My return to a daily writing practice is reinforcing important lessons in other areas of my life. I was explaining to a friend on the phone how my objective with my writing these days is simply to show up to the page and write. I don't have a particular project or outcome in mind. But the daily writing isn't an aimless pursuit. It's like weight training for my mind. It's loosening up my thinking and creativity and because I've been in this space before, I know that when an idea or project crops up, I'll be ready.
This friend and I have yoga in common. As I was explaining my writing practice to her, a yoga anecdote came to mind. For the nearly eight years I have practiced yoga, the half moon pose has taunted me. It is a balancing pose. One foot is planted on the floor while the other leg is lifted behind at a 90 degree angle from the floor. The body bends at the hips, so that the hand on the same side as the balancing foot reaches (ideally) to the floor.
This pose was so challenging because I have tight hamstrings that don't allow for easy access to the floor. I could find myself really frustrated by my inability to lift the back leg 90 degrees, by the pain in the standing hamstring, or by my general wobbliness.
Among the myriad lessons of yoga teacher training, chief among them was the importance of not resisting what I cannot do today. There were a lot of poses or drills that were beyond my capacity in the six months of training, but what I remembered was the importance of showing up and doing what I could. What was happening in the smallest increments, (so small I couldn't recognize it in real time) was I was gaining strength, flexibility, knowledge of my body and its mechanics, and confidence.
In one class a few nights ago, the teacher and same friend I was explaining all of this to on the phone, guided us into half moon. I followed her prompts and was in it! Just like that. I wasn't wobbling. I was solid in the pose. My back leg was at a 90 degree angle. My hand was propped on a block to bring the floor closer. This ability had sneaked up on me, while I was showing up at my mat, doing the work. I know that had I kept forcing half moon it would not have come so accessibly when it did. I laid the groundwork and the pay off—the full expression of the pose— followed.
“If you feel stuck, stop pushing. Resistance freezes. Acceptance flows.” - Martha Beck
I accepted where I was in my yoga practice and let it be okay. I did what I could and let go of what I couldn't until one day, that changed.
The same goes for my writing as this blog post demonstrates. I have written every day for the entire month of this New Year. I haven't felt like I had anything pressing to say on my blog, but I've shown up and put words on the screen. Each morning I really have no plan for my writing, I welcome whatever fills the page.
Today I heard the phone conversation with my friend taking shape as a blog post, and I stayed open to what might come. I labeled it “Potential Blog Post” in case something workable came of it, I could search the document and find it later.
If I had come to the laptop every morning determined to write something to post, that force would have stopped the flow of creativity. Instead this day's page has been written in about 15 minutes. I am showing up for my work, my craft, and letting that work have its way with me. It's the only way now. Seventeen days into the month and I've written more than 11,000 words.