Present Freedom

Last week was really great as far as writing goes. I probably wrote more than any other week in my entire life. I'm not sure how much will end up in my book, but all of it was circling that idea. This week I've got some additional caregiving on my plate, so I'm not sure how much I'll get to focus on writing. I hope that doesn't mean that I will lose momentum but I can't go back on it now. And so far it's been an easy gig. It helps to have a sweet person who's used to being obedient to take care of.

On Friday, I let John read the first 3 chapters of what I had written for my book. It was risky. I was worried he wouldn't like it and I really wanted someone to tell me every word was terrific. He was mostly encouraging. But he did push me a little. And that hurt at first. After the sting wore off, and after I made him tell me a few good things, his suggestions started to sink in. The most discouraging part was the thought that I might have to scrap everything I've done so far and approach the subject in a new way. But then I got to thinking about how even if I don't use everything I have so far it will be okay. It doesn't mean that what I've been doing is a waste. It's all part of the learning process. I've never done this before and it makes no sense that I would get it all right the first try.

So, I'm pushing through. The good news is that Saturday I woke up with what felt like an answer and I got right to work trying to piece it together. The best thing about last week was seeing how helpful it is to have a steady, disciplined routine. Every day, except for Wednesday, I got up, took the kids to school, came home, made breakfast and got to work (like it was my job :). Other helpful things were turning off my phone for a couple of hours and not allowing myself to go online until the afternoon, after writing. It's also good for me to remain immersed in the physical world as much as possible while I am stewing on what to write. Things like cooking, folding laundry and drinking a cup of tea while sitting completely still -- these are all conducive to various neutron pathways working like they should so I can write. Not that I understand anything about any of that, I just know from experience that things which steal my attention without requiring my concentration, things like TV and facebook,do not help. They steal my focus, while rote things help to steady it.

It makes me think that maybe those folks who thought up rosaries knew what they were doing. Blending tactile, repetition with a cluttered mind seems to me to be a pretty good be a recipe for surrender.

Don't have a lot more to say about any of this, but let me leave you with a nice quote from Henri Nouwen before I go:

"There are two ways of telling your story. One is to tell it compulsively and urgently, to keep returning to it because you see your present suffering as the result of your past experiences. But there is another way. You can tell your story from the place where it no longer dominates you. You can speak about it with a certain distance and see it as the way to your present freedom..."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for letting us share in your experience of the writing!