For several days I’ve been waking around 4 or 5 a.m. - not with the kind of agitation and anxiety to which I’m prone, but with a sense of quiet energy and anticipation. I don’t bother fighting my wakefulness, but slip as quietly as possible out of the warm nest of blankets and dogs and make my way to the kitchen. While the coffee is coursing its way through the Cuisinart, I take a few moments to stand at the window and greet the silent, snowy day, before I empty the dishwasher and preheat my favorite mug. With my coffee balanced on a small, cloth lined tray, I make my way back upstairs and into the Room of My Own, the bedroom in our house that’s become my de facto office/reading room/retreat. For the next few hours, I read, write, think. As the sky brightens outside the window, I allow myself to sink deeper into my ideas, my thoughts, my memories. By the time my family is awake, I am spent, but also energized. I feel a sense of accomplishment, and excitement. The words are taking me places I’ve never been, and I’m excited for this journey.
This is my work these days, and I am devoted to it.
Devotion is my key word for this year. It is a word layered with many levels of meaning, a word that began to crop up in my thoughts several months ago when I decided this would be the year I devoted to myself, my projects, my creativity. It is a word that carries traces of the holiness which I hope to bring to daily life. It is a loving word, a word that means giving freely of time and attention to that which is important. It is a gentle word, that implies persistence without the need for perfection.
It is a word I bring to my writing, but also to my body with all its desires and imperfections. To my husband and our marriage, in honor of true generosity and faith. To my mother, whose needs increase with age but whose love is proportionately far greater than her expectations of us. It is a word I bring to Life in General, with a growing awareness and acceptance of what makes me happy and a genuine dedication to seeking it in my daily living.
Enjoyment, then, is another important layer in the concept of devotion. It feels almost sinfully luxurious to have the time and ability to ponder and pursue these things - this writing, this life, time to sit with what I’ve learned and explore things I want to learn more about. It’s like receiving a box of Belgian chocolates and knowing you can eat as many as you want without gaining an ounce. I smile at the very thought, don’t you?
For the past year or two, I’ve been about the business of stripping away layers - layers of clutter, of memories, of expectations. So much has changed during that time. I’ve streamlined my living, literally and figuratively. I once thought change was evil - I dreaded it and fretted over it and hung around the edges of it as long as I could. But if there’s one thing that’s certain in life, it’s the fact that nothing stays the same, nothing is static. I’m finally starting to be okay with that idea. Lately, change has been good to me, and for me. Now I can devote myself to seeing where it all will take me.