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A few months ago, I was on a Zoom call with one of my favorite podcasters/authors and two other people. He was hosting 90-minute zoom calls to help people “get unstuck.” It worked for me!
We were talking about my Be More Journal which had just released into the world, and he was asking me thoughtful questions about the whys and wherefores related to the creation and ideas behind the journal. I’m not sure how it happened, but I said something about a strong, underlying belief or maybe an invitation personally to “smaller and deeper.” There was a shift in the energy of the entire call at that moment. Rob (Rob Bell, the podcaster and author I like) said, “Wait a minute, you are telling me that you write Haiku- 17 syllable poems – of course, smaller and deeper seems to be not just words but how you live! Why didn’t you name your journal and your work smaller and deeper? I was stunned that within 20 minutes of talking to me, a stranger was able to see a theme that I had missed.
After that call and epiphany, I began to explore the theme of smaller and deeper through the medium of Haiku. How better I reasoned to learn about these two words, ideas, and concepts than through the intentional practice of creating the narrowest frame possible.
Smaller and Deeper is an ancient invitation.
“The only Commandment I ever obeyed — ‘Consider the Lilies.”
―Emily Dickinson, The Letters Of Emily Dickinson
Jesus and Emily Dickinson, remind us to “consider the lilies.” Lilies, simple flowers, wild or domestic, simple. Yet when we slow down, look closely, look deeply, look thoughtfully, the lily holds wonders. Smaller and deeper is a reminder to see the small details, to embrace the small impact, to pause and celebrate small.
It’s also about looking deeper. Deeper means (to me) slow thinking about ideas. Mining the depths of ideas, beliefs, and relationships before jumping to conclusions. Deeper is an invitation to see beyond the surface. To move with a little less speed and with a little more intention.
Smaller and Deeper is countercultural.
When I’ve tried out the phrase and ideas with some groups of people, I get robust and immediate push back, “No!” “That’s not how you build a platform.” “That doesn’t make any sense.” And yet, others breathe a sigh of relief, let their shoulders down and take a deep breath when I’ve tried out the idea of smaller and deeper. I’ve found these words are polarizing. They create a strong response, either positive or negative.
We live in a world that tells us bigger is better. Somehow as a culture, we started to measure our worth, our impact, our value by followers, friends, and likes. Smaller and deeper echos in my heart as a reminder that there is beauty in small moments. It’s a reminder impact comes personally through meaningful relationships, not through platforms and Facebook posts.
Smaller and deeper has echoed in my soul for years. I’m embracing it. Smaller and deeper, I’m letting my soul lead. It feels ancient AND countercultural at the same time.