When I started this blog, I wanted to write pieces that I wanted to read. Sounds simple enough. After all, it didn’t make sense to write otherwise and expect others to read something I wouldn’t. What did I like to read? Blogs with topics and perspectives from which I could learn, explore, question, be curious about the world, life, and myself.
As a place to start, I chose topics within our common experiences – like love, home, family, travel, leaving, journeys. Then, I dove in to explore what it meant, how it felt. Like trying on a new outfit. Does it fit? How do I feel in it? Is it like other outfits in my closet or does it stretch me beyond my comfort zone?
This all seemed to be working fine until one day my writing didn’t feel right. Then this one day turned into weeks and months. It wasn’t so much about the content or topic, it was about the resonance of my voice. I wrote the words, they made sense; but like great music which touches our hearts beyond the notes, the blogs were not great. They were okay, but they didn’t touch my heart with a “Yes!”
“No problem,” I thought, as my mind rallied to solve the dilemma. “We need more focus, more discipline, a plan,” it opined. That’s what I did: meditation – to access my creative channels; reading – for inspiration and writing tips; time-on-task writing at the computer; and the all time favorite – setting of deadlines.
What happened? I had a lot to show for my work – more ideas, more words, a satisfied mind having checked the boxes on the prescribed schedule; but still, no resonance and an unused “Publish” button on the WordPress screen.
But somewhere along the way, in what initially seemed to be a diversion from writing, a new writing emerged, like a reluctant crocus on a warm spring day. I abandoned the computer and picked up the artist sketch pad. The over-sized blank pages offered my mind, heart and emotions open space to wander aimlessly through life and its paradoxes, to say what they needed and wanted to say, unconstrained, honest.
Across these pages, an intimacy slowly unfolded through words and I began to discover the truth of my experiences, real-life, real-time. David Whyte beautifully exposes this process. An excerpt…
is not what it seems… What looks from the outside like our delay…..may have more to do with a slow, necessary ripening through time and a central struggle with the core realities of any endeavor to which we have set our minds….
… Procrastination when studied closely can be a beautiful opening to the way we are, a parallel with patience, a companionable friend, a revealer of the true pattern, already, we are surprised to find, caught within us; acknowledging for instance, as a writer, that before a book can be written, most of the ways it cannot be written must be tried first, in our minds; on the blank screen on the empty page or staring at the bedroom ceiling at four in the morning…
…Procrastination does not stop a project from coming to fruition, what stops us is giving up on an original idea because we have not got to the heart of the reason we are delaying, nor let the true form of our reluctance instruct us in the way ahead.
To properly procrastinate is to be involved with larger entities than our own ideas…. and wrestle like Jacob with his angel, finding as Rilke said, ‘Winning does not tempt that man, This is how he grows, by being defeated decisively, by greater and greater beings.’
‘PROCRASTINATION’ From CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words. © David Whyte & Many Rivers Press 2015
What looked like stopping on the outside was an inner call to go deeper, within – not to find more words, but to discover the essence of what the words meant and how they felt; not in the abstract, but one moment at a time. One person at a time. One me at a time.
I don’t know how it feels for you to love, to laugh, to cry. I don’t know what smiles touch your heart, or how you calm your fears in the dark nights. But, in this winter of writing, I have come to to know how it feels to me. And, I know that in this space of feeling and knowing life intimately in our own way, we are connected. Here, we share life.
Thanks for reading,