Practicing Discernment: No. 24 of 40 Forts
At this point in the forts, I hit my stride and began to realize how important and relevant the practice was in my life. Just in the last week I had faced the frustration of the mommy wars, then took a look at immigration, and found immense joy in who I’m destined to become. The little messages I found in each fold were magical. It reminded me of a Sunday School study we had a couple of years ago called Practicing Discernment.
Tonight when I was discussing the title of this fort with Henry, he questioned my use of the word. Am I using it correctly? I don’t know. I just recall how it was used for the class. He suggested what any good editor would suggest. Look it up on Dictionary.com. Hmmm… I never think to do that. Good thing I am married to him.
dis·cern·ment?/d??s?rnm?nt, -?z?rn-/ Show Spelled[dih-surn-muhnt, -zurn-] Show IPA
1. the faculty of discerning; discrimination; acuteness of judgment and understanding.
2. the act or an instance of discerning.
1580–90; < MF discernement, equiv. to discern(er) to discern + -ment -ment
1. judgment, perspicacity, penetration, insight.
Insight… perfect synonym. These little forts provide insight into what is really important to me. They helped me synthesize my day. After weeks of creating them, I found that the forts began feeling transformational. It was time to pay homage to the process itself. When I folded up the fort to reveal the image of the message in the bottle on the front of the fort, a small message also rang along the side of the base.
…ve got a message for you.
I especially love the ambiguity of the message. Is it we’ve got a message for you? Or I’ve got a message for you?
If you look at the backside of the fort, a small note is unfurled, as if you were inside of the bottle. It reads:
Each fold led her to revealing messages about herself.
As part of the class, we read a book Sleeping with Bread: Holding What Gives You Life. The book is super simple and instructs you to end each day with the following two questions:
For what moment today am I most grateful? For what moment today am I least grateful?
The title of the book comes from the following story on the first page.
During the bombing raids of WWII, thousands of children were orphaned and left to starve. The fortunate ones were rescued and placed in refugee camps where they received food and good care. But many of these children who had lost so much could not sleep at night. They feared waking up to find themselves once again homeless and without food. Nothing seemed to reassure them. Finally, someone hit upon the idea of giving each child a piece of bread to hold at bedtime. Holding their bread, these children could finally sleep in peace. All through the night the bread reminded them, “Today I ate and I will eat again tomorrow.” (Linn, Dennis et al, Sleeping With Bread, p.l)
It is also based on St. Ignatius’ Reflection Experience.
I have not kept up this practice of asking the questions each day over the last couple of years. But creating a piece each day did remind me of that same process. Each fort was not a deliberate take on the questions of what gives me life or takes it away from me. But somehow it was a reflection on what I was thinking about or issues that were about to arise. Sometimes I deliberately created pieces based on the activities. Other times I was drawn to ideas subconsciously. That is the power of art. It always has a way to work through your subconscious without you even realizing it. It is the best therapy you can ever have.
In addition to the incredible weather, today I am grateful for feeling productive. This morning we delivered yard sale items to the church. We went home for a nap, which didn’t happen. So I moved on to our next errand early, to aim for an even earlier afternoon nap. We ran to the mall for lunch and an exchange. Back home for a nap. Lucy slept in her stroller while I worked on my piece for Melanie. She woke up still fussy, so I ended up having my own nap. After that we went to the studio, worked a little before heading to the farmers market. By the end of the evening, I left with a bouquet of peony buds thinking I love my life. Lucy and I stopped to blow some bubbles, although it was a little windy. Then we went to visit the cats over at Rocky’s. Lucy was brave enough to pet Calvin on her own. It was a great day.
Maybe it helped that I have started writing in my journal each night before bed. Plus I have prioritized my days this week, so that I am able to accomplish my tasks in between naps. Just mapping out my week has made a huge difference. I sometimes get caught on the computer or in the library not knowing what to do next. My lack of prioritization has probably left me floundering when I could have accomplished more.
On the other hand, I am least grateful for the fact that I haven’t showered today and my bedroom is a disaster. But we are still working on it. I guess I should throw in there that Lucy is cutting her top front tooth, as well.
If you are intrigued by the practices in Sleeping with Bread, I found a blog where you can share your experience each Monday.
This paper sculpture, roughly the size of a coffee cup, is one of forty forts I created during Lent 2010 as a creative exercise and spiritual exploration.
Previous: When I Grow Up: No. 23 of 40 Forts
Next: Putting It On the Back Burner: No. 25 of 40 Forts