slowing down to let more in, and out

sticker graffiti of arms crossed at the elbows, hands turned back toward each other, creating the shape of a heartgood morning good morning — this morning it’s all quiet outside the windows, like the birds and cars and morning listenings have thickened themselves into something dense and moist, and they’re waiting for some sign, some cosmic flare or the first breaths of magnetic celadon, to release their songs and begin to build the morning.

When I wake up this late, the puppy wakes up with me; she’s ready to play, and so am I, of course, but play looks different for each of us at this hour. For me, it looks like right here at the keyboard. For her it looks like the ball in her mouth that gets dropped at my feet, it looks like her nose tapping hard against my typing forearm, it looks like her staring at me with ears up, alert, ready. This reminds me of my sister and me when we were little: how I would just want to be stuck somewhere in a quiet sunny corner, reading, and she wanted to really do something: don’t read, Jenny! Come play with me!

So there’ll be a little typing this morning; then it’s time to play.

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Writing the Flood is tomorrow. I’m so looking forward to this group. It’ll be the last one that meets in San Francisco for awhile — we’re moving a number of the workshops to Oakland!

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This was the second write we did last night at our second Dive Deep meeting; we had just a few minutes at the end of the workshop, and so we did one of our quick-quick writes, a drop-down-in where we free associate and write hard for two to five minutes, then read around what we’ve written without any feedback.

Last night, I offered this as our jumping off point, a line from “Elegy in Joy” by Muriel Rukeyser: We tell beginnings: for the flesh and the answer… Here is my response to this prompt:

We tell beginnings and we do not stop      we are stumbling and strong        we are meant to be all in motion         we are holding these beginnings       every word is a beginning         every breath is a new        every sideswipe glance, every flush of eyelashes       these promises on paper, they deliver breath to somebody’s body and if you do not write them, if you do not bless these seeds, then somebody will not breathe that breath, somebody will go hungry for that feeding     please write it     please write it     please write it.

Today I am thinking about urgency and patience and breathing; how I have been rehearsing that old message, I don’t have enough time for everything I want to do. and how it just isn’t true, particularly when I slow down and breathe, when I do not try to do everything at the same time, faster faster faster. Going faster, doing more simultaneously, does not help. I just can’t, am not interested in multitasking the way I’ve done for so many years. I become rather like a trainwreck inside myself, everything trying to escape through my arms and fingers and mouth and heart at the same time; if it doesn’t all get done now it won’t get done! That’s the panic.  It’s a form of dissociation, is what I’ve realized, a way not to be present to one task, one doing, one desire.

It’s counter-intuitive, that I get more done when I slow down, and yet the more I let myself practice it, the more deeply this experience can live itself into my body. I’m working with that today, being present to one task at a time, choosing it, moving through it to completion (partial or total), and then allowing the next task/act/presence-ing to arise. Let’s see how that goes: a little less rushing around like a bat without one wing, a chicken with her head lopped off, a puppy with too many balls right in front of her — I cal already feel the tension in my shoulders beginning to release.

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What about a short Friday write? Take that line of Muriel Rukeyser’s, We tell beginnings: for the flesh and the answer — copy it onto your page, notice what rises for you as you read it, what associations you begin to make, just write. Don’t think about it, just let the words come. Give yourself fifteen minutes, or ten, on this early morning. Follow your writing wherever it seems to want to take you.

Thanks for this. This, just here. Thanks for that breathing, this flame, your complications and the way you allow others to notice and love them. Thank you for your heart today. Thank you for your words.

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