Ingrid Goff Maidoff - Tending Joy

Celebrating Poetry, Beauty,
& the Sacred Essence of Joy

Writing for Spiritual Guidance: on becoming still and small


(photo by Vineyard Colors)

     I sat down to write a letter the other day, to a friend who is going through a divorce.  I wasn’t sure what I should say, so I sat with my pen above the page for a little while, until I felt the warm stirring of guidance.  “You should write this:” the voice said, and I was led to put down just a few gentle words of wisdom and compassion, love and forgiveness – words that would comfort my friend: words that were not my own.

Yesterday I received an email from this friend thanking me for the letter which she said she had been reading over and over again, until she finally posted it with a magnet on her fridge.  She wrote to me that the words in that letter were more healing to her than she knew how to say.

What I realized as I read her letter is that I can’t begin to take credit for those words of love and healing.  I was only an open vessel through which they could come.  That is how it often is with writing for me- whether I am writing a book like the Honey Sutras, or Befriending the Soul,  a poem, prayer, or a letter.  It’s this realization that I want to share with you today.

There is a voice which speaks to all of us, and sometimes we can hear it.  Some call it “the still, small voice” of the spirit.  But what I’ve found is that the voice itself isn’t actually still, or small- it is a generous, numinous, loving and guiding voice- a voice we hear best when we ourselves become still and small.  It is when I make myself still- quiet, open, inviting and receptive that the voice comes.  It is when I become small, reducing my own sense of knowing, of judgment or righteousness or grandeur that the voice comes.

When we allow ourselves to become still and small, humbling ourselves before the mystery, not knowing what may come yet waiting in friendship, in receptivity, in deep listening- that is when the voice comes.  When we are willing to be an empty vessel, to surrender and be of service- when we offer our pens up as an instrument for divine guidance and healing: that is when the voice comes.

Tags: , , Posted in Writing as Sacred Practice |

5 Responses

  1. Lori says:

    I love your expansion of the concept of still, small — that it is what we need to become to hear it. This is beautiful– I can hear your soft voice speaking the words.

  2. Maryse says:

    The “bigness” of that small voice scared the heck out of me for the longest time. Now I light a candle and let it take me, gently, where I need to write. The flame reminds me of the Mystery, and the candle, straight and tall, reassures me that all is right. Beautiful post. ♥

  3. Deirdre says:

    Thank you for expressing exactly what I was forgetting to remember. Every once in awhile I think I SHOULD know what to do, and forget to be small and simple. My heart is filled with gratitude for the wonder and blessing that comes….always at the exact moment, as you say, without thought, simply by being still and listening.

  4. Jan Lundy says:

    Such a perfect post, Ingrid. I love reading how when you get your “small self” out of the way your essence/godliness comes through to guide you – and to guide others. This is so very true! And I love how you guide us, so gently with words and images that take us deeper. Yes!

  5. ingrid says:

    Thank you Lori, Maryse, Deirde and Jan, I feel in such good company with you! Here’s to deep listening, to candlelight, to the essence of spirit. xo

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