Discernment is a word that comes up a lot in my world of seminary teaching and the realm of religious and spiritual leadership. I suppose it’s one of those “old” words that people assume is fit mostly for a musty old context of hallowed halls, and hushed speaking of serious clerics and men in robes with flowing beards and small spectacles.
But I think discernment is a totally rocking 2011 word with implications for the young and middle aged women I work with who are struggling with the consequences of a feminism that said “you can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan and never let HIM forget he’s a man…” How to do it all when there are 24 hours in a day, at least of few of which must be dedicated to sleep?
Discernment is surely rooted in some spiritual traditions as a listening practice for “divine” guidance of one’s gifts and vocation. But it is also, in my belief, the still small voice accessible to all that gives gravity to choices and settles the mind from the chaos of so many choices. If I pay attention to my intuition, inner-guidance, the voices of the angels, the innate wisdom of my community, my true heart…I know something differently than if I model my life solely on the expectations of a boss, child, People magazine or Ouija board.
I’m wrestling, discerning and constantly recreating my life in incremental ways. Having the witness, welcome and perspective of others in this work is wonderfully helpful. Companionship is such a gift in discernment, if you can find accompaniment by folks who can keep the focus on your questions without advice or fixing. Part of my intention and mission (personally and professionally!) is to provide that sort of walking with…through the practice of writing, which we don’t exactly do while walking, except in the metaphorical sense. And noticing metaphors that recur…what a gift in discerning our deepest dreams and desires!
Writing prompt: When I listen deeply I hear…When I see clearly I notice…Reaching out I feel…The taste of my joy is like…The perfume of my deepest purpose reminds me…