Drop the expectations; give it time to complete the whole process; make “errors” or the unexpected part of the process.
I have always loved surrounding myself with walls holding spiritual wisdom. When I was in high school, a poster reminding me that, Today is the first day of the rest of your life, was displayed alongside an image of Olympic swimmer, Mark Spitz, in all his seven-gold-medal splendor—each in its own way a reminder that every morning brought with it the promise of new life, new beginnings, new chapters for me to create about myself and my life. (A precocious friend at the time commented on my tendency to surround myself with words of inspiration and encouragement, noting that I was like the woman in the Dorothy Parker poem, “Interior,” who lives with “mottoes on the wall.”)
That focus hasn’t changed much in the forty years that have passed since then. I look around my office today and see similar themes: an embellished collage exhorting me, in Gandhi’s words to, Be the change you wish to see in the world; a painted quotation on glass from the Buddha encouraging me: Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds. Shine!
Though the spectrum of what words of wisdom have fed me spiritually through the years has deepened—ranging in my early twenties from a Bruce Springsteen lyric (It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive!) to, in my mid-fifties, a Tolstoy quotation (Grow spiritually and help others to do so. It is the meaning of life.)—having visual representations of inspirational words around me has remained a constant practice. It is a way to keep my intentions before me and to remember what’s most important to me; it encourages me, on a daily basis, to be mindful of the potential that each day holds for transformation; and it reminds me, in the words of poet Emily Dickinson, to, dwell in possibility.
Inner Inquiries for Journaling and Reflection
- What spiritual sayings—or mottoes—have heart and meaning for me right now? In what ways am I living up to those words (or not living up to them)?
- What words would I like to share as an inspirational saying? What message is it that I most want to impart to the world?
DIY: Crafting a Spiritual Wisdom Wall Hanging
If you, too, are nourished by actually seeing the letters and words that comprise a favorite piece of spiritual wisdom, then there are a number of ways that you can create a wall hanging. Whether paper or fabric, collaged or assemblaged, beaded or built, your spiritual wisdom phrase will inform—and be informed by—the materials you choose.
(by Maggie Oman Shannon)