Posts Tagged ‘change’

What I Know

Day 364…

Again I spend a morning velcroed to the chair.  What is going on?  I know I have two days left with this blog.  I know the first of  two intern seminars I facilitate begins tomorrow and the afternoon program I work with begins next week.  I know there is a restlessness within me.

I read more Natalie Goldberg.  Thunder and Lightning this time.  And more of the Hadley and Ernest Hemingway story, A Paris Wife.

I know I have stuffed emotions that are triggered by thoughts, experiences,conversations, or images.  I know writing practice helps me let go of them.

I know we still have 100 degree days and no rain and watching mindless conflict on the news only frustrates me.  I know writing practice helps me accept “what is.”

I know a syllabus needs to be written, a book needs to be returned to the library, a bill needs to be paid.  I know writing practice helps me focus on what I can do.

What I know…Life is full of challenges.  And writing, for me,  is a way to stay present and accounted for.

Writing topic:  What I know

Change of Plans

Day 358…

So the plan this morning is to finish cleaning my house…I’m so close.  Closets organized, shelves straightened,  curtains washed…Curtains washed!!!  The writing group is meeting here tomorrow night.  Last night I even downloaded The Paris Wife on my NOOK, thinking I might have time to read after I clean.

But when I wake up this morning a message on my phone tells me there could be a change in the plans.  Melissa’s having contractions. Can I come stay with the boys?

Why, of course.

So here I am, ready for the next adventure.  Maybe the house won’t be completely ready for the writers.  Oh, well.   If Melissa’s daughter is about to make her appearance, it will be good enough.  Priorities, you know.

Writing topic:  Changing the plan

Reflections

Day 354…

Journaling, timed writing, morning pages, writing meditation, whatever the name… it is the practice that helps me “maintain.”  But maintaining is not enough; I want more.

How do I use this practice to continue growing?  How do I connect this practice to my life experiences?  Last night I watch the process.

Wednesday writers, a writing group I began a couple years ago, now has a name and facebook page.    What was first just my  need to continue a practice with others now offers structure… a time to check in,  a specific way of choosing topics and a closing that includes intention setting.   We come for different reasons on any given Wednesday.  It might be for community, writing practice or accountability or something we can’t even name.  Some members move on and new ones join.  Venues change.  We’ve been at the church and the neighborhood library and now we move week-to-week to different members’ homes.  It’s something more than maintenance.

Then before bed I write evening pages, three pages at the end of the day hoping to ease my restless sleep pattern.  And I wake this morning rested, with a slightly different perspective and an awareness of the positive power this practice has in my life.

Writing topic:  Reflecting on our practices

The Rules of Engagement

Day 344…

The struggle shows up because she said she would write responses to visual art for a patriotic exhibit that will hang in remembrance of 9/11.   A month ago she viewed the inspiring artwork, but now without the images in front of her, all she is reacting to is war.   And she does not like war.

Her first drafts sound didactic; they lack spirit.  She wants to give up.

She calls her friend Lynn instead.  She worked with her in Alternative to Violence Workshops and walked with her and Sister Margaret during Desert Storm.  She needs to remember these experiences.

An hour and a half later, she feels refreshed, although not yet ready to return to her work.  Something else is stirring inside her.  Memories of personal conflict are making their appearances.

So much has been merely passive and /or aggressive reactions.  What are the rules for meaningful engagement?  She turns to her muse.

I don’t like mindless reactions to conflict.

So use your non-violent experiences, Laura.

I’m trying.  But there’s so much noise.

Yeah, there is.

I’ve been told I’m subtle.

Is that a bad thing?

Maybe not.  But it means I’m easily overlooked.

Don’t be so sure.  There are others like you.  They too are subtle on their own.  Maybe y’all should combine forces. (In a non-violent way, of course.)

How do I do that?

Well, what did you do today?

I called Lynn.

That’s a good beginning.  Now go write those responses with spirit. And drop the pedantry.  School doesn’t start for another three weeks.

Thanks.

No problem.

Writing topic:  An engaging spirit

School Daze

Day 339…

This morning’s paper reports that seventeen  schools in my beloved district are academically unacceptable.  Unacceptable.  Imagine being labeled unacceptable.  Most of these schools have carried this label for several years now.

I “know” these schools.  I have observed interns teaching classes in almost all of them.  A lot of people are really trying.  The school board has added more technology, structured programs, more test-taking lessons.  But it is so hard to be reminded day after day, year after year, that you are in an academically unacceptable school, as determined in large part by a state test taken one week in the spring.

Something doesn’t seem “right.”  Something is missing.  Maybe these schools need more support from us, not just our judgment.  Something from the rest of us that won’t be “on the test.”  At least not literally.  I don’t know.   I just know this hurts me deeply.

Writing topic:  Unacceptable

Moment to Moment

Day 317…Do I begin this  blog telling you how my back hurts and I don’t know where I’m going to get the energy to go the the community garden this morning?  Ah, but it rained last night.  I heard thunder earlier and then…some strange rhythmic drumming.  Was it my ceiling fan?  The neighbor watering?  I guess I’d temporarily forgotten what rain sounds like.

Then there’s this sign calling attention to the cone flowers in the middle of the path through my garden to the front door.  On the ground are crepe myrtle flowers that fell during last night’s rain.

I was trying to capture birds with my camera and getting discouraged because they wouldn’t stay still long enough to frame and focus a clear picture.  But the swinging girl with the open heart willingly obliged.

Now the blog is done, my mind is off the discomfort in my back and it’s time to head to the youth garden.

Writing topic:  In the moment

Thanks, Mother Nature

Day 298…

When I woke up this morning it was already hot.  Yesterday the temperature hit 100 and we’ve had no rain.  Argh…it’s not even officially summer yet.  And at last night’s cooking class, we made, and ate, enough for two heavy meals.  Ugh…I’m not used to heavy evening meals.  Grumble, grumble, grumble.

Someone needs an attitude adjustment.  It’s gonna be a long day.

So I take my coffee to the garden in hopes of finding some relief.  It’s already 80 degrees.  Sit still, Laura.  Watch the dawn break.

I feel a breeze.  I water plants and dig out nut grass.  Just stick to the routine, Laura.

Ta-da.  I spot an emerging cicada clinging to my crepe myrtle tree.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen this before.  Yeah, I see the shells all the time, and I’ve seen the actual insect.  But this emerging event is new.  It slows me down.  Calls me to look closer.

Six feet to my left I examine my plumbago.  What a beautiful shade of blue.  Look at the way its flowers unfold.  Slow down, Laura.  There’s much to see.

On the other side of the curving garden wall two tiny flowers quietly wait for me to see them.  I don’t remember what they are called.  They will only last a day.  Pay attention, Laura.

I return to my blue chair and pick up the journal Melissa brought me from her trip.  This will be my garden journal, I think as I fill the first page with today’s sketches and observations.  There’s a lump in my throat.

What a difference a few minutes in the early morning garden makes.

Writing topic:  Earth mothering