I've been running away from writing for a long, long time.
And I'm not talking a few years, I'm talking about all my life. At my ten year high school reunion most folks were surprised that I was not writing. (They wouldn't count computer systems design specifications.) And for the girl least likely to run a lap around the track, they were more shocked that no one held a gun to my head and I was willingly training for my first marathon - which turned out to be the first of many.)
December 24, 2004 (another snippet from last journal entry before long lost journal found again somewhere in vicinity of Phi Phi, Thailand):
The day you realize that all running is futile you come to a dead stop right where God is. The day you come to know that you have not gained anything by running, you do not run anymore. - Finger Pointing to the Moon, by Osho
I used to think there was a place my pen resisted going to. This mysterious place I was adamantly fighting against was a crucial spot to visit, if I was dabbling, and to fully commit to a creative endeavor, to dwell. When you stop running and you stop searching under the nooks and crannies, you might notice the spaceless, timeless infinite realm is so close in front of our eyes it's nearly behind us - that's why we don't see it's right here, right now.
...there is a language in the world that everyone understood, a language the boy had used throughout the time that he was trying to improve things at the shop. It was the language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose, and as part of a search for something believed in and desired. - The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
To craft in the universal language of the world - no translations needed - and tap into what Coelho refers to as the soul of the world is what every writer strives for. I know it comes from depths of the heart. Ah, which means of course keeping it open - no matter what the circumstances are surrounding me that beg: please, please fortify the fortress.
For a creative writer possession of the 'truth' is less important than emotional sincerity. - George Orwell
I realize I haven't been running away from writing per se - but I have been running away from opening my heart and keeping it open. (Which is to say I've run away from intense authentic writing that strikes a universal chord...but there are many many more ramifications to a closed heart.)
[H]ow to be open without taking on all the suffering of other people? Yet while protecting us from further hurt, this fear of being taken advantage of, ripped off or walked over is also sabotaging our entire sense of wellbeing and connectedness; it is because of this fear of being open that we have become so closed to each other, so locked into separation and isolation.
The Dalai Lama has often said that he does not practice religion as such, that his religion is simply loving kindness. - Unconditional Love: How to Live with an Open Heart in a Changing World, by Ed & Deb Shapiro
We were amused once to see the Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, being asked by an eager young television reporter for CNN what was the first thing he thought of when he awoke in the morning. You would have thought that this most revered teacher would say something deeply profound or insightful, something along the lines of vowing to save the world from its own ignorance; instead he simply replied, Shaping motivation. He said that we all, including himself, have to be constantly vigilant, to pay attention so that our intentions and motivation are focused on the open heart and not the closed mind. Shaping motivation each day means making the open heart your constant focus, extending loving kindness and making compassion your innate response. - Unconditional Love, by Ed & Deb Shapiro
Last night speaking after class with my mindfulness course instructor, whom studied in a Buddhist monastery for eight years, I realized the post-tsunami period was the first time ever I allowed my heart to break open. He looked straight into my eyes: "Heart Break Open. There is a mantra named, Break Heart Open." Because of past trauma, my protective coping mechanism is to wall myself off. I haven't shared this completely before in the blog but in a two-week period I suffered an injury, witnessed loss and devastation on a global scale, went through a breakup, and learned that a dear friend - my ex-husband - suffered a serious head injury in an accident. This series of events could send anyone over the edge. I choose to stay with whatever came up. He continued, We are afraid that if we sit still with the emotions - the grief, the anguish, the pain, the sorrow, the emptiness - then we will be totally consumed by waves upon waves of emotion.
What we run from pursues us, what we welcome transforms us, he repeated from earlier in class.
The staying was more intense than the physical tsunami for me. I wasn't sure how far done the rabbit hole I could keep falling...and falling. Where and when would the unraveling end? He shared that what usually happens is that as we go deeper into "what is present" we eventually go through it to the other side. And this is exactly what happened. I know without a doubt that my heart can never shut down again. And I know I am now ready to be the writer I always imagined.
One word frees us from all the weight and pain of life: that word is love. - Sophocles