There is a community of the spirit.
Join it, and feel the delight
of walking in the noisy street,
and being the noise.
–Rumi, A Community of The Spirit
Each year at Write-By-The-Lake I work with 15 other writers to help them bring their world into word. I understand my main role is to help them translate their meaningful experiences into captivating stories that become meaningful to their readers. Fortunately, there are many points of success for us writers (or we would give up too soon). Success comes in getting our ideas and stories down in our journals. Success comes in working through an idea, completing several drafts, reading a poem to a friend, and finding something we’ve written years ago and thinking, “Hey, that’s pretty decent!” (To name a few.)
In all cases success takes perseverance.
In all areas of our life as well: success is wholly dependent on showing up. (Life follows our gaze).
Finally, success comes in joining the noise by putting our words out their in a book, article, letter or blog. This takes courage (and a bit of folly too!) We have to put ourselves out there, join the noise!
Join the noise. Plant your lotuses in the noise and fire of your daily life. Give up the questing for and become. As meaning makers we create and manifest meaning as we walk, where we live. We discover who or what we are within our families and communities, within the “noisy street” of our lives. –from The Zero Point Agreement
I met Mary at the Write-By-The-Lake in 2015. I have had the great joy of hearing and reading Mary Hall’s many stories and scenes from her life. For the past year she has had the goal of putting out a blog of her stories. As her Writing Sherpa I encouraged her. Her stories are such gems. I started feeling greedy being one of the few who heard them. So, today Mary joins the noise and offers up a story here for you and (BRAVO MARY), a link to her blog, where you will find one of my favorite stories of hers. Below she muses about writing a blog . . .
The Infinite Loop
By Mary Hall
Thoughts in circles
Over and over and
over and over
One foot on the brink
Will I step forward?
The force of the spin sucks me back.
How do I escape the infinite loop?
I’ve attempted to start a blog for nearly a year, but worries circled around in my head in an endless loop. At each turn questions arose and got swept in a vortex. “What if people don’t like what I write? What if I go through the trouble of writing a blog and nobody even cares?” Once a thought is sucked into that cyclone it is nearly impossible to push it aside where it becomes an imaginary barrier of my own creation.
This is not the first time that I have experienced a loop. One summer when my sisters and I decided to ride our bikes around in a circle in the back yard we rode until it turned into a game of racecar drivers.
Like actual race car drivers we had pit stops that consisted of Cheetos, Jif peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches, and individually wrapped Kraft American cheese slices. Today the meal would likely be updated with one of the dozen brands of Cheetos and premade peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from Costco with the crusts already cut off. Before we would resume the race we would be careful to use our teeth to scrape the fluorescent orange film of Cheetos cheesy goodness from our fingers. Our back yard faced east, so our only concept of time was the slow creep of the shadow of our house on the yard.
When we got too hot we put on swimsuits and would hop off our bikes and jump into icy cold water in the little plastic wading pool in our yard. At one point my mom poked out her head.
“You guys are getting sunburned. Put on a t-shirt.”
“Aw! No fun to swim with a t-shirt on!” But we complied.
Once the line of shade reached the edge of the race rack we took off the dreaded t-shirts and rode free again. No desire to stop and no thought as to when the race would be finished. We were completely in the moment and committed to our task. When the shade met the end of our lot line dad came home from work.
“Jesus H. Christ! Look at the grass!”
We looked. There was a big brown donut shape of dead grass that outlined the track where we biked all day and in the center of the circle was a patch of lush green grass.
We played in a circle, but it was so different from the cycle of worry that goes over and over in my head. In the bike circle there were no negative thoughts, only the desire to ride. With worry nothing gets done and there is no joy. I am awakened to the groove of worry that is rubbed in my head. Worry is a habit and gives the illusion that it is important and it keeps me from what I am supposed to do.
“Jesus H. Christ,” dad’s voice breaks through my thoughts. I wake up and post my first blog piece.”
Here is a link to Mary’s Blog, MARY’S CORRIDOR: Navigating life’s corridors through story. Her first story is Battered Fondue.
To Mary P. Hall:
Wonderful. Tears in my eyes. Am so very proud of you! All this creativity just waiting to blossom. You Go Girl! Remember the “force of the spin” also propels you forward. Happy you are getting a chance to share with others.
Love you lots.
Thank you Julie Tallard Johnson for recognizing this new talent.
I know that circle of worry well! I love the story and discussion. I remember that summer being really dry and all of the grass dying anyway, so I am glad there was the bike race of joy!
What a wonderful and refreshing post! Thanks Julie Tallard Johnson for sharing 🙂 And thank you Mary Hall for sharing your perspective and insight by recreating a world we all remember and relate to. After reading this I woke up and realized I’ve been trudging along for weeks in that “groove of worry” path. Time to step off the path and get back my desire to ride!
I love this story Mary. I can actually picture your back yard. I lived just east of you. You really brought me back to my childhood through this story. All the time that we as kids spent outside waiting for the street lights to come on. No digital devices keeping us inside. We were really able to use our imagination when we played with our friends or siblings. Thank you so much for sharing 😉
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