Sunday, November 14, 2010


Eckhart Tolle writes:

It seems that you are torn sometimes between the outward movement into form, and the inward return movement to the Source where it all started. The Source that was never really lost, it is always there because it is timeless, and it is within you. You feel drawn back to that, and that is the pull toward spirituality, peace, Stillness.

Every day life seems to be all about form. We buy groceries, feeling the weight of them, as we lift brown bags into large SUV’s. We make concrete lists of what we need to do that day ~ go to a dental appt., pick up the dry cleaning or go to the post office to mail off a package. Things surround us ~ our closets full of clothes, our bursting racks of DVD’s and the piles of shoes in the mudroom.

When do we escape form then, melting into the universal moment of presence and flow? It is our creation time, our Zen moments, that allow us to transcend the material world, even if it is just for the length of a 3-minute song on the radio. We are flowing into the Great Mystery of Being in these moments. We lose track of time ~ we float on high, reaching a state of awareness that provides both clarity and an endorphin-producing spiritual high, because we are shedding form for spirit.

I am not a runner, but I can see the beatific smiles on the faces of runners in my neighborhood. There is a good deal of sweat and exertion going on as well, but you can see that they are somewhere else entirely while on that run. This is why reflective gear and bright orange jackets are a very good idea! If your head is in the clouds, then drivers need to be able to see the part of you that should to stay safely on the side of the road.

My running Zen is writing, making jewelry, reading, riding my bike, walking by the lake and listening to music. Often all of these blissful activities inspire and inform one another. I’ll be taking a walk or stringing a new necklace, gazing at the way the trees are swaying in the breeze or how the red and blue stones make a pleasing pattern, when the first line of a poem will appear in my head. I won’t get the whole poem, but that first line, fully formed, will come to me like a gentle deer. I run to the page, capture that first thought and keep going ~ passionately in flow. Time will pass, and I will still be in that dream-like state of creation, not caring whether my form is cold, hungry or late for an appointment. Form ceases to matter ~ for those two hours of creation.

Eventually, I will have to return to buying rolls of toilet paper and taking the garbage out, but my spirit will be lighter, closer to the heavenly realm than ever before. I will be complete, full, still ~ for now.

Staying in the flow means accepting the now and embracing where that first line leads you.


Saturday, November 06, 2010

Why Do We Write?

This is a question I ask myself almost daily, because I genuinely want to know why I am compelled to write, even if I don't know what I am going to write about that day. The magical poetry sprites whisper in my ear that they have a message for the world, and that I am their trusted scribe. No - not really. It does feel at times as though something larger than myself is at work though. I think all artists and creative minds work this way. There is so much energy swirling around in the universe. We are meant to reach out and grab it - to share it. I once watched a "TED Talks" podcast where the presenter spoke of a poet whose technique was to pull in a new poem from the ethers, as if pulling in a kite from the sky. If she didn't run home right away and capture the poem, it would be lost to her - dancing across the sky until finding another poet to write down the words.

C.S. Lewis wrote, "We read to know we are not alone." I believe that we write to know we are not alone as well. Connecting with the consciousness of others gives us the comfort of knowing that we are all having an earthly experience together. We are all feeling pain, loss and suffering - alongside love, joy and fulfillment. If someone else writes about the joys and challenges of parenthood - the same, exhausting months of sleep deprivation as well as the heart warming moments of first giggles and first steps, then we know that there is hope for tomorrow and the day after that.

Nothing is more frightening than an empty page and not knowing how to fill it. If we clear the mind of what we think is the sublime poem or the ultimate narrative, then we might just stumble upon the engaging story that everyone can relate to, so that none of us will ever feel alone.

Why do we write?
I write because there isn't a single day that goes by when I don't feel my hands reach out for the keyboard with passion. I write because I would be quite miserable if I did not throw the contents of my brain into a Word document at least once per day. I write because everyone else in my household would be miserable too, if I did not write. It calms me the way classical music soothes the baby that will not go to sleep. Writing allows the restless part of me to find peace. Once in a while, when I write a really good poem, someone tells me that it made a difference in their day to read it, and this makes me feel like I've given something back to this sweet, sweet world.