There tends to be a moment, a breadth of time that opens up and invites me in to write that I long for and wonder if it is always there and I just don't notice it or if it truly needs an instigator - a fire starter. What I have read about writing and what those that write have to say about the process, they say - do it every day, even if you don't feel like it. Agh. How often are we told this in life? Do it. Just do it even if you have to fight with yourself to do it. Just. Do. It. Let me ask you. Does this work? Do you follow these marching orders? I'll be honest. I do not.
I have routines and I have practices. I have intentions and I follow through. I am a passionate being, most of the time. I have shadows too. I have things that present themselves to me that I maybe thought were gone or not needing my attention any longer. Yet, I am faced with them from time to time and reminded that each day I need to make decisions. Some days this can feel as natural as swallowing food once it has been chewed. Other days it can feel like taking on a hard, grueling, intensive workout that involves pushing boulders twice my weight and size. Why is it that some days come and go in peaceful waves and other days arrive like a crash on a shoreline - demanding and loud?
I think to myself - "I have to make these decisions again?!" Why do I have to be so conscious of the need to make decisions? Shouldn't they be as simple as breathing? At least the ones that I have to make every day?! This is why we create routines and become creatures of habit because decisions take energy and energy is finite. We can't be making one decision after another all day long without feeling exhausted, fatigued, and possibly weatherworn. Some days the decisions seem easy, the choices are simple and we feel an abundance of energy to use on things of our choosing. Here is where I feel my energy get blocked or maybe bottlenecked ------ creativity. I feel like for the most part I have most decisions made and can move through my days thriving and feeling good. I do this each day with vibrancy and more than enough energy to take me through the day's activities. I practice yoga and my practice has taught me how to use my energy with discernment. It works. I have experienced firsthand how it works and love to teach it to others. However, what I have noticed for myself is that I do not hold a consistent space in my practice, in my day-to-day activities to write. The writers say I should be doing this, but I don't. I can only do so much, I tell myself. I feel like I make good decisions for myself and remind myself that I can't do it all and I certainly can't entertain the idea of writing every day without giving up something else. Giving up something else that is vital in my life and keeping me afloat with life. How can I consistently add a writing practice without giving up something else? Don't I do enough?
I read the The Artist's Way by Julie Cameron - not completely, but I did follow her advice and I took artist's dates (a few times) and wrote the "artist's pages" consistently for months. Basically you just free write for approximately 20 minutes or three pages worth of writing. It doesn't matter if you have anything to say, you just write. You could write "I don't have anything to write" over and over again until something else spills out. It always did. It is a brilliant idea. It is like therapy in which you are the therapist of your own inner being and you are coaxing it out through the fingers, through each word, unraveling, pulling back, allowing the inner being to be revealed. It can be a grueling process of boredom. After several months of this, I decided it was "okay", but it wasn't serving me in the same way that my other practices were, so I let it slip.
I write poetry at a fast rate and for awhile published it on Instagram under an account that is no longer tended to and has grown weeds and overbrush. At this point I don't look at it, but I also have not closed it. I still write poetry on occasion, but not often for other's to read. Since I have not kept space in my life for the consistent writing of poetry or free writing, there are days that splash me in the face with a demand, a reminder, that I need to write.
Why do I need to write? Why, indeed. I think for myself it is an organizational tool for my mind. My mind, as all minds do, thinks and reacts, and overthinks, and plans, and ruminates. Yoga helps this and maybe that is why I don't think writing is necessary because I've convinced myself that I've already got it taken care of. Yet - it continues to pop up if not addressed head on in the form of the written word. It'll come out of me in the form of a compulsion instead of a nice, steady awareness and natural skill - like walking. I know deep down that writing is functional so in essence it is a functional activity, like walking. It gets me from point A to point B. It organizes my ideas, my words, my meanderings and dreams in a way that nothing else does.
People might say that writing is an activity that everyone should be doing or that it is a worthwhile activity to explore. I don't disagree. However, I do wonder if it is as necessary for everyone as it might feel to me. I know there are people that might write music or play musical instruments. People that sing and people that create paintings, drawings, quilt, knit, crochet, make jewelry, and so many other cool and amazing things that I don't and I don't feel that I need to. I appreciate these skills in other people, but since they are not something that feels good or natural to everyone, I don't think people should feel pushed to include them in their life. It is wonderful to explore all of the different avenues of creativity because I truly believe that THAT is what is at the heart of the need to engage in these activities. Furthermore, when we do - we move into different brain wave states. We transition away from the beta brainwaves and into theta brainwaves where we experience a mental relaxation and a flow of ideas that are natural and different than the active mind state of beta brainwaves. Alternatively, when we meditate we are in alpha brainwaves and in practices such as yoga nidra, we can even float into delta brainwaves, experiencing the greatest amplitude and slowest frequency. If I have tickled your brain's curiosity about these different brainwave states, you can read more about them here.
Perhaps then, I am missing out on spending more time in theta brainwaves and finding that flow state where thoughts emerge through my writing instead of in the beta brainwave state where I am actively thinking and making demands on myself - on my brain to produce something, to orient me, and to do.
We spend a lot of our time doing. Do you make to-do lists? Do you use a calendar or scheduler of any kind? Do you make plans? These are all done in our beta brainwave state. Highly active, highly engaged in doing. When you close your eyes you initiate a relaxation, a downshift in your autonomic nervous system and a transition of brainwaves from beta to alpha. It is incredibly rewarding, but also necessary to your wellbeing and physical health. Remember, you are spirit having a human experience and a human being needs time being, not always doing. Whether you've studied this or not, you feel it innately. If you tune into your body's signals you know you need to back off and rest. You know you can't always be "on" and active. Yet we learn early in life to push through these natural urges to slow down and rest and power through to depletion, possibly feeling euphoric with a "second wind" and eventually maybe even a little maddened by the course of our actions that leave us feeling overly heightened and reactive.
In an effort or possibly an acceptance to find ease of being I established that domain and then built a blog and business around it. I do not falter from that mantra as it feels very true to me. However, it doesn't mean that I am not continuing to face lessons and learn through each experience I encounter. This writing I am doing right now is something that feels right and intuitive to me. It may not be your thing, but rest assured you have something you feel passion for that flows through you when you allow it to. Perhaps it takes some work to open the gates to allow the creative winds to blow and your actions to flow, but I encourage you to figure out what that is for you - if you haven't yet discovered it. You likely know, but haven't given it attention or space in your life. Can you try? Today?
I am going to leave you all with a Pablo Picasso quote that crossed my path just yesterday that resonated deeply for me and I hope it does for you too.
"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away"
I don't think the meaning of life is something that is discovered or uncovered in all the doing, but rather in the being.
May these words - my writing, fulfill my purpose and be a gift that I extend to you.