Monday, November 22, 2010

What do you want?

"Begin doing what you want to do now, we are not living in eternity.
We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand-
and melting like a snowflake."  Marie Beyon Ray

What I want

Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing to be dazzled —
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing —
that the light is everything — that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.

–Mary Oliver

Monday, November 15, 2010

Writing with Natalie Goldberg

OK, many of you have read the book. Many of you are practitioners already. For those of you already familiar with the books, I thought I knew what timed writing was all about, having read Wild Mind and Writing down the Bones. I had even taught the exercises in my journal writing classes.

But this weekend at Kripalu, amongst 149 other participants, I learned the discipline of putting it into practise.  Writing is a physical activity, as Natalie often says, and a lot of elbow grease goes into a writing workshop with these repeated 10 minute exercises.  (With a frozen shoulder and irritated nerve in my writing arm, this was a challenge). Natalie would often begin by having us sit for a while in silence, or listening to a song mindfully, then throw us a topic and say Go!

The second part of this discipline was to read one of our short pieces out loud, either to the whole group (some lucky souls did this, shivering in their boots though they may have been, tearful or brave or sans breath). Or more often, in a smaller group of three or four, we read to each other.  In either case, it was very powerful.  No comments, not a workshop, no good or bad. Just listening. Many many healing stories were unlocked this weekend. I felt like just being there amongst these writers we were opening up a vast ear-tunnel to the Universe, with deep truths funneled up to the Compassionate Ear above (or below, or within, who knows).

Some of the prompts were from her book, Old Friend from Far Away. One of the prompts that got me really going was given on the last day, What do you really want to write about?

It sounds so obvious, but after spending all day Saturday writing, exploring the topics that lead to memory and stories and revealed some of the old weights I still carry - it became more and more clear just what my Voice wanted to say. I was given permission to write the worst crap in Massachusetts this weekend, plus I was encouraged to say what I really wanted to say, no matter what. No good, no bad, as Natalie put it so often.  Just listen wholeheartedly, with your whole body. Study the mind....

I hope if you ever want to write you will look up Natalie Goldberg. Her methods are simple but very powerful.  I feel like I grew a backbone this weekend, cleared a space for my truth to be told. No matter what is popular, who is listening, what is going on around me, I learned to fall in love with my particular story and the telling of it, ten minutes by ten minutes....

ps Kripalu is offering another session with her in May.

See her website for details on her workshop schedule or book orders. (

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


Pomegranites growing on a tree, Tuscany

There is no limit to the amount of good advice we are receiving every day through emails, internet, new books out on Self-Healing and Finding more Joy.

But this line caught my eye: going on regular rampages of Appreciation.

I guess it's like Random Acts of Kindness - you don't plan it, you just let yourself loose once in a while, instead of a rant on how awful the world is, the corruption of politicans and the high divorce rate, how rude teens are, etc etc.

What would get me started?

I just love the colour yellow beaming down from a maple tree even this late in November. I love the singular loon circulating on the lake in front of my window. I so appreciate the colour red in all the circulars I get in the mailbox, and on the pomegranites in the Auberge we visited in Tuscany. The silence of the empty trees on the island, shorn of colour, standing, waiting, expecting winter. I especially enjoy entering that silence within, allowing serenity to feel the emptiness. I appreciate the breath that fills my lungs, another day. I love greeting my husband after a long day of work, when we meet in the kitchen and I call out "Daddy's home!" and the dog and cats come running. I appreciate the few times we all have supper together, now that my big girl is working and teaching dance most evenings.

What would send you on a rampage?


Friday, November 05, 2010

In Praise of pasta, passion and feeling good

Flicking around in the web universe are some awesome little video clips from a man who has perfected the art of speaking about feeling, about passion, about being human.

Here is a little 7 minute clip worth watching.

nameste, have a happy November 5