A Spell for Unclogging the Works

I’ve been thinking a lot in the last few weeks about unfinished business. I’ve been toying with the idea of writing an essay about being on the other side of the anguish I used to feel at having nothing to show for myself except the shoeboxes of poems written on scraps of paper, shelves of completed journals, 100 pages of an unfinished novel, a one-woman show only ever roughly shown to a couple of friends, another one-woman show that would never see the light of day, 250 pages of a memoir I couldn’t bring myself to edit, and gawd knows how many little essays and short stories that would never be loved by anyone but me.

I’m not writing that essay today. Today I’m remembering how it feels to wander around feeling like my inner gears are all gummed up. Continue reading

Letting Die

No, no, the Life/Death/Life forces are a part of our own nature, an inner authority that knows the steps, knows the dance of Life and Death. It is composed of the parts of ourselves who know when something can, should, and must be born and when it must die. –Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves

I woke up in the pale hours of Thursday morning and could not move. A pain in my shoulders and neck that I’d been trying to ignore for more than a week had completely taken hold in a fierce pinch. Shifting my head or body even a fraction of an inch in any direction shot zings all the way into my fingers and feet.

Later that day, despite my protests that it was too much trouble and I could just wait it out, my mother delivered me to a massage therapist (who, incidentally, turned out to also be a polarity [energy] therapist).

“I have this persistent knot in my back behind my heart,” I told her once I was face-down on the table. “It feels like it’s the source of this problem.”

“‘A persistent knot,'” she said. Continue reading

Showing Up and Hearing the Fear

In my previous post, I mentioned a writing project I’ve been attempting to show up to every day for the past many months. Most days I am successful–in showing up, I mean. Maybe some people are gifted with follow-through bravery, but seeing a long-term solo project to completion without losing steam has always been difficult for me. It’s been so difficult, in fact, that some low-lying fears have had the chance to take root in my idle moments; sometimes I can feel them rustling in the slightest breeze, “Maybe you just can’t!” (But more on that voice in a minute.)boot-1198652_960_720

I have several tactics that have helped me keep showing up to my creative work these days:

Continue reading

Cultivating Beginner’s Mind

You might not guess this about me, but I hate looking stupid.

I don’t mind looking silly, but I have real hang ups with looking like I don’t know what I’m doing when I feel like I “should” be on my game. This unfortunate sense of pride has, at times, kept me from: stopping for directions when I’m lost, asking friends for help when I’m sad, and putting myself out there in important ways when I could grow (I cannot tell you how many partially begun blog domains I’ve abandoned across the internet).

Then I started taking a pottery class.

I’ve always wanted to learn to throw a pot on a wheel, and 6 months ago, my schedule finally allowed me an opening to do so. About 15 minutes into the first class, Continue reading