The Artist’s Way is doing its thing, percolating ideas and bringing its surprises and non-surprises. Things you’d like to tell people are surprises but you know deep in the depths of your heart, they don’t surprise you.
At the end of each chapter are exercises to get creative juices going, to help you to know yourself better and to bring you, the real you, to life. Sometimes I find them a lot of work and sometimes they are a lot of fun. Last week was a lot of fun as a picture that I’ve had of myself in my shadowy thoughts came out of the dimness and into the light.
The exercise was to list 3 careers that you would love to do (in my case, if you had a do-over, for someone in their 20’s or 30’s this might make for a career change). I actually have fun thinking about these things. I sometimes feel like I’m preparing for my next life, just in case there is one. If there is, I’ll be ready.
This was interesting to me for a few reasons. One is the careers (none of them a complete surprise, I’ve thought about this a lot), the other is the length to which I described each (quite telling) and lastly the challenge of what to do with the information.
So they are in order and length they came to me:
I’d love to follow stories about all kinds of people in all walks of life. I’d like to ask questions (I have so many questions), learn about ways of life, what gives meaning, different perspectives. Also, I tend to love to be where stuff is happening. I love when history is being made. When most people’s inclination is to run from danger I am oddly drawn. I like to paint a picture and tell a story to frame it for others and to bring new light to different areas of life/people/stories/events. I would have loved to do this.
I’ve been asked before what I’d like to be if I had life to do over. I often have a fleeting glimpse of me walking down a busy Toronto street in a priest’s robes. Strange eh? I’ve never really shared that with anyone (you heard it hear first!). But it’s true, I want to be a robe-wearing-priest. I heard a friend once say that they’d like to see all of religion stripped of things like robes and symbols, that they are images of power that separate one person from the others, elevating them to a higher stature. Interesting. I’ve never felt that. I’ve never felt myself less than a person in a robe, or a uniform of any sort. I just see it as a different function. To me it’s almost like a name tag identifying who is available and willing to do certain jobs in the community.
Oh, you need a hug? You want someone to lay their hand on your child’s head and bless them? Pray for healing? You need someone to talk to? See the woman over there wearing the robe? She is a safe place, a place of blessing and love. She’s ready to help however you need. I want to do that. I want to be at births to pray a prayer of welcome and protection and health over a new life. I want to be there for the sick and be nearby when a loved one is dying. I want to do funerals and speak words of comfort and healing and peace to those left behind. I want to officiate at celebrations of love and marry people. Gay, straight, old, young. I want to dance and drink with everyone at the party after.
I want to go to interfaith events and tell the Imam and the Rabbi what I appreciate about them and their traditions. I want to take people away on a meditation retreat by the sea and do yoga and tai chi and watch the sun come up and return home together refreshed and rested.
I want to climb behind a podium every week and deliver the salt filled healing words that have been seasoning my thoughts in my quiet study during the week. I want to talk to the community about what we have wrong and what we have right and what we can do better, about what I’m still confused about and the answers I don’t have and about how that’s ok. I’ll tell them that the important thing is that we journey together, that we value love above all else and that we hold onto hope and foster peace and build bridges and stay on the path.
I want to observe liturgies and traditions. I want to light candles and swing incense (…and the freak flag flies) I want to craft juicy, thought provoking words that inspire the bread and wine and wonder.
I want the homeless to be there in all their smelly glory, keeping it real, representing Jesus, taking our stuff and making us dig deeper in love.
I want to create a safe place for kids and questioners, old people and the young people you want to bust out and do something different. I want a beautiful space for spirituality and art to be active and free and forward thinking.
I want to be an airline pilot. To rise above the earth everyday and enjoy the perspective that brings. To feel gravity defied. To go somewhere new. To be in the clouds. To laugh as I do when I’m in the air.
*So…this is hilarious to me. I’ll give some thought as to what this might be indicating for me. Some thoughts and themes are immediately evident but I’ll ruminate on it and of course I’ll share what I find. So fun.