I took the last month off from blogging. I was supposed to disengage from a lot of other things as well. While I generally stayed away from my blog(s) — only posting here about the over-generalization of feminist writers and about a short story I had written — I continued to visit Facebook, continued reading your blogs, and continued to read the political sites that drive me crazy. So, my disengagement can only be considered to be partial at best.
As well, I’ve thought about what I would write when I came back here. And so, here I am, but I’m not ready to get back into regular blogging yet. Part of what I wanted to figure out during my self-imposed exile was what I want blogging to be for me in the future. Still haven’t decided that.
One of the things I’ve thought about is to break my blogs up even further than they already are. I’ve considered the idea of a politics-oriented blog to keep that whole mess away from here, but the reality is that I don’t want a politics blog if it’s just my voice and views. I would want multiple contributors, preferably from a range of views along the political spectrum, and I just don’t know how to make that happen. So, no, I probably won’t be spinning off a politics blog — unless I find those other people who want to engage in a community blog on politics.
In other words, I’m still figuring this thing out, but after a month, I wanted to share a bit. And use the New Year as a bit of an inspiration. No, this isn’t about resolutions, it’s about what some of my new favorite bloggers select a Word of the Year. This fits much better into what I’ve done over the past month (and past years, who am I kidding) than the proverbial New Year’s resolutions.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading this past month or two in the area of meditation, buddhism, and the like. 10% Happier by Dan Harris and Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert are two “pop culture” takes on the topic. I’m also making my way through a couple of books on Insight Meditation by Jack Kornfield, and have a handful of other books stacked on my nightstand to expand my knowledge of the whole thing. Which fits into my Word of the Year.
One of my favorite professional bloggers has been Andrew Sullivan. He stopped blogging earlier this year, but in the final months of his blog, he kept referring to something in the context of his appreciation of the new Catholic Pope. He kept referring to “grace.” Having been raised Catholic, I knew there was something to that word, that concept, in the faith. Something beyond saying grace before a meal, but I wasn’t really sure exactly what it was. All I knew was that as Sullivan used it to describe some of the Pope’s actions, I knew it was a word I liked.
I found a website that explains there are actually two different kinds of grace in the Catholic faith. Sanctifying grace is “what makes the soul holy; it gives the soul supernatural life. More properly, it is supernatural life.” Actual grace is “is a supernatural push or encouragement. It’s transient. It doesn’t live in the soul, but acts on the soul from the outside, so to speak. It’s a supernatural kick in the pants. It gets the will and intellect moving so we can seek out and keep sanctifying grace.”
So, that’s not quite what I have in mind with the word. While I continue to resist religion and the idea of a Supreme Being or an afterlife or a heaven or a hell, I am becoming more spiritual and more believing in the idea that there may be something somewhat soul-like in each of us. But still I’m not drawn to the Catholic concept.
The dictionary definitions of the word, include:
- simple elegance or refinement of movement.
- (in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.
- do honor or credit to (someone or something) by one’s presence.
These continue to dance around what I think I mean when I use the word Grace and select it as my Word of the Year. I certainly am not elegant or refined in movement. I don’t care about the favor of God. But, there’s something there.
Here’s how I view it and why. Grace to me means a whole range of things and they will drive me forward this year. Forgiveness and acceptance. Love and patience. It means treading more lightly in the world — not raging at things quite as much. Speaking more quietly — which is one of the reasons my blogging will remain on hold for a time as I figure out a way to do this. It also means continuing to search for the things that feed my soul. But, ultimately, it means even more that I will try to treat those around me with these same qualities as I apply them to myself — forgiveness, acceptance, love, patience. It’s time to end the rebellion against my own life I have lived for far too long and instill it with grace. For me and for those I spend my life with.
So, that’s it … my word for the year is Grace.
Now, I need to go back to one of those things that feed my soul — fiction writing. See you all soon.