Today’s blog is taken from one of the lessons in my on-line class: The Initiated Writer. I am still offering the entire series to you, my blog readers, for $65.00. This includes some one to one consultation with me!
Planting Lotuses In the Fire: On and off the Page.
For me the most remarkable part of writing is that I can make meaning from any circumstance or condition. On the page I can express any view, explore any idea, become any character, and not only travel into places I have never been, but create worlds.
I first tend to plant my lotus seed “in the fire” on the page, writing out a story or experience as I wish. Then, I plant them off the page, through conversations and actions in my life. This lesson will help you plant those seeds even in the most adverse circumstances, so that the lotuses of your words and actions can take root, reach for the sun and fully blossom. Once blossomed, they have the ability to bring joy and nourishment to other sentient beings.
Writing Prompt #1 What’s in your way?
Who doesn’t want you to write? The inner critic? Your mother? Does your day job drain the creative energy from you? What squelches your call to write? What keeps you from writing consistently?
Write a list of squelchers, the thieves of creativity, and identify those who don’t want you to write. Include both inner and outer thieves. Begin with writing out a list of your thieves. It is good to start with a list (just like we did in the beginning with a list of pivotal moments). You can come back to this list of thieves as a reference point.
Then, create a ritual where you free yourself from one, some or all of these creativity thieves. Start with writing the ritual in your journal. Like a story, rituals have a theme, a beginning, middle and an end. Good chance your ritual will have a deity or archetype that you invite into it as well. Rituals are full of symbolic meaning and allow for us to “act out” our desires, intentions and prayers. I sometimes call these EMBODIMENTS. We embody an intention, and our entire psychophysical and spiritual system aligns with it. So when we embody releasing a thief, our entire selves (and our spiritual helpers) are part of this release.
Release the thieves as the main intention of this ritual. What might this look like in a personal ritual? Might you write the thief a letter and then burn the letter? Might you bind your hands up with tissue paper that has all those things that hold you back on it and rip yourself free? Include in this personal ritual what you are calling into your life. What are you making room for once you are free of the thief? (I would release in a fire the inner critic that says I can’t write fiction. I would burn my mother’s voice who says I am average. I would call in the muse and the medicine woman in my story to help me keep with my novel. I would write a poem or song to sing to call in the spiritual support I need to help me write and complete my novel.)
Give yourself some time to create the ritual, and then set a date for the enactment of it. If you want more on creating a personal ritual, send me a note asking for more help.
Writing Prompt #2 Steal Like An Artist
Rewrite Wendell Berry’s poem using your own words, metaphors, images. Steal as much as you like from this poem in your first drafts. Consider what you identified above as the thieves of your writing, and see if you can incorporate these into the poem. The poem becomes yours when you no longer have any of his words or lines in it — and your subject and theme is unique.
A Purification by Wendell Berry
At start of spring I open a trench
in the ground. I put into it
the winter’s accumulation of paper,
pages I do not want to read
again, useless words, fragments,
errors. And I put into it
the contents of the outhouse:
light of the sun, growth of the ground,
finished with one of their journeys.
To the sky, to the wind, then,
and to the faithful trees, I confess
my sins: that I have not been happy
enough, considering my good luck,
have listened to too much noise,
have been inattentive to wonders,
have lusted after praise.
And then upon the gathered refuse
of mind and body, I close the trench,
folding shut again the dark,
the deathless earth. Beneath that seal
the old escapes into the new.
Know What You Are Signing Up For?
The universe conspires to make us whole and to offer us the means to spiritual initiation. But it is up to us to get on the horse and ride.
One afternoon when my daughter was eight, she came home from school, upset with a bully she repeatedly encountered in her classroom.
The bully teased her, telling her, “You’re stupid,” and was generally unpleasant. This confused and upset my daughter.
“What makes her do this?” she asked me.
I gave her a short lesson on how people’s actions reflect what is in their heart. Samantha’s heart is hurting. I told my daughter that she didn’t need to take what Samantha did or said personally.
She went silent for a moment and then said to me, “I have a happy heart, Mom.”
“Yes, you do,” I replied.
Then she asked me, “How’s it I have a happy heart and Samantha’s is unhappy?”
I let the question sit out there in quiet space for a moment. I could see her thinking about it, and I knew that somewhere in the question she held her own answer.
“I know how I have a happy heart.”
“I signed up for it.”
“What d’you mean, you signed up for it?”
“Before I came down to Earth, I signed up for a happy heart.”
The question we can ask ourselves as we write and live forward (or undertake any endeavor) is, “What am I signing up for?” What do you want from this experience (the class, this relationship, this day)? What are you signing up for, for the rest of your life? (end of excerpt)
Plant some lotuses in the fire with me and other writers! I have only a couple spots in my upcoming writing circles starting in September: Transformational Writing Consultation Circle in Madison on Tuesdays; Prairie du Sac Writing Consultation Circle that meets on the first Wednesday of the month. I am also available for one to one consultation.
I will be offering a zero point circle in Viroqua this September, check it out. This circle is based on my book: The Zero Point Agreement: How to Be Who You Already Are. This is filling up! There are ride shares from Madison, Prairie du Chien if you are from one of these areas.