$32 – allthingsoriginal.com
$32 – allthingsoriginal.com
In the course of blogging, I share tidbits of “me” information with you. Yet, there are things about me that even I find strange and cannot explain. Here are the top 10 things that you don’t know about me:
At times, all writers, whether beginner or experienced, face the blank page or screen. I mean, those times when
it seems as though your very thoughts have abandoned you. The more you pound at your chest, the more that
you pull your hair out your head, the worse the block. You just can’t write. The thoughts swirling around your
head are akin to a foreign language that you cannot begin to comprehend. If I seem a bit too familiar with
this idea, that is because I am. For a few months now, I’ve been stumped and uninspired in both my journal
and blog writing. I’ve begun writing any number of times, only to be frustrated by the process and my inability
to produce anything intelligible. What to write? How to write? The questions come, but no answer follows.
And so it was, that while reading, I came across the poem, “Don’t Forget to Write” by Maya Stein. (The poem is
quite long, so I include only a portion of it for you to enjoy; whereas, you can read it in its entirety at the link
down below.) I was instantly drawn to the poem and the message it imparted. In my mind, the poem is a
reminder to those who write that inspiration is all around us. Life itself provides us with unlimited and
inexhaustible sources about which we can write. Each day we wake to the feel of the soft, cool cotton sheets
against our bodies, the smell of coffee brewing in the kitchen, the crow of the rooster as he sounds another day,
and the sight of blue jays as they feed outside of our bedroom windows, and that is before we even get up from
our bed. So, when that blank page seems be mocking you, close your eyes, take a few deep, cleansing breaths
and open your eyes to the world around you, and whatever you do, don’t forget to write.
while you are piecing together the map of your life,
stepping as nimbly as you can out of the mulch
of your thoughts, the busy traffic of your heart.
while you attempt grace and magic and the blessing of
your soft, surrendered kiss, while you are fathoming the stretch
you will need for the wide and rocky jungle of your own happiness,
while you are hunkering down to a piece of dark bread
and the odd, welcome relief of hunger.
don’t forget to write.
write this day, its too-early-morning and the birdsong
you cursed into your pillow. write the way the dog
looked at you as forlornly as your own shadow.
write this blanket, this cup of coffee, the irreverent
clatter of the neighbor’s lawnmower. write the bees
that bend forever to their task, write the July heat
and the laps in the town pool that cleave you
from this earth, the over-solid grip you have on everything.
write this hour, tired and awake all at once, the distractions
you can make of breakfast or a calculator or the remote control
lying flaccid on the living room couch.
write the words for failure. write the words for hope.
write the tightrope dangling above the canyon,
and down below, the electric water furious and free.
write green, write violet, write blazing orange.
write the smell of grapefruit skin, the eyelash
on a cheekbone, the hand you hold in the dark.
write first, honest paragraphs of sunrise.
write everything, or nothing, but don’t forget to write.
One of the many books that I am reading right now is “Creative is a Verb” by Patti Digh. In it, she poses the question “What would I be doing if I had only 37 days to live. The question arises out of circumstances involving her beloved step-father. He was diagnosed with lung cancer and died exactly 37 days later. She writes: ‘The time frame of thirty-seven days made an impression on me. We often live as if we have all the time in the world, but the definite-ness of thirty-seven days was striking. So short a time, as if all the regrets and joys of a life would barely have time to register before it was up.”
If you are anything like me, you, too, live life as if you had all the time in the world. The word “procrastination” is our motto. We make lists of all the things we’d like to do before we die, as if we are promised any time beyond this moment. We put off living the life that we are meant to live because we believe that there is always tomorrow. We have that beautiful red dress that fits us perfectly, hanging in the closet waiting for the right time to wear it. We have heavenly perfumes and treasured china that we save for “special” occasions, as if we are not precious enough to use them. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.
Anyway, the question got me thinking, what would I do if I had only 37 days to live? How would I spend that time? What things that I now hold dear would lose their importance in light of the “definite-ness” of thirty-seven days? How would I prepare for the thirty-eighth day? With whom would I spend my last days?
Such weighty questions, but the answers to which provide us guidance about how we are truly living our lives, and how we can live our lives more fully and authentically. I mean, how much time do we spend doing things that don’t nourish us– that don’t feed our passion? In between the cleaning house, grocery shopping, driving the kids to and from school, and all the other tasks that fill our day, how do we satisfy our passions, yearnings and desires?
So, with that said, how would I spend my 37 days? I considered travelling to some of the places that are on my to-do list, and other doings. When it comes right down to it, however, I’d prefer to spend my time “being.” By “being” I mean, those instances stir our deepest emotions, such as, love, contentment, compassion and peace of mind. I am speaking of the feelings that arise when we are in the moment, not concerning ourselves with the past or the future– just in the here and now.
In my case, when I consider how I would spend my time, all that I can I think of is sharing it with my family and friends. Nothing that I can think of is more precious than those relationships, and I can’t imagine anything that I would rather be doing than talking, laughing, and singing–just being–with those whom I called loves. What you won’t find me doing is running errands, cleaning, or any of the monotonous tasks that usually take of most of my days. I also would not spend my days bemoaning the “what ifs” and the “should’ves.” No, thirty-seven days would not nearly be enough, but under the circumstance, it would have to do.
Ask yourself, how would you do if you had thirty-seven days to live? How would you spent your thirty-seven days? Don’t wait. Begin today.