Remember when we were talking about inner wisdom, and how it it’s built on all the ways that love can feel?
This is (part of) the story of 7 Tiny Offerings, which was built just this way.
It started with a quote from Jorge Luis Borges. “…when I began to write, we never thought about the success or failure of a book. What’s called “success” now didn’t exist at that time. And what’s called “failure” was taken for granted. One wrote for oneself and, maybe, as Stevenson used to say, for a small group of friends.”
Actually, it started long before that, seeded by many moments all along the way. It might have begun when Maggie said “You should write a book, Mel.” Or when Paty asked me to write one of my pieces out by hand. Maybe it was when I read Tristin Miller’s tiny, beautiful ‘zine. Or when Kristin spoke about paying tribute to our privilege by doing what we can’t not do: “how could we do less?” When Wren said “Ideas are easy. Making things is hard.” It might have happened in one of the formative conversations I’ve had with any one of you. When I pulled Corina Dross’ card (which led me to Borges.) Or a few years ago, when my spouse, the writer, first called me by that title; when the practice of making blessings for myself and others took root.
A book. “No,” I said to Maggie. Until recently, it had not occurred to me, despite the mountain of words I’ve left online and the entire rocky ranges I’ve written privately. Not now, when my work has rearranged itself to be completely intangible – taking place only in real time, in the faces and bodies of my clients, or this moment when you’re reading my words in the ether. Certainly not now, when my diploma in bodywork is requiring so much more than I ever anticipated.
I was on a morning walk, where I feel my body and sense my environment rather than running through it; where I shake some things loose, let myself be, and come home with some token: A leaf. A flower. An eggshell. I place it on a makeshift altar, a tiny offering to the forces of destruction and creation, the value of devotion, the idea that the obstacles are the path. I don’t always walk consistently, but in this case, I had been walking every day. One morning, in the endless stream of internal background noise, the phrase “7 tiny offerings” flowed in and stopped. A book of blessings. Yes. It blinked open its eyes and sharpened its gaze. It grabbed my heart. Falling in love, this is what it feels like.
After the walk, I pushed it aside, bruised – I hadn’t enough time or energy, look at all the beloved projects I’ve already had to put on hold, all the work waiting to be done, all the people I’ve not seen or talked to in far too long. How in the world did I think I could add a book, even a “tiny” book to that stack of growing proof that I am failing?
The next day, I stumbled on Borges (and Stevenson’s) words above, “One wrote for oneself, and maybe, for a group of one’s friends.” Again, my whole body responded, with that love for something that didn’t yet exist. Something made for me and for you and for all the many connecting threads we weave together. Made for that love itself, what it has grown to mean to me, and how I am growing into it.
I forgot about work and I wrote for hours. I crawled into my bed late, and out of it early. I discarded the whole of the prior day’s work and began again, settling into the hum in my hands and warmth in my chest that I notice when something is real, true, necessary. Why we make something matters. The physical feeling of the making matters. When I can sense my body, the background noise dims. When it feels like love, I know there is some deeper part speaking to, or through me.
That day, 7 Tiny Offerings stepped out of my heart and into my hands. And the humming grew when my hands instinctively reached out to place it in yours. I never planned to make this small book, but now that it is made, it has it’s own life, it’s own purpose. My dearest hope is that these blessings and the practices contained within support and nourish you, that they enrich your journey, that they help you come home to yourself, in the same way that they have done for me.