About 10 years ago I wrote a lovely little book called The Seven Whispers, Spiritual Practice for Times Like These. It’s a little gem: a hundred pages long, seven essays on the common sense spiritual wisdom that guides my life. The book hasn’t yet reached its full audience, is kind of an orphan out there since it doesn’t espouse any particular religion, but instead invites people to discover their own daily patterns for staying connected to guidance. I’ve never met anybody who didn’t love it. I reread it the other day, and I love it, too.
- Maintain peace of mind.
- Move at the pace of guidance.
- Practice certainty of purpose.
- Surrender to surprise.
- Ask for what you need and offer what you can.
- Love the folks in front of you.
- Return to the world.
When nearing the finish line of writing, I remember calling my editor and saying, “Hey Jason… funny thing happened at the end of the book… there’s another whisper coming… what do you think?”
He discouraged me from adding to the list. “Seven is kind of a spiritual number,” he said, “It has a ring to it that “The Eight Whispers” just doesn’t have.” I let it go. From a marketing standpoint, he was probably correct. But I snuck the phrase in the book, even without naming it, and it has been a profound practice of mine ever since.
The eighth whisper is: Notice how help comes.
I’ve written that phrase in my journal dozens of times to remind myself to keep looking about for the ways that the world is trying to help me carry this strenuous and usual work forward in the world—stewarding the increasing emergence of The Circle Way; creating space for storytelling and storycatching, holding onto the foundational values of my life while negotiating a wildly chaordic environment. (Chaordic, the creative space where chaos and order swirl together and make something new.)
Notice how help comes… a tiny email that opens a large opportunity or relationship.
Notice how help comes… a phone call that leads to needed work.
Notice how help comes… a meeting that leads to support beyond expectation.
I need all the Seven Whispers, and as the world moves crazily on this year I am more and more attuned to the need for noticing how help comes, and for how I can offer help to others. On an intimate scale, help is how we make place for one another, how we experience being seen and belonging. It’s a great daily practice of giving and receiving.