The chapter I’m working on in The Pen and the Bell this week is about lectio divina, or the practice of divine reading. Coincidentally, the first time I read this chapter, I was reading the chapter on lectio divina in The Sacred Way by Tony Jones at the same time, so I got to see the original Christian form of the practice alongside the more secular practice described in The Pen and the Bell.
Secular or otherwise, lectio divina consists of four steps applied to a single passage from a book, a poem, or scripture and basically involves reading a passage over and over again very slowly and meditating on it, letting it sink in and become integrated into your thoughts and emotions.
I couldn’t think of a particular passage for my lectio practice, so I pulled Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh off of my shelf and opened it at random. The passage that caught my eye was this:
“For the need for renewal is still there. The desire to be accepted whole, the desire to be seen as an individual, not as a collection of functions, the desire to give oneself completely and purposefully pursues us always, and has its part in pushing us into more and more distractions, illusory love affairs, or the haven of hospitals and doctor’s offices.”
One of my writing professors gave me this book as a wedding gift thirteen years ago. I read it that first winter of my marriage, but I found it inaccessible to my 23-year-old self. I vaguely remember the section in which I found this portion of a paragraph, but I don’t remember this particular idea at all. Reading this passage, slowly and repeatedly and out loud, brought it into three dimensions for me. It’s similar to an idea on which I’ve been ruminating a lot in recent months. It provided much for me to think—and write—about.
So basically, this week of ROW80 has started out swimmingly. I’ve written two nights out of three, and it’s not been too much of a struggle to get myself to sit down at the paper. I’m also blogging more, which I consider neither positive nor negative but rather just a sign that I’m writing more otherwise. For me, writing begets writing, a connection I discovered when I did NaNoWriMo in 2010. I would write 1667 words (give or take) in an afternoon and then blog in the evening. Every evening. And it seems to be working that way again. I’m not sure why this is, but it’s familiar and comforting and reassuring to me, and I’ll take it.