It only takes 10 minutes

I’m glad I went. Despite the obvious of what should be done or could be done, I went. The universe opened up into a string of occurrences that pointed me in the direction of risk, adventure, and vulnerability. It’s Mother’s Day. I know that this space would be better suited for an ode, advice, or memories. As I reflect on my post, it is my mom who instilled this spirit in me. I’ve continued the spirit in the raising of my daughters and grand-daughter. The spirit of live now, take risks, and do the uncomfortable.

String of Occurrences

A friend of mine reached out to ask about writing classes. I gave her some online suggestions that included Master Class. After sending her the suggestion, I remembered that I needed to take the time to go back to my online writing class with Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell shared a story of his family’s love for puzzles. He encouraged us to see and feel the unanswered in writing. A puzzle has all the pieces that we put together, and, in the end, we marvel at the finished landscape. We marvel so much at the finished that we can purchase puzzle glue to permanently save our work.

Writing baffles us when things are left undone and puzzle pieces are missing.  Hopping on Facebook, I found an advertisement for a writing class in Richmond, Life In 10 Minutes. Does Facebook read our minds? How random.  I sent the link to my friend. I kept having this nagging feeling of “Anna, why don’t YOU go?” I shared with someone that my gift to myself for mother’s day was time to clean my house. She laughed, and sighed, “Oh, Anna”.  The brilliant idea became a joke. I woke up with only an hour to really make this happen.

Would I clean my house, or clean my soul?

I called the instructor. I thought to myself, “This will be the gauge. If she is frustrated with last minute people, I wont go. If she is positive and welcoming, I’ll go.” Not only was the instructor calm and kind, she extended herself. She agreed to make the extra copies even if I changed my mind, and she told me we could settle payment when I got there. Later she shared that their company’s value is “to love”.  From the moment I decided to go, my conundrum became a loving, personal consent–permission to go on a wild adventure.

The Experience

From the moment I stepped into the door, I was in the divine. A sacred place that only God could orchestrate for a soul to rest. The instructor’s voice was authentic–she wanted to be there. You have to be careful how you judge or read folks, but the older I get, you can feel when it’s a duty verses a passion. She set the stage for a lovely time that included acceptance and a sense of belonging. Six ladies from all different backgrounds and experiences sharing their soul work. I knew them. Not in the sense of we had met before, or had worked together, but in a connection so powerful that you knew you were in the right place at the right time. Everything pointed to this moment.

The teacher led the class in such a way that we grew in knowledge through reading of passages from various authors, through discussing the passages, and through pausing to write in our journals for 10 minute segments. After writing, you would read your passage. You were allowed to pass. The distinct variety of experiences, stories, and style was like a beautiful bouquet of flowers. In that bouquet, we marveled at the connections. Like a beautiful spring bouquet, we were differently intertwined drawing life-giving water from the experience.

I dared to read aloud, to write, to share, and to weep, barely getting words out. I knew there was a reason for the tissues on the table.  We were “unraveling together”.

A beautiful mantel and message in our writing room.

After your turn, you moved on to the next person. Other than the excellent feedback from the instructor that is strength-based, no one tries to fix you or rescue you. There is an understanding that the space you are writing from is a journey that only you can walk. The gift comes from others listening with a heart and mind that understands and from their willingness to share. In settings like this, I’m always overwhelmed by the presence of the Spirit in my life. How you ask a question in your mind, and how immediately the puzzled piece is answered in the questioning and unfinished work of another. You are right Mr. Gladwell. Our lives have deeper meaning when we are curious about the unanswered, and when we accept the unanswered as a gift, not an annoyance. There was a guiding presence for me that gently took my hand through a process that I never expected. I floated from my thinking brain to my emotional brain like a beautiful ballerina-dancing, leaping, and stretching her arms to extend the posture towards the heavens!

Three hours went by like a passing thought that is life-changing. As quickly as I found myself sitting in the unknown, I left heading home to the known.

“We hope to see you again!”

“Come back, Anna!”

Like old friends saying goodbye after a well-needed reunion, we parted.

The Realization

All the times my mom encouraged me to risk and led me to the unfamiliar have added up to a woman who embraces adventure, craves the uncomfortable, and will always be found fighting in the arena.  Happy Mother’s Day Louise Lloyd–You and I have experienced many adventures! To my daughters, Victoria Louise, Vivian Grace, and Valentina Parish, get up, get out, and experience the unknown. It is not in the comfort that we discover what we are made of, but in the discomfort of new adventures.


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