To Be A Writer

  If you hear music … dance! If you don’t hear music … sing! If you walk barefoot along the path of the heart, your singing will not awaken the sleepers nor will your dancing disturb the self-righteous. But the bird will follow you and take from your hand some crumbs and sing to you their truth.   John Squadra, From his book of poetry, This Ecstasy   Writing can at times feel lonely. We may leave someone behind. But if we don’t write, at least this is true for me, we may well leave ourselves behind. We cannot recruit readers or … Continue reading

What’s Trump Got to do with It?

“What we name it matters little to me, since the origins, nature, and destiny of call-it-what-you-will are forever hidden from us, and no one can credibly claim to know its true name. But that we name it matters a great deal. For “it” is the objective, ontological reality of selfhood that keeps us from reducing ourselves, or each other, to biological mechanisms, psychological projections, sociological constructs, or raw material to be manufactured into whatever society needs — diminishments of our humanity that constantly threaten the quality of our lives.” Parker J Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness Our self-hood, true nature, integrity, or, self-esteem (call “it” … Continue reading

Easier Said Than Done

One reason I enjoy facilitating transformational circles, writing support circles, and teaching creative nonfiction, is it helps me maintain my practices, while I am continually stretched beyond my comfort zone. That being said, I can be (very) resistant to learning and applying new practices. It’s good to have enthusiasm and joy for our writing (and spiritual practices) but we should still find it challenging enough to test our capacities for growth. Difficulties may be welcomed because it’s only by working through challenges and resistance that we develop as writers (and human beings). We can look at where we have resistance to sometimes … Continue reading

What Good Is It?

“The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant, “What good is it?” If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not. If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.” ― Aldo Leopold, Round River: From the Journals of Aldo Leopold   Writers, at our best, are intelligent tinkerers. We use everything … Continue reading

Writer as Rebel

Writers are Wizards of our own destiny. Writers are explorers of new frontiers. Writers are magicians and healers. Writers are poets and teachers. But mostly, we are Rebels. “Whether he is wealthy or poor, the Rebel is really an emperor because he has broken the chains of society’s repressive conditioning and opinions.” (OSHO Zen Tarot, The Rebel). We are rebels in our willingness to discover and explore the vast inner and outer landscapes of our lives. We are rebels in that we have dared to write our stories down. We are rebels because of our courage to take responsibility with our … Continue reading

Don’t Cling to the Raft

“To call something ‘a fundamental principle of Buddhism’ is only correct if, first, it is a principle that aims at the quenching of dukkha (pain, misery, suffering) and, second, it has a logic that one can see for oneself without having to believe others.”–Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, Heartwood of the Bodhi Tree Last night, the eve before this new year, I wondered why I vacillate in my commitment to my spiritual practices. How is it after so many years of study and practice I get caught up in some concern or behavior that results in more suffering? How after been given so many spiritual teachings that, at … Continue reading

Wake Up And Smell The Coffee

I’m reposting this because I am not feeling well today . . . consider this too an invite to join me at the 2016 Writers’ Institute or 2016 Write-By-The-Lake. And, as we go into this new year together, I want each of you to know that working with you and your writing is a dream come true for me. Blessings to you in the New Year. Dear Writer, That’s you. Me. So yes, I am writing this to myself too. I am at the 2014 Write-By-The-Lake retreat teaching a class on writing a captivating book from personal experience. This is my first year at WBTL. … Continue reading

You Live (and Write) By The Light You Find

We must tend to the inner light, that flicker that never goes out as if everything else depends upon its heat. Because everything does depend upon the condition of this inner light. If the flicker is so small, the light so dim, that even as the host we cannot benefit from its heat or light, then we are likely causing more harm in the world than good. We are likely relying on false and faulty ways of being active in the world. In buddhist teachings these faulty ways, that lead to an increase in suffering (and a dimming of the inner … Continue reading

After the Divorce

After the making of breakfasts, and the hours, days, years of working, after the losses and dealing with aging or sickness, after putting the baby to sleep, getting the daughter off to college, after the love-making and the arguing, after the garden has been planted, weeded and harvested, after the son has been married and the animals vaccinated, after the house has been repainted and tree planted, after the second diploma, after she has moved out, after teaching others, healing others, caring for others, after the filling of another journal, after the loss of something precious that can’t be found, … Continue reading

Edges

I’ve written a lot about edges over the years . . .edges as thresholds, edges as frontiers, edges that frame us or try to destroy us. Last night someone shared a quote about edges: “Edges are where all the healing takes place.” Edges can also be where all the great writing takes place. At our writing edge there is resistance and contradiction, there is regret and anticipation, and there is likely hope and fear. We can choose to have our edges frame our writing — giving us a place for our writing to go. Let’s say you are dealing with a … Continue reading