Welcome to the Mystic Routine activity book series
This Mystic Routine series begins where a book I fell in love with back in my 30s--The Mystic Heart by Wayne Teasdale (2001)--ended for me. Brother Wayne, a Catholic monk, centered on the common core of religions around the world and of science: on the interspirituality of all faith traditions, social justice, and science. I don't share his faith but I like his style. So, standing on his spacious shoulders, and with so many others, I've spent decades centering on a core attribute within living beings and fluid groups of living beings--on our remarkable interconnectedness at moments of wonder, generosity, creativity, grief, stillness, and playfulness; in community; and in our unending capacity for surprise and delight even within the day to day. Our remarkable capacity for surprise and delight sometimes even within the days we're not sure we'll survive or that we even want to. There are many names for this spacious core. I call this space unshaken wonder. And recognize that often the people whose eyes shine brightest with unshaken wonder are also those who've been shaken far, far worse than I have been in this life.
I've written books before. Eight before these actually. And. Activity books are something else entirely. They come from a place of living, and deeply believing, that my words serve me well, and your own words serve you better than mine do. With that in mind, these activity books center, celebrate, and record--if you'd like--your own unique story and journey to support Adult You Today as you continue to live in this world, bring your fears into proper perspective, and as you encounter and meet other yous. Like Kid You. Creator You. Imaginary You. Control Freak You. Powerful You. Forest You. Shattering You. I Can't Handle This You. Wacky You. Wonder Woman You. Full of Rage You. Tear the Walls Down You. Mourning You. Transitioning You. Ocean You. Neighbor You. For me, it's together--with all of our Yous present and welcome--when I rest most deeply, play well, and feel like the whole me is present. It's from this place of being our whole selves together that we naturally remember and re-prioritize who we really are, more easily see what we really love, and become capable, again, of being surprised and delighted by what we see, explore, learn, believe, and can now be.
These books exist to support interested adults in surfacing and documenting personal stories and experiences that hold the promise to land us and those we touch in Playful, Gracious, Powerful, and Generous-of-Spirit Elderhood.
- Wander in. Now is a time for getting good and lost. These activity books invite you to lose yourself for a while. Wandering in is so important, I suspect because it means that only people ready for this or meant to be here now, show up here.
- Get curious and wonder. I have only one thing to say for sure about these activity books: they helped Adult Me figure out who I am and what I’m doing here during the worst years of my adult life. They held me together by allowing me to fully fall apart. I learned that I’m a person who finds myself through creation. I’d written activity books #1 through #6, and it was only sometime in the middle of #7 that I realized that I’m a mystic. What? I am someone that nobody I knew personally could name or fully warn me about. A mystic is a being who goes all in on Wonder, Awe, and Mystery. That’s me. I’m many other things too—herbalist, tree listener, essayist, poet, author, home canning instructor, gardener, aunt, sister, daughter, friend, partner, dog mom, Alzheimer's care partner, neighbor, SciFi and Murder Mystery fan. Also, Midwesterner + Pacific Northwesterner who dwells on an island long held by the Salish Sea, her trees, and her people. Also, middle-aged white woman and rage- and love-filled voter (who has struggled with being more love filled than rage filled during the past few years--hello total political chaos + menopause together!). Also, Chief Poeting Officer and Managing Partner of a small business run by a handful of humans, two dogs, two cats, 22 trees, and several dozen wild birds, deer, and rabbits, because if I have to do capitalism, then, friends, I must have at least 22 trees, 2 dogs, 2 cats, and several dozen wild creatures to guide us. I only have the internal space to listen to a few humans, because the rest of the universe beckons and fills me up. Today, mystic is the only single word that can contain me. So weird. And wonderful. And—what's that now?—powerful. Eck, there's a scary word. Which leads me to wonder… What’s your word?
- Find your word (aka, your life boat for this time). Warning: Given that I lean toward mystery and away from certainty, “apparently” and "probably" are as certain as I get, most days, friends. So, this series probably exists to help you find the one word that contains your whole self at the moment (what I think of as your own life boat for this chaotic time) during this time of chaos, personal struggle, anger, violence, dangerous weather and climate change, extreme poverty and wealth, violent crack downs on humans demanding justice, too-busy-ness, illness, anxiety, apathy, addiction, disconnection, families coming apart, suicide bombers and mass shooters, indigenous women going missing, children in cages at our boarder, the elderly being abandoned, sex trafficking, friendships ending, and a virus laying waste to precious, irreplaceable, loved people around the world. I have zero interest in you finding or becoming my word, that's not what the mystic routine is about. I suspect the world (or God if you prefer) wants you to find your word. My word—the word mystic—still scares me a bit, and thrills me too, and it holds me in the loss and sorrow and pain of right now, which seems to indicate that this was my word to find now. Being a mystic makes wonder and wondering my words to plant within every person I meet, seed I drop, and every footstep, naturally, in my wake. It’s just who I am, so it’s what I do even without trying. A few years ago when my extended family was falling apart, and my parents were really struggling, and I had almost no income of my own, and then my partner lost his job, and we were going to lose our home at the exact same time as I had to move across the country to help my parents for several months, I wrote the words "A poet is paid in wonder." at the end of a poem. That was me remembering me. Me demanding me through all the pain and the darkness. I love those words. So I wonder... What do you love? What do you do naturally, when left to your own devices? What do you leave in your wake without even trying? What words can you pull up and out of your recent past that you dearly love? Upon reflection, what have you always demanded, even when you didn't realize it? These activity books want to know.
- Grieve (give + receive solace). It's rarely spoken of directly, but it's always present because I/my people always need it: these activity books help people grieve. Whether it's the loss of a loved one you can't imagine living without, the loss of a country or history or people or freedom or ability you thought you knew and could count on, or the eyes-wide-open naming of who you are right now (which means letting go of what you're holding on to that isn't really you and isn't really serving anyone anymore), loss means grief and grieving. My people (not all people) tend to give up on leaning on human emotions, leaning on the natural world, leaning on ancestors, leaning on wonder and our kid selves, and even leaning on each other. Grieving together returns us to ourselves, so grieving openly is invited and welcome here and making space for grief is part of our every movement here. You don't grieve alone here. Here, your grief, and you, are always held.
- Return to your collective self. In the moments that we recognize that our full, whole, true, unique, flawed, angry, hilarious, wonderful, raging, grieving, loving, cursing-like-a-sailor-these-days presence is a gift the world wants us to give, it feels easier to return to moving in the world as a fluid collective self. A self comfortable with using the word "we" now and then without worry or thought, in addition to the "I" and "me" my people too easily fall back on. I don't speak for the world. I won't even speak for a spider or a tree or a dog anymore--I'd rather stay silent and feel the warmth of their presence. And. I suspect that our world (or God if you prefer) wants us to remember and see and call forth and celebrate and share the amazing beings that we really are, so that every being who encounters us remembers what it feels like to do the same. Remembers a different way of being, that's still in our DNA and in our bones, if not our own memories. When you find your life boat word, and the words that follow in your wake no matter where you roam, then you can still make grand plans to change the world. And. You can also just breathe and rest and live this life, aware that you're already part of a world that deeply needs and wants you here.
- Create space for others.
- Repeat as needed. :-)