I’m back after a whirlwind trip to the Boston area and wanting to seriously clear space so I can discern what’s next. But first I have to pay the bills, finish my daughter’s high school applications, grade 26 papers, email the five students with late papers, and write an overdue blog post. If I were a better housekeeper I’d probably include cleaning up the sticky red stuff on the middle refrigerator shelf, though frankly I haven’t written that on my list. I have a sneaking suspicion that as soon as I get the current list crossed off, there will be more on the pile, so I’ve been trying to say no to new requests and plan some down time.

I feel like a change is coming, though I don’t yet know what it is. I could keep plugging away at book publicity—and probably will to some degree—but doing that full time is not income generating and is starting to get old. Is one of the several book ideas in my mind going to solidify into a definite leading? Should I start writing articles for print publications that pay, as opposed to for my recent online venues, which don’t? Should I continue to travel to speak, or only do that when the pay and support are better? (My last trip was very rich spiritually, but cost a lot more than I made in book sales.) Or should I just go get a job, especially now that one has appeared that is appealing in many ways?

My logical mind and ego both want me to figure out a way to make more money. I suspect my spouse wouldn’t mind that either, though he has been very supportive of my unconventional choices. I don’t want to be ruled exclusively by these concerns, however, and really want to discern what I’m meant to do next. That requires space, time, quiet. When I teach classes on discernment, I usually list this as the first phase, clearing the soil, and I’m remembering this morning a former Pendle Hill student who lamented at the end of the ten-week term that he was still tilling the soil. Discernment is not always fast. I can’t just write “Discern what’s next” on my to-do list and expect to finish it by the end of the week.

Fortunately, I’m going to be teaching the Discerning Our Calls class at Pendle Hill again this winter, which will force me to go back and look over my books on discernment and maybe read some new ones that have come out since I taught it several years ago. They say you teach what you need to learn, and I think that’s true. I’m looking forward to doing less outer work and more inner work to prepare for the term. But first I have some papers to grade.