Purpose: How to become more fluid.
What is going on right now? Let your thoughts flow onto the page. This is about the known thoughts as well as shining light on the half-hidden ones. Often, we have to dig them out.
Write whatever is on your mind. Sometimes it is list of complaints or even a shopping list. That’s fine. It can be a poem. Always go with the new thought. Just don’t stop. Allow for receptivity and momentum to bring forth surprise. Don’t discard any thoughts. Don’t edit anything. This is the place to allow those half thoughts to surface. They will surprise you.
We make ourselves real by telling the truth (Thomas Merton).
Have your journal ready. Sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and observe your breath. Unclench your hands. Shake the stress out of your arms. Relax your neck. Watch your natural breath come in, go out. There is nowhere to go, there is nothing to do. Allow space to rise around your thoughts. What needs to come up, will surface. Don’t rush.
Set an alarm for 10 minutes. Start writing. Keep the pen/fingers moving the entire time. Accept what comes, even if it is a shopping list. Write down what the mind is expressing. Write it as if you are watching a movie and are recording what you see. Accept resistance, if that is what comes, write it down. Just don’t stop.
Where does this lead?
This is always the question to ask yourself at the end of a session.
At Loose Leaf Hollow in retreat with Joe working on the integral techniques.
This is a conversation with myself.
There is a window between you and your life, Joe says.
I remember, I remember waking in pain, choking, hiccups, after the first chemotherapy treatment. In our bed Jonathan calls Dr. A. This is what happens he tells Jonathan, and gives him direction. Giver he more medication, make sure she is drinking enough water. Sleep.
I settle back into myself, into my body struggling with its chore. To accept. To accept that poison can heal.
Settle. Let the muddy water settle, debris sinks. Clear water rises. My body, in turmoil. Seek nothing. What will emerge? What will submerge?
The vultures soar on thermals; they’ve had their fill at the landfill and now replete, float at different altitudes. These large birds of carnage that feed on flesh, do gods work, clean up what once held life, the life force gone, earthly body no longer needed. Sacred work then, these vultures do.
These magnificent birds, quiet so far away in the world they know. The one they belong in. I hear a commotion above and twist my head to see a large bird, now in my world. A dark mass, it’s wings working, immense muscles flap, and the sound slaps it falls on me—the sound of bird’s wings flapping fill me.
I as witness. In November, the woods of Kentucky, just past prime, sparse yellow leaves cling to trees, brittle brown ones gather in ditches. Limbs lightened, the sky unadorned, like the plowed-under fields, flat, brown.
In a rut carved out by rain I walk towards the silo on the hill, past horses grazing, a mule, and four Newfoundland’s. One barks as I pass, then looks to the others for approval.
Noisy squirrels scamper close to me, startle themselves and skirt up any tree. Just as two deer, stealth-like slip away, slide through the forest as if greased.
The culvert is littered with scaly skins, discarded clues that the snakes have slithered into new forms. Like we can do. Discard what no longer serves us. Change, evolve.
Everything changes all the time.
Triggers and Tips
I’ve learned to get extra curious when my mind isn’t forthcoming. It’s usually a sign that my body is trying to conceal something from me, and I’ve learned that is exactly what I need to hear. Often it’s in these moments that something hidden makes its way up from the depths. When nothing comes to mind, I repeatedly write any one of the following phrases until a thought surfaces.
What do I need to write down?
Keep writing, keep pen on page.
What I am trying to say is. . .
For example, it was 8:00 at night when the massage practitioner told me I couldn’t have a massage because the spa’s policy was that they needed a doctor’s letter. It was when I journaled about the anger and frustration, the hidden feelings of shame and unworthiness surfaced. Writing helped the energy find expression. There are many ways to release energy. What is particularly helpful about writing is that it can also bring clarity and understanding.
Journal writing is often repetitious. When I pick up a journal from ten years ago, I find many of the same themes I write about today. This is how we learn who we are, our unique story. Write about whatever is on your mind. There is a reason. Trust the process. Trust yourself.
For years I was part of a writing group, as a participant as well as a facilitator. We’d use triggers to get our writing started. Triggers stimulate thoughts. When my brother said to me, “This is only a year out of your life,” it became a trigger for this entire memoir. I remember telling myself, “I’ll be damned if I’m going to lose a year of my life!”
When sitting down to write, if nothing comes to mind, pick a trigger from the list below. Triggers can also come from something someone said to you, or something you read, or especially, something that is stuck in your head. I love poetry, and often use a poem as a trigger. Write for a prescribed amount of time, 10 minutes, or a prescribed length, 3 pages, whatever feels right for you. Here are some triggers that helped me get started.
What do you mean I have cancer? There must be a mistake.
Why not me?
Who do I want to tell?
Who don’t I want to tell?
Who do I want to support me?
What am I afraid of?
Here is something I can’t get out of my mind.
I don’t want to die because I have too much to do.
I want to . . .
I got really mad at . . . when she said . . .
Where is the gift in this news?
What am I grateful for today?