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I’ve just come away from a three day writing retreat. It will take time to see the lasting impact. It’s a process. Three days surrounded by a genuinely loving, encouraging, supporting group of writers, like my WordPress community here.

It was over lunch with a friend this week that I began to connect to what I’d experienced. She asked me about my writing. She is a writer who is ready to truly believe she is a writer.

“The only way I can write is to be connected to the Dance,” I said, implying a noun. not a verb. “It moves inside me, I can’t ignore it. There’s a nudge, an inner prompt, a stirring. I have to listen and follow or I become unhinged, a bit claustrophobic. I have to create something.” She nodded.

The Dance is of me, but not from me, more like a message I’ve been given to deliver. But I’m never sure to whom. I’ve never known my niche and the retreat affirmed, among so many other things, I don’t have to. No niche. What a relief.

The words don’t usually come without pain. A dancer understands this. And Love is always present. It overpowers doubt and fear.

“Is it like painting a picture for you?” she leaned in.

“A picture may inspire the words, then the words inspire the picture. It’s more about the movement and rhythms within.” Like sap moving within a tree, it’s like this for me.

Beneath the bark of the tree, the sticky sweetness accumulates by the process of photosynthesis. Mixed with water and nutrients brought up from the roots, sap provides fuel for the tree and for others to grow and thrive. Birds come and peck holes to get at it, squirrels break off the fragile tips of branches. Disease can cause the tree’s life-giving sap to drip out, stealing its vibrancy. There’s always something trying to interfere.

The farmer will pierce the vascular transporting tissues by drilling a hole to tap the sap to be collected in buckets just as God can break through the many layers I have accumulated to protect myself.

Writing is like being tapped for sap. We have this Fuel within us, we have Wisdom, but it’s not easy, this journey in. The accumulated layers of perceived protection must be drilled through to get to the truth. All has to be surrendered—all trauma and guilt, the shame hiding there, stubborn will. Fear pecks, doubt pricks.

The Dance is the Treasure, the sweetness of healing and resurrection to be lifted up to lift up another. So we allow the drill to fill a bucket.

Why do we resist? It takes time, this “photosynthesis”, the conversion of Light energy. Water rises from our roots, the work of the Spirit—the Dance. Some say the sap is like the blood of a tree. There must be Blood. And Love.

Pierced by the Farmer, pouring out our true selves, to fuel as we’ve been Fueled. The sweet Sacrifice necessary to transform the bitter. These piercings, the drilling through our accumulated layers, the blood spilled, are just a part of the page.

Because we are meant for more than standing tall and proud like the Maple trees. But like the Maple trees, with their taps for sap and winged fruits, we learn to become an offering.


Thank you, Anne Lamott, Julia Cameron, Jacob Nordby, Sam, Claire and all. To each who spoke and spoke up, you are jewels.

Thank you Unsplash photographers who filled in because our leaves have only just begun to change.

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