`So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is…enlarge your sense of things….Stop being a glass. Become a lake.’”
(Mark Nepo, Book of Awakening)
I am spending 2012 with Nepo’s book of 365 meditations, although I miss a day here and there. I’m fine with that for I’ve learned to “enlarge my sense” of meditation, meaning for all the days and years I have yet to live, I will meditate, and sometimes it will be with Nepo’s book.
ROW80 allows me to “enlarge my sense” of who I am as a writer, with no goal too small or too large. In fact, some of my initial goals were really more lists of tasks that I believed necessary for me as a writer. With ROW80, I am discovering that my lists no longer represent me as a writer for they have overflowed their glasses, well on their way to becoming a lake.
Glasses are for lists; lakes are for goals.
For over 50 years, I lived glass after glass of lists, tasks, timelines; multi-tasking allowed me separate glasses for helping raise two children, establishing a record of activism, and writing in the early morning, for years at a time as I wrote grants, poetry, short stories, even drafted a novel. I had a few publications, too.
In my heart I was a writer, and that’s where my writing stayed.
My final employment was in government as a manager for a statewide, experimental Medicaid program that provided services for the aged as well as the physically and developmentally disabled. It is no exaggeration that people’s quality of life hinged on my program’s assistance.
During those years, I worked between fifty and seventy hours per week filling first this glass and then that glass until I found the single glass of early and permanent medical retirement.
As I made lemonade—I did know what to do with lemons—my bitterness became a lake and the pain spread slowly, eventually evaporating as my heart opened. The moment is all we ever have and it is enough.
In every round of ROW80, we decide who we are as writers, moment by moment, with continuous support from a community of writers, no more and no less.
In writing with an open heart:
- Neither writing nor living is a to-do list.
- Never write a word you do not believe.
- Always write words that reveal who you are.
- Hear and listen to your writing voice: “It tells you. You don’t tell it” (Joan Didion, Why I Write).
- You and your writing are together 24/7, moment to moment.
- Live the way you love and write the way you live.
- Abundance in writing comes from love, which is always the number one writing trend.
- Writing with an open heart means listening to your “gut” for the words.
- Your “gut” connects your heart to your head for editing, always.
- If every word you write comes from your open heart, you will always write your truth.
All you have is this one life so why write or live without an open heart?