Hallelujah Highway

Celebrating the Journey

The Power of Revision~ Kristi

on July 17, 2013

Revision 3

Writing my stories on this blog is powerful.  Every word written is carefully selected to describe the thought.  Every sentence is deliberately structured in order to capture the connection of thoughts.  Every paragraph serves the purpose of the writing and every essay serves an intention.  Very few essays on this blog are thrown together and posted.  There are a few because:

1.) I think rawness in writing shows vulnerability, and as Dr. Bene Brown writes in Daring Greatly, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity.  It is the source of hope empathy, accountability, and authenticity.” (34)  (Ya’ll, that is why I write!)

2.) Being a single, working mom leaves me little time to be polished all the time.  I am human.  I forgive myself of the times when I show up to the blog a little disheveled because I give what I can and I am working on knowing that is enough.

When I sit down and start to bang out an essay, the writing is rough!  I am wordy!  Extremely wordy!  And, the stories I tell to support my argument include too many details.  And, the sentences are too long.  Or, too short.  And, I LOVE commas!  I over-comma everything!  And, I love conjunctions at the beginning of sentences because that is my conversational voice and conjunctions help me transition my thoughts.  Once I get the gist of the essay, I start the process of revision.

I analyze my ideas.  Do my main points and examples prove my intended point?  I evaluate my words.   Are all the words necessary and do the words say what I mean?  I assess the punctuation.  Which commas and conjunctions must go?  I scrutinize the sentences.  Which sentences can be shortened, combined, and/or put into parallel structure for effect?  I dissect my paragraphs.  Do they serve my essay’s intention?

How I write is metaphorical to how I live my life.  As I experience life, I author the stories of my memories.   I choose the words, punctuation, and sentence and paragraph structure of my memory’s stories.  I choose the meaning of the memory, how the memories transition from one another, and the significance or power this memory will have over my existence.    This has been an automatic process that gets little to no attention—until now!

For example, a year ago I wrote a piece about forgiveness.  Here it is:

~~~~~~~~

Forgiveness and Redemption?

I wonder about forgiveness.  Some things are so easily to forgive, while others are not.  Spiritual teachers talk about how not forgiving someone, an event, or yourself is like drinking poison on a daily basis.  I understand that on all levels- emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual.  But, I ponder whether forgiveness is achieved only once I know the universe has corrected, or redeemed, the situation.

For example, I have had great guilt over raising my daughter in a non-traditional, nuclear family.  I was raised in a two-parent household.  Most of my cousins were raised in a two-parent household.  Most of my friends and their kids are raised in a two-parent household.  While I am supported beyond measure by my family and friends, I have struggled with forgiving myself for raising a daughter in a predominately single-parent household.

The guilt has been magnified in the conversations with my daughter about her family over the last year.  She wonders why her family looks different.  She wonders why mommy and daddy cannot live in the same household.  I feel guilty for needing to work multiple jobs in order to keep and maintain the material possessions through one of the longest recessions I have ever lived through.  Working this much has put an added burden on my daughter as she doesn’t get the extra quality time with her mom that she deserves, and the time spent together is with a tired, stressed out, overworked, and overwhelmed mom who was at wit’s end.

I have been to counseling.  I have received advice from child psychologists about how to make this situation easier for my daughter who is cognitively very literal and doesn’t understand the grey areas of life yet.  On a logical level, I know that I am not the only one who is raising a child in a non-traditional family.  In fact, our family is becoming more of the norm.  I get that.  I understand that.  Yet, there is still a part of me that will not let go of the guilt until I make it right.  I am seeking redemption.  I question whether that final step in forgiveness will come once I find the “traditional” family setting for myself and for my daughter.  I wonder if I will be able to stop sipping from the cup of poison of unforgiveness once I find that man with whom I can build a life and family.  Then, I feel guilty for placing this burden and pressure upon my next mate and relationship.  Ahhhh, the vicious cycle continues…

I don’t have answers.  My heart’s prayer is to show me the way to forgiveness.  Every time I step onto my yoga mat or do spiritual work, I open this space of dark, heavy unforgiveness to the Light of the Holy Spirit.  I have done this for years and will continue to until all that is left is love and light.  Yet I wonder: Does some forgiveness come once I understand that the situation has corrected itself?  Or, is it an excuse of my ego, my need to control, and/or my need to understand so I don’t full surrender to the divine gift of forgiveness and unconditional love?

~~~~~~~~

When I read this post from a year ago, I hear a story of guilt.  I identified myself with these stories:

  • My family is broken because my daughter lives is a one parent household.
  • Working and handling business in order to support my daughter is damaging her.
  • I need a man in order to “complete” the family because I am not enough by myself.

A year later, I know this is not true.  These are the stories of brokenness and they kept me from accepting all the blessings in my life.  I am not broken and neither is my life.  I realize:

  • My family, which consists of many friends who I consider to be family, is amazing and filled with love.  I am blessed to leave so many situations feeling connected and supported.  Her dad and I do the best we can to co-parent.  We are able to be in the same room.  We can have conversations with one another.  We are as peaceful as our situation will allow.  Our extended families get along and admire each other.  This is dramatically better than some.
  • My working and handling business is modeling for my daughter how to balance a career and family.  I am showing her that she can have a career and family with a lot of hard work and that is pretty bad-ass.  I am showing her the importance of being self-reliant because you never know when life will require you to be so.
  • Dude!  I had the opportunity to get married if I wanted to mold myself into what that marriage would have required.  On some level, I knew that marriage would have left me unfilled.  A year ago, I courageously risked losing a relationship that was “secure” to find an EXTRA-ordinary love because I deserve it.

In “The Holding Pattern,” I described how God was asking me to sit down and do some deep, deep internal work.  God put many of my dreams and visions on hold so that I would examine my thought patterns and the stories I was telling myself.  Monique’s “Honesty” piece asked me to get really, really honest, and I did.  This year has taught me that sometimes forgiveness washes the guilt away quickly.  Sometimes forgiveness is about revision.  It is about choosing the words you use to describe your life carefully.  It is about structuring the sentences in a way that deliberately leaves room for the idea of healing and growth to enter.  It is about re-writing the paragraphs of my life in a way that identifies the purpose for the suffering and then writing the essay in a way that focus on the lesson—not the drama.

Forgiveness is not about redemption—it is about believing that life is bigger than a damaging story. Once a story is released, there is nothing left to forgive..  Forgiveness is inviting the voice of love in more often than the voice of criticalness and guilt.  It is about unlocking the powerful shackles of a damaging narrative through revision.  This is a moment-by-moment process and requires great mental awareness as the damaging narrative is a well-grooved mental rut. 

Life is about being present and living life with a wide open heart.   It is about writing events into a narrative, experiencing the karma, or consequences, of that narrative, and healing your life through the power of revision.

Hallelujah for the power of revision! 

Revision 4

 


One response to “The Power of Revision~ Kristi

  1. […] The Power of Revision~ Kristi […]

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