I don’t know about you, but I have no idea where January went. Time certainly feels to be moving fast and furious. The weather, here in Atlanta, mirrors this – January thunderstorms and rains that feel like spring.
One of the reasons why January flew by for me is that I dove into writing my first book, “Awakening Awareness”. Wow! Every day is new as I move between my mind and my creative spirit – creating outlines and discovering that writing has a flow and spirit of its own, beyond the outline. I’m amazed at how quickly the days move and how full they feel in the quiet of home and the click of the computer keys.
As I was sharing this with a friend, he asked “How many words are you writing each day?” I chuckled and responded with a question “Are you asking about the number of words I write or the ones I keep?” (I think back about the earlier blog – “Where’s the Eraser” – and all the lines I draw before I get to the drawing’s final line.) I was grateful for this question because it was as if my own mind, trained to live in the world of planning and goal setting, planted the question.
I had to answer that I had no idea – some days many words appear on the screen; other days those words transform into different words or are relegated to the earlier draft. Still other days, words appear on outlines, as note cards for chapters not yet started. And then, there are the moments when words appear as pictures, poems, and quotes.
It is comforting to see my creative spirit in charge at this point and watching her and my mind open a new channel of creating together. How can I tell? Simple. By looking at my dining room table – full of books, journals, outlines, small and large pieces of paper, water glass, cup (coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon), a candle, and 2 day-at-a-glance calendars (one with the daily cat and one of Zen sayings).
There is an office upstairs – open, full of light. For now, it feels separate – the seeming chaos of the dining room table has a cadence of beauty and connection. Often I find myself fixing dinner or emptying the dishwasher and an idea – new or a synthesis of what I have just written – appears. I rush to the computer or my journal to record what just came in and then, it feels like Christmas all over again as I’m eager to see what the new idea is all about and where it fits. Whoosh. Hours – gone. Happily.
Just so you know, my extroverted spirit is getting plenty of opportunity to participate in the world. Last Sunday, I led a leadership retreat for a student organization at Georgia Tech. I’m on the Advisory Board of this one-year old group called Enterprise 2 Empower (En2Em). They are phenomenal in what they are doing to open students to the possibilities of social entrepreneurship. There are 12 students on the leadership team and their stable of ideas could fuel the organization for the next 20 years. With their founder and leader graduating in the spring, they wanted to create focus for their vision.
The dining room table was my inspiration to begin – not to create chaos particularly – rather to open the spaces of their imagination in a flowing, creative exercise. When the students came into the room, opening their computers, I asked them to put the computers away. Whew – goodness – eyes beaming heresy until they saw drawing paper, hundreds of colored pencils and pencil sharpeners on the table.
Through drawing, they opened their imaginations to En2Em’s possibilities and through that, we found an operating version of their vision. We then moved into a modified “World Café” format to share, discuss, and create a common understanding of how to bring the vision into an operational plan.
Three and a half-hours later – 3 pizzas, pretzels, chips, cookies, popcorn, some soda and plenty of water – they had a plan. And they remembered how much they enjoy coloring and feeling forward movement as they went to get ice cream.
I trust that 2012 is off to a great beginning for you. And, as always, I am grateful that we are connected.