Tag Archives: life worth living

put your heart-work first

stencilled graffiti on concrete: I wish my brain had a map to tell me where my heart should go...

love this and totally get the sentiment -- I often feel like writing is the "map-making" that my heart does to help my head figure out where to go...

A good and full weekend — time with the Mr, time chilling in our house (get it?!? ha ha — nope, not funny), time apartment-visiting.

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This weekend is the first Writing the Flood of 2011! A few spaces are still open — we’re filling up fast! Let me know if you’d like to join us for an afternoon of new writing and excellent community …

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Today’s the first day of a new schedule: I’m taking Monday for a writing day, and then devoting the next four days of the week to the day job (an extra day right now, so that we can build up some funds in anticipation of our coming move).

I remember reading or hearing, sometime toward the end of last year, and I think this was via Caryn Mirriam Goldberg, that it was important to make a weekly space/time for one’s writing (or other creative expression), and that this person put that time at the beginning of the week, rather than at the end — on Monday, first thing, rather than on Friday, after so much other work had been done. I read that and thought, Oh, right. Of course. What a brilliant idea. Put your heart-work first, before the bill-paying work, before anything else.

For quite awhile, I’ve had Friday as a writing/workshop prep day — however, I tend to look forward to it as a “day off,” a day away from the office, a day to rest and recover. Though I make it clear to others that Friday is not a vacation day, not a day to goof around, what tends to happen is that I go to the cafe and barely make it through my three morning pages before I’m reading the local weeklies, reading whatever book I’m in the middle of, preparing something somewhat elaborate for lunch, making plans with the Mr or with friends… generally treating my writing day like a weekend-day.

Here’s the other thing that happens, though: at the end of the week, I know all the tasks I haven’t accomplished that week, what’s still sitting on my To-Do list, who I need to write to or call, things that others have asked me to do that I committed to and now need to complete. What happens is that I want to take care of everyone else first, I want (or, my inside editor-self wants) to make sure that all those other jobs are done and put to bed before I open my notebook and write. I end up spending my writing day on those tasks — which, yes, need to get done, and also are easy procrastination.

What would happen, I wondered, if I took all of my Monday energy and devoted that to my writing projects, after taking my regular weekend to rest and play and rejuvenate?

Here’s the first day of that experiment — and so far, it feels good! Up early, morning writing by candlelight, and then off to the cafe for some novel-writing time. Now to get some of those pages typed up, and a newsletter out. I feel like I’ve harnessed something important, as I switch around my schedule to make room for everything necessary. Turns out there is time enough to fully engage with what’s important.

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A prompt for today — you might want to write about what your life (or your character’s life) would look like if you put what’s important to your heart first, if you took care of you before others, if you stepped away from making sure that everyone else is taken care of before you sit down to your own desires (if that’s a struggle for you or your characters, that is!) — just take 10 minutes, and write out the possibilities, the fears, the worries, the opportunities: what would it taste like, smell like, feel like, look like, to be easy with you first and foremost?

Thank you for all you do that is so concerned with others’ well being — and thank you, too, for the ways you tend to your own wellness. Thank you for your creativity, your heart, your words.

who does she think she is to believe in herself that much?

graffiti of green grass with small red flowers poking up and the text, in black, "small flowers / crack concrete"

"small flowers crack concrete" -- what a perfect tiny poem for today

Thinking about a life worth living, and I’ve got a quick write this morning — I like how this regular blogging practice gets me to type up workshop writes a little more often!

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Body Empathy (this Saturday, 11/13) still has a couple of spaces available! We’d love to write with you!
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Here’s a prompt I offered this past Monday, and the write I did in response.
I gave these two phrases:

– “Who does she think she is?” (or Who do you think you are or Who do I think I am)
– I always knew that given half a chance… (thanks to Maggie at this weekend’s retreat for that one!)
Let yourself write for about 15 minutes in response to whichever of these your writing self has already affixed itself to! Follow your writing wherever it seems to want to go…

Here’s my response to this prompt:

Who does she think she is, wanting so much time to herself, walking around with clouds in her ears, asking for time off like picking apples from a tree in your own backyard, that free and easy?

Who does she think she is, expecting to feel good in her body like its her birthright, expecting to walk proud down any street, wanting to be well-slept, kindly fed, gently tended to every day — I mean, really! Where does she come off wanting an affordable place to live with a view of the ocean and a living room big enough to hold workshops in, wanting a dog that fluffs its ears under her lips when she tells it good night, a series of uninterrupted days just to write — honestly. How greedy can you get? Did you hear? She wants to work less and still have safe housing! She wants time for gardening, tending to raw honest herbs, she wants time to stare at the ocean, she wants time to wander through eucalyptus-lined, thickly green paths, and she doesn’t want to have to wait til she’s 65 for the privilege.

She wants peace and writing days now, she wants belly-aching laughs during meals with friends now, she wants to overhaul the possibilities of her quality of presence now, she wants ocean-thudded mornings and cricket-lined nights, she wants color slating her roof and eyes, she wants whole days devoted to glitter and glue guns (or at least glitter and construction paper and collage) — days to wander through thrift stores hunting for writing prompts, she wants enough sleep that she can slip out of headache and into her body, into her fingertips and heels, back into the backs of her knees and into the palms of her feet. She wants time to do the writing that hurts, writing that tears her open, tears at her heart, tears up her eyes and lips and who does she think she is to believe in herself that much?

She wants to be a writer, can you imagine? She wants to dash pepper and poetry on her eggs, she wants weekends and months where all she does is soak into other people’s new words — she wants nasturtiums trailing and calla lilies pushing their broad green and ivory realities into her backyard and she says that’s all the bouquet she needs. I mean, who says things like that? She says she wants the radio for company and she’s turned off her computer. Already her fingers are looking more like typewriter keys or calligraphy — have you seen her? Already she’s moving her body like she has some right to be loose and free. Already she’s dancing when everyone knows it’s time to go to work. Doesn’t she know it’s time to go to work? Who is she to say she is working?

Thank you for your words today, your work today, all the forms it takes, for your dedication to your vision, your desires, to what you wish for from this one life…