I'm noticing that January has brought with it a sort of sub-word with it. Over the last week the word honor has come up over and over and over in my mind.
Honoring of, first and foremost, my intuition and impulses. Such as that impulse to sew on January second when I was up to my ankles in stuff everywhere. Even so, in went Anne of Green Gables followed by the sequel. I sewed my big ole heart out that day; cut, pieced, layered, backed, finished and tied the most favorite blanket I've ever made, and that's saying something since I've made a lot, a lot of blankets. Plaid flannels -- pink, purple, black, grey and a color I'm going to call electric sky blue, all backed with denim flannel. It looks like something I would have owned in the 90's, my childhood.
Since I made it, just 8 days ago, it has protected me from chill, coaxed me into a much needed early bed times, covered me in fever and in heartache, and has begun to serve as my yoga mat. This thing is with me people. Truth be told, I think it's my blankie, well the adult version at least--I'll not be dragging it through the grocery store or anything.
I realized this yesterday, and my initial thought is, "Cripe, Anna, you're 29 and you sewed yourself a blankie?" And then the response...the one I'm getting used to this month. Honor it. So instead of going into my usual self analysis I honored the gift this blanket has given me in the 8 days it's existed.
What I was taught as a child about honor went like this: Honor God (the male, patriarchal figure). Honor your Father and Mother. In that order. God, Father, Mother. Honor, to me, meant holding something up higher than myself. It also, and more pointedly meant servant-hood, obedience, and self-effacement.
This month, though, I am learning something totally different about honor. The initial message was this: Honor what makes you feel at home with yourself.
At home with myself.
Like an assignment from heaven, there it was. I started to think about what makes me feel at home with myself. The answers seemed almost too simple, too childlike. Warmth, the relationship between the indoors and outdoors, comfort, beauty, music, poetry,and stories in the form of books, audio books, movies, myth -- no matter -- stories are my pulse, the rhythm and the mover of my life force and the best ones are the simple ones, the ones that don't try to be clever.
My initial reaction was one of resistance and feelings of self-consciousness and embarrassment. And when it became clear that I needed to honor my desire for a home, shame crept up, and another belief came out that said, "I should not desire." Honor your desire, speak your desire, came the answer. And so I am doing.
In honoring what nurtures my soul, I say to my soul, "You are worth it" instead of saying, "oh that's for children," or "these are just material objects," because, let's face it, some material objects are so much more to us than we think they ought to be -- like the childhood books that gave me shelter and awakened my individuality when I was still very young that still have the power to transport me today even though they're not classics or well-written or heralded or anything. They are sacred to me. They play a vital role in my life and I honor them in my heart. They are welcome and respected here.
In paying attention to the way I treat the things that bring me home to my Self, I have been acknowledging a more honest vision of how it is that I actually treat myself, what I actually think of myself. I've redefined honor, which was necessary for me as I continue to correct my ideas about the nature of the Divine. It has required me to do some internal rearranging, which I am still working at.
It's a good kind of work, this honoring business. It is the work of re-centering my Self, or returning my Self to her rightful place at the center where she can be supported and connected, of finally dethroning false ideas and fears. They must move to the side where they will eventually dissolve.
With this attentiveness to honoring what I am honoring, most of all, is that within all this inter-connectivity, we must, each of us, individualize. We must fulfill our callings. We must realize what is inside of us; to realize our gifts to the best of our creative ability. We must create our face and our energy and allow it to flow out into the world where it can be recognized.
In honoring what nurtures our soul, and in tending to these things--in tending our soul and it's need for them--we swell and expand and give birth over and over and over again. We fill up and run over and over and over and over and over......
Is there a word that is reaching for you lately? Popping up in your head or elsewhere over and over again? What kind of work is your soul asking you to do these days? Are you honoring it?
Anna Turner is the woman behind Little Hearth. She's an ordained interfaith minister, a writer, a believer in purposeful living and healing, a perpetual student, and a full time feminist mother.