I happened upon Henriette Klauser’s book, With Pen in Hand: the Healing Power of Writing, at the library last month.
I think every other page is dog-eared to mark another poignant “I’m so with you, sister!” statement from her text. In talking about why writing heals, she writes about a man talking about Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, Ignatius of Loyola:
“Ignatius teaches how to hold the light and the darkness together…How do you hold a crying baby; how do you dress a wound? You take time and reverence. That’s what I mean by ‘holding.’ It’s okay to hold your grief [and I’d add your questions!]–not hang on to it, but, in Dutch theologian Henri J.M. Nouwen’s image, hold it with open hands. That’s our humanity.”
I think I’ve been doing a lot of that lately. This last year. Holding light and dark moments, cradling questions. And sometimes the holding with open hands has been challenging (just ask my friends, my hubby, or my coach!); I’ve wanted to push, pull, prod, whatever I could do to move through the holding; it sometimes felt so heavy.
I love the distinction made in this quote about holding versus hanging, too. Hanging feels like such a struggle, doesn’t it? Kinda like pushing. And holding feels like love. And trust.
I started reading this book as a reference for some work I am doing on using expressive arts in healing work. I keep finding myself in conversation with other coaches, advocates and therapists about how our work might shape-shift to create a broader scope of access for others to find help and healing. Exciting stuff. And, as I read this book, so much of it applies to my own journey of renewal, too. Which is part of the conversation we are having. We are all in this together…this journey of healing and growing and asking and holding. Living.
And so for all the pieces I am holding today–the questions I have about my parenting, the unfinished writing projects, the fear that a grant proposal won’t be chosen…as well as the joy in a yummy supper and the squeeze of bedtime hugs–I will say yes to it all. The light and the dark. The holding over time and with reverence and trust.
And as for that yummy supper? I found this beautiful salad recipe at 101 Cookbooks to try tonight along with a green salad fresh from our CSA delivery! Isn’t this gorgeous?