When I began this blog at the turn of the new year, all I knew was that I wanted to write something every day, and I wanted to examine my real life experiences through the lens of yogic philosophy. I was tired of making every excuse under the sun for not writing–too tired, too busy, too…everything, so I decided the best way to avoid making excuses for not writing was to dive right in and write. A lot. Every day. For a year. Initially I felt relieved to be finally writing regularly again, but I quickly discovered that if I didn’t have a direction for this blog, then my inspiration might run out somewhere toward the middle of the year. In an attempt to give myself some needed direction, I decided to connect my work with uncovering my writing potential–creative recovery–to the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. I decided that I was going to work through one step a month, on my own (no sponsor, no group meetings) and see where this work could take me. I did quite well with that plan until April arrived and with it NaPoWriMo. My work with the Twelve Steps was put on hold as I discovered a whole new world of creative freedom–the free verse poem. Or perhaps I should say I rediscovered this world of freedom. I had written many poems in my younger years but for one reason or another I sucked that part of my creativity into a deep dark hole inside myself and kept it locked up until NaPoWriMo 2014; the daily prompts and the community of bloggers who participated really helped me to liberate the inner poet and give her some fresh air, some room to breathe, some time in the sun. And she’s glad. I’ve been writing a poem a day since then.
The decision to participate in Writing 101 came easily. NaPoWriMo had worked so well for me, that another daily blogging challenge with a community of participants and a daily prompt seemed like a great idea. I see Writing 101 as a way to continue building upon my writing by introducing fresh ideas and staying connected with a community of consciously evolving writers.
Today’s prompt was to just write:
To get started, let’s loosen up. Let’s unlock the mind. Today, take twenty minutes to free write. And don’t think about what you’ll write. Just write.
I was checking out the prompt from my phone and felt pretty excited about it. Yeah! Free write! I can do this! I opened up the laptop, brought up a new post window, and then promptly felt blocked. So I turned to my old buddy, the journal. Here’s what I wrote:
Have you missed me? I have missed you. I have missed you too, Mr. Jean-Pierre Lepine fountain pen. What made me turn to you both after nearly two weeks away, you might be asking. Well, I decided to participate in Writing 101 this month, and today is the first day, and the first assignment was to loosen up and just write for twenty minutes. I thought, “Sure, no problem, yeah, I can do stream of consciousness for twenty minutes,” but when I opened up the new post window, I felt positively blocked. I have been posting daily to my Yoga Mom blog since January 1, so it isn’t really that I feel intimidated or anything…no, it’s more that I’ve gotten into the habit of thinking about my audience when I write, trying to get in their heads, and I think a whole lot as I’m writing, and I edit and re-edit (and re-edit and re-edit) as I go, so it’s almost like I don’t know how to free write when I’m writing as Yoga Mom. But YOU, dear journal, and YOU, dear fountain pen–no sooner do I bring you two together then I feel liberated, free to let out whatever wants to get out, and I don’t think, I just write, because no one else has to see this besides the three of us. No audience, no pressure. No pressure to perform, no pressure to be exactly just so clear, no agonizing over digging that ONE PERFECT WORD out of my vocabulary memory banks. When I write in my journal, my writing brain gets a luxurious massage at a beautiful spa out in the country, with a view of majestic mountains and crystal clear blue skies.
When I’m writing in my blog, my writing brain is jumping through hoops, it’s climbing up those mountains it was staring at during the massage–it’s running uphill, it’s out of breath, it’s tired. But still it ventures on…it climbs up to the glacier, puts on crampons, grabs the ice axes and freakin’ digs in…each step lots of kicking to find stable footing, each swing of the ice axe asking for ease but being met with challenge. Air is thinner, lungs are gasping for breath, and still this brain keeps trying, trying to climb higher despite the amount of struggle involved…kicking and swinging and trying trying trying, hoping that up there on the peak there is someone who will tell me I’m as great as I think I should be…or maybe at the top there’s some kind of treasure, some reward for all of this effort…but there are no guarantees. At any point I may lose my footing. The ice might break around my axe, I’m not wearing a harness because I’m climbing solo, there is no partner keeping me on belay to catch me if I fall. The scariest part though isn’t the potential for falling–it’s the fear that I’ll finally make it up to the top after so much work, after digging into my deepest reserves of will, after summoning stamina and courage I never knew I had–
and I’ll discover that there’s nothing here, except a nice view of that spa where I could have a hot bath and nice massage, but now there are many miles between me and that comfort. I’m tired, cold, lonely, and now I have to climb back down.
And there you have it. I free wrote for twenty minutes and it felt good. Now it’s time for my daily poem, and then my evening meditation practice. Hopefully I’ll have the resolve to sit up straight and stay awake for longer than five minutes. Maybe tonight is the night I will awaken to my true nature.
Climb the mountain and then blow it down–
there is nothing to prove.
The mountain is an illusion,
and what you are seeking across hill and dale
across ocean and desert
in the forests, in the cities,
in the sun and the moon,
in every face,
in every place through all time–
It is right here, exactly where you are, always.
You need look no further than your heart.
For every question,
for every dream,
for every hope, fear, neurosis,
for every thought,
for every sorrow,
for every joy,
for every challenge,
there is one perfect response:
A full breath in and a complete breath out.
So breathe, child, and let it be.
There is no path to your destiny.
Your destiny is right here, now,
exactly where you are, always.