Early in her book Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert describes an activity a friend had her do while she was waiting to hear from her lawyer about whether her husband finally signed their divorce papers or not. She was feeling tortured by the whole drawn out, painful experience, and just wanted to be free. Her friend encouraged her to write a “petition to God,” and once she had written down what it was she really wanted, she gave Elizabeth permission to summon signatures from all the people she could think of who would be in support of her plea. After naming close friends, family, colleagues, and so on, the list became wider, until lots of people from her life or from the world at large virtually signed her petition. Of course, in true cosmic fashion, minutes later she got the call that her divorce was final.
I started listening to this book on my iPod again while at the gym the other morning, and it occurred to me that there were one (or two, or three) things in my life where I was feeling lost about, and that this might be an interesting exercise to try. (I re-frame is as “petitioning the Universe” only because that’s the term I particularly feel comfortable with, after 12 years of Catholic school ruined me for the word “God”, though in theory I recognize it’s all the same.)
It may be obvious, but I’ve never had trouble writing, so I opened up to a new page in my journal and just started writing. In about a page and a half, I spilled my guts. I wrote about things I felt tortured about, and asked for help. My last free-flow statement was, “help me find some way, some answer, some light.”
And then it got weird.
I heard an answer, and I wrote it down. Not really a tangible, “do this thing now” kind of answer, but an answer nonetheless. I argued. And something responded. Two parts of me, having a dialog, back and forth. Sounding like a stubborn child and a patient adult. A lost friend, with another gently and supportively putting her back in her place, making her realize what’s in her control and what’s not. Reminding her of things along the way that she’d forgotten. Encouraging her to have faith, to trust, and believe that the answers will come. And that she MUST wait for them, must be patient.
Then the writing just naturally stopped. The child part didn’t have any other counterpoints, and there was nothing further coming through.
Methinks I need to do this more often.