the library 12 minutes before closing time. That was ok. I had my numbers written out on a piece of paper. It would not take me long to find my books. 

For the Non Fiction area, I drew:

Row 9, Section 7, Shelf 3, Book #33

The book selected for me was The Independent Inventor’s Handbook by Louis Foreman and Jill Gilbert Welytok. I was excited! Who hasn’t dreamed of having a million dollar idea that becomes an invention? As a child, I was always trying to come up with an invention that no one else had thought of. My grandson Oliver has such thoughts and I love listening to his ideas. 

The blurb for this book reads, Have a million dollar idea? Make it real. From sketch on a napkin to finished product, Everyday Edisons creator Louis Foreman and patent attorney Jill Gilbert Welytok show step by step how to be a prosperous inventor and how to harness your imagination and follow the systematic process of problem solving that’s required to convert a raw  concept into a profitable business venture. 

How cool! And this was probably not a book I would have ever looked for on my own. I’m curious to see what creative ideas surface as I read through this intriguing book that was picked for me. 

Choose a Book for Me
The library lights dimmed, indicating it was almost time to close. I hurried to the Fiction area. 

Row 7, Section 11, Shelf 3, Book #19

The fiction book selected for me was The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce. I was immediately captivated by the word Pilgrimage in the title. I just wrote a blog post about a pilgrimage…referencing the one I took recently through northern Italy and my life journey. And the word Unlikely hinted at a journey of destiny, reminding me of the first Hobbit film, An Unexpected Journey. 

The blurb for this book reads, Meet Harold Fry, recently retired.  He lives in a small English village with his wife Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Then one morning the mail arrives and within the stack of quotidian minutiae is a letter addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl from a woman he hasn’t seen or heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye. 

Harold decides to hand carry a reply to Queenie, a 600 mile walk to the hospice, believing that as long as he walks, Queenie will live. Along the way, he meets one fascinating character after another, each of whom unlocks his long dormant spirit and sense of promise. 

Although I have not heard of this book or the author, I am very excited to begin this story. My eyes filled with tears, just reading the blurb inside the jacket cover, a sure sign this book is meant for me. 

Choose a Book for Me
This was a fun experience, and one built on trust. I had a moment of doubt as I wheeled into the library parking lot. What if I ended up with some book I had absolutely no interest in? Well, what if I did? I could play with an open heart, mind and spirit and see what happened. Or I could choose not to play at all. Did I trust or didn’t I? I decided that I did. 

I am most curious about what I will find for my heart and journey as I read these books that were chosen for me. Because, I don’t believe in randomness or coincidences. I can play like this because I believe that everything has purpose,  and every incident has a message for me. I am continually invited to dance, to converse, to engage with the Divine. 

We play…even at the library. 

Choose a Book for Me