Looking back and thinking forward

Month: November, 2012

Guilty pleasures

Quote of the day:

Every once in a while I make a list of my obsessions. Some obsessions change and there are always more. Some are thankfully forgotten. Writers end up writing about their obsessions. Things that haunt them; things they can’t forget; stories they carry in their bodies waiting to be released. I have my writing groups make lists of their obsessions so that they can see what they unconsciously (and consciously) spend their waking hours thinking about. After you write them down you can put them to good use. You have a list of things to write about.

Natalie Goldberg, 1986. Writing Down the Bones, Page 38.

A list of guilty pleasures: Tamarika, November 2012.

Spirituality in the morning when I light incense and candles. Spirituality on my walk when I see robins playing in the trees. Spirituality when I walk past the Unitarian Church on Lincoln Drive amongst the speeding cars as they rush from work to home and back again. Spirituality when I sit in a large church listening to the choir singing through to the roof tops, an organ blasting its tune alongside them. Spirituality with the animals who live side by side with me in my home, noticing their habits, the way they communicate with me and each other, their chirping, growling, moaning sounds as they prance and run, settle into a seat or even dash up and down the stairs. Spirituality in community when I feel the warmth of belonging with others. Belonging is a guilty pleasure – it eludes me time and again. Just when I sense that I am together with people then again I feel apart and so alone. Spirituality in community. Being noticed. Singing at the piano as I accompany my song. Singing with my son as he plays to back me up in more ways than just melodies. Weeping with joy, or longing seem to be one and the same. Writing a list of guilty pleasures and not knowing where it will take me. Lifting my head from the page and noticing the sun thinly stretching across a chilled morning sky. Christmas cacti falling down with fuchsia and pinkish white blossoms, like a waterfall of color and indulgence. Meditating alone in my room remembering chanting mantras softly to Ada as she struggled to push her aching body into a corner of the wall in the hospital room. Chanting washing over me and the little animal settling into a sphinx like pose, allowing us to help her sleep for an eternity.  

Supporting an authentic voice

This year I regret not having written a "count down to Thanksgiving" as I have done in past years. In fact, I realize that the last time I wrote anything on this blog is well over a month ago. How strange that the writer's workshop I attended last month has rendered me speechless. I guess so much poured out of me during the week at Villa Lina, that I have dried up. Or, on the other hand, am I in shock? After all, I learned so much about writing and me while I was there, perhaps I am simply processing the experience. 

Self expression is tricky indeed. I find my voice, or discover self expression through writing, while, at the same time monitoring myself. It seems there is always some kind of gate keeper sitting on my shoulder watching over what I say, even when I journal in private. I am never sure what it is I really feel until I plough through different versions of me. For my self was formed so many years ago, and depended on beliefs, attitudes and behaviors of significant adults in my life from way back then.

Prompts that Natalie Goldberg gave us for writing exercises helped me find my voice, at times startling me at how authentic I was. I realize as I write this now, that it was surely because of the support I received from the instructor, as well as the small group I worked with each day. Indeed, support is essential for me. Me, who always prided herself in going it alone – who avenged herself by never needing anyone. Am I surprised? Actually, I am relieved to discover that I am "stuck here being human," as my therapist suggested to me recently. In a way I have had a kind of revelation about writer's block. For, I cannot write if I am not being authentic or true to my feelings and the core of my self. I am most prolific when I shed my ancient gatekeepers, who peek over my shoulder censoring what I write.

Going forward, I think I will prop myself up with support – reach out for those, who support and encourage, and keep away from those, who pull me down. Even as I know they don't mean to drag me with them into their insecurities or competitions they are waging with themselves, I find myself drowning as if to bolster them through my pain or feelings of insignificance.

Indeed, I have found much encouragement along the way already – all throughout my life. So, as much as I prided myself for being able to "go it alone," I must have been reaching out all the while without acknowledging the need. And in these days following Thanksgiving, I am really grateful to the people, who blew wind into my wings, and so many times gave me the support I yearned for. 

Lately, though, I sense an unusual stirring within, because I find myself thankful for my own persistence and courage in confronting my discomfort over and over again, as I struggled with lack of confidence, and, often, terror and guilt at acknowledging my accomplishments.

And, yes. I am going to keep on keeping on …

A year ago at Mining NuggetsSense of self -part II

Seven years ago at TamarikaGiving thanks (update)