Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter. ~ Martin Luther King
Today I am finding it difficult to get to the point where I can dive in and engage in my writing practice. Often I start writing in my journal and at some point my writing turns in a way that tells me I am in flow and going for it. I can feel the difference between the start of writing and a deepening in the way my pen feels in my hand pressed to paper or how my fingers fly across the keyboard.
Since that flow is not happening right now I think I will approach my writing counter-intuitively.
What if I don’t care about creating meaning for others as a writer?
What if I am only sharing my writing for ego’s sake and don’t see any higher purpose in the words I scribble or type on the page?
I’m struggling to write and that struggle is even more so when I consider writing without regard to the call I feel as a writer and artist to help others on their playful, individuation journeys.
The secret is to release, start over again and again, and give voice to what matters.
Some writing prompts to consider using:
When I release I…
I am struggling to …
When I stay with my writing (creative) practice I…
I can feel the electricity sparking off in my body. Tears come easily. I feel the need to walk and use this energy to act. I wonder what my a scan of my brain would show in the moment of writing — likely such a scan would look very different when I’m writing memoir versus not writing.
When I lowered myself to the floor while stretching I went into the fetal position breathing as deeply as I have ever breathed before. I’m anxious. I’ll keep breathing knowing that I can keep writing and be with my anxious self no matter what comes up. What’s the worse thing that could happen? I won’t die if I keep writing. Actually the opposite — I’ll live life to the fullest, I am a writer.
As with all things in my life I playfully write. I bring the same playful attitude to writing that I instill in washing the dishes, riding a carousel, or jumping in mud puddles with my grandchildren.
When I write I play full out. I dig a hole to china and then dig some more…
I write in the company of all the writers who have come before me. I write with all my heart and share with openness and as much generosity as I can muster.
As Isabel Allende says, Write about what should not be forgotten.
Write about what you would rather not know. Write about your fears. Write about what you love. Write about what fills you. Write about betrayal and regret. Write about your shadow. Write about what you don’t want others to know. Yes, write especially about your shadow–what you cannot see and must see to become, to perform your life, to write and share your life stories with heart.
Some journaling prompts to help you play it forward:
I wonder what I would feel like if I wrote about…
Something I have never considered writing about is…
If others knew about ______________ they would not want to…
Within every woman there is a wild and natural creature, a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. ~Clarissa Pinkola Estes
In 1996 I recorded my dance of the selchies (seal woman’s) story juxtaposed against my own personal story of being a surrogate mother for my psychotherapist and her husband. For months prior to filming I worked with a choreographer and practiced my dance during dance class, on a private beach on California’s central coast, and in a dance studio. When the day of the shoot finally arrived, I danced on a stage that was built from hard metal puzzle pieces. Rivets held the pieces of the stage together. As I danced over the 4 hours of recording the costume that I was wearing was torn and my body bruised. When I finally returned home after we had finished for the day I discovered that my body was covered with bruises.
I remember thinking as I went to bed that night that I was more seal than woman. I had gone onto land and birthed a son while being separated from the waters of my birth and my natural wild Self.
Since that time and while writing my memoir I have revisited my selchie dance and my personal story many times over. I opened Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype today and found some notes scribbled onto a magazine page that I had inserted into the pages of the ‘Homecoming: Returning to One’s Self’‘ chapter. The torn magazine page has two images of women dancing and the word SPEECHLESS set in the middle of the page.
Estes writes, we lose the moleskin by becoming too involved with the ego, by being too exacting, perfectionistic. or unnecessarily martyred, or driven by a blind ambition, or by being dissatisfied–about self, family, community, culture, world–and not saying or doing anything about it SPEECHLESS or by pretending we are an unending source for others, or by not doing everything we can to help ourselves.
Two words I wrote and tucked away in the pages of the selchie story around the year 2010 are PASSION, DREAMS
The wild woman is fluent in the nature of dreams, images, passion, and poetry.
The power of Mary Alice’s story is the heart connections that connect us all while honoring our unique experiences and beliefs.
Muriel Percy, Ontario, CAN
You made it clear that getting in touch with, and living from the heart is natural and simple…. though quite hidden, and perhaps scary for most modern people….. And a sometimes struggle, ….but something which can be taught/discovered and shared together, playfully and creatively. Here is my bravo…. but the story is ongoing…..
Betsy Wetzig, Allentown, PA
**Below you can watch both the selchie dance and 1 of a series of memoir project performances**
How are you fluent in the language of dreams, images, passion, and poetry?
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