Ways to Renew Your Writing Spirit

IMG-4881I am spiritual, although my journey has been interrupted for a few years while I fretted and fumed about the state of the material world, politics, how unloved I felt and what ranking my new novel had on Amazon. These were some of the dark concerns that drew me away from my spiritual practices.

Enter my dear friend and fellow writer, Weam Namou. Weam is many things: a writer, a filmmaker, a journalist, a cable news host, a wife and mother. She is also a teacher and a healer. To that end she organized a spiritual retreat this past weekend. Her program, The Path of Consciousness, brought together many workshop leaders in a beautiful setting for three days of practicing both writing and matters of the spirit. These teachers showed participants how to blend the two. I never knew how to marry spirit and writing, or if I did, I forgot. This retreat was just what I needed.

My day of spiritual renewal started with a vision board workshop with Sonya Julie. I have done vision boards for my novels and vision portfolios for my home and work life. When you are attracted to something, envision it as part of your life. There’s a good chance it will manifest. To keep the vision front and center, have a visual reference. Sonya brought magazines, glue sticks, scissors and colored pens—as well as index cards—for each of us to create a vision card. The card I made in her class became my motif for the day.

IMG_4877

Next class went for a walk in the woods with Patty Shaw. She used the root chakra to help us drop what was holding us back so we could move forward into the new. We stood still before a set of steps that led down into the woods and felt the negative energies we held so tightly inside gather in the root of our body. Then we went down the path into the woods where we dropped the negative energy into the earth where it dissipated. Next we filled ourselves with the good in nature and emerged from the dark path into the light. The was more on this walk but that moment, when I let go of so much negativity, was life-changing.

I didn’t really get how writing and spirit worked together until a sacred experience in meditation class. We did a guided mediation with the third eye chakra (indigo blue) and the sacral chakra (orange). Heather Rae, owner of Little Lotus Wellness Studio in Ferndale, instructed us to envision the third eye and color as the higher creative spirit inside and the lower sacral chakra and color as the birth of creativity. She had us envision passing from one to the next, pouring into and feeding each other.

I did not expect what happened next.

As I envisioned this chakra energy as colors, it began to wind through me and I could see in my mind’s eye that, as the colors met, they blended. It was like I had a circle of energy passing through me and even out into the air. It was amazing. I felt totally refreshed after that. I saw how writing and spirit co-exist.

Weam herself taught the last workshop. I have been journaling for many years. It’s my firmest ritual, and I’ve come to depend on it to ground me at the beginning of every day. Still, my routine had become a bit, well, routine. I was going through the motions but nothing was happening on an energetic, spiritual or even creative writing level. Yes, I was clearing a path, but perhaps Weam could show me how to do more with this beloved practice.

The best advice for me, and I feel it will energize and recharge my morning pages, is that when I notice my writing (this is free writing, so nothing that you’d publish or even share) gets bogged down with negatives, to turn it around with a question. “Why am I feeling so hopeless?” for example. Next, quickly write down ten reasons why you may be feeling less than positive. I have a list. It starts with politics and ends with gender bias with a slab of sexual violence toward women in between. Where do I get all this from? Another list…television, social media, print media, books, conversation. How to heal this negativity? Pretty easy. Limit television news. Choose friends wisely and keep books and media positive.

It has not been lost on me that my biggest obstacle in this life is fear. Fear is also the name of a book currently on my Kindle. I’m not going to put my head in the sand, but I am going to work on balancing my life by being more focused on the spiritual. Spirit is what has been lacking. It’s always been there, but I’ve ignored it in favor of worldly chaos.

One thing Weam said makes so much sense. “Look deeper into your negative patterns of thought. What is in your home? What is on your phone? Your television? What kind of pictures are on your walls?”

IMG_4873

Weam pointed out that there are metaphors for what we need to heal everywhere. For me that’s especially true in my home. I’ve worked really hard to make my home reflect my spirit. But I could do more. So I brought out my crystals and singing bowl from where they were tucked away on a shelf and put them front and center in my writing room. I turned off the television and turned inward. And as I hoped it would, this retreat into spirit has unburdened my soul and renewed me for the journey ahead.

 

 

Continuing Adventures

This is the cute B & B I found less than a mile from the studio where I will participate in a weekend workshop that is for the first time in my life NOT about writing. My friend Laura Zera facilitates these Desire Map workshops with deep inner attention to core desires. Like what will you regret NOT doing on your deathbed? And how can you get off your duff and do it already?

It’s amazing how much of the day I spend NOT doing what I want to do, but instead mindlessly drift from here to there in cyberspace, in my car, in the supermarket, or this week, from doctor to doctor. Giant pain in the ass, a little bit scary for a minute, but also a huge burst of happiness when I learned that I did not, in fact, have to have my vein cut open, I did not have to have a suspect “mass” removed, I did not have to wait for a biopsy to tell me if it was malignant. After three different people did ultrasounds at a hospital that shall remain nameless, the last guy thought he had it all figured out. “We just don’t know what kind of surgeon you’re gonna need,” he said.

ballard.starbucks.IMG_0989

He actually seemed kind of excited that he’d found this rare thing; it was a tiny bit dehumanizing. In fact, I wandered dazed into Starbucks for a soy latte afterward and while waiting for my drink checked Facebook & posted what I thought was a discreet update. Ha. My son calls me “the most extroverted person he knows” on social media. Which is funny because in real life, I’m an introvert. But my post turned out to be a good thing. Lots of love plus I believe in positive vibrations.

Also, a friend I have known since junior high school is married to a surgeon. She saw my post and sent a text offering help. I wasn’t going to bother them; my doctor said surgery was not a for sure thing. “We would, however, like you to consult with this vascular surgeon…” and it was my friends’  husband, who I have also known since junior high.

Trust him with my life? You bet! So I called my friend and she got me in the next day. He was so kind and delivered the most excellent news. I didn’t need surgery, I didn’t need to do anything, this little clot was dissolving on its own and I was gonna be just fine.

And see how discreet I am? I didn’t say their names! Or the name of our junior high even! My son has no idea how much I don’t tell, which is way more than I do. I keep paper journals for the really intense stuff. Or I turn it into fiction. So…on a natural high I naturally came home and booked the workshop.

Even though it’s in Seattle, Washington and I live in Washington, Michigan. Because I deserve it and I need to figure out what to do with this next part of my wonderful life that I don’t want to sleepwalk through or throw away doing something stupid that doesn’t matter. Also, I’m working in a day with Owen, my Seattle grandson. Then I’ll meet Al in California, where we will spend a week with our NEW grandson, who is not yet born. Don’t you think Owen’s already looking like the older cousin? He’s Granny’s big boy now.

IMG_4889

I had one more doctor appointment this week, my yearly eye check and the only thing that happened was he dialated my eyes (still that miraculous 20/20, or as Al would say “expensive” 20/20) so I couldn’t read the fine print on the menu when I met my friends for lunch later that day. No problem. Ordered my usual sweet potato fries and a glass of Chardonnay.

Then we went shopping. I am not an avid shopper and I do better at it after a glass of wine. Not that I need an excuse to have a glass of wine or six. But even with just the one glass, I found an antique desk I really like. And a new suitcase I can manage on my own with a carry on. Because Al isn’t coming with me to Seattle this time. And I’m not going home in between trips. And he refuses to bring my huge month-in-Europe suitcase to California. Which means I need to be organized and independent and so forth. I need luggage I can handle on my own. That’s good. It’s part of my core desire, I think. I’ll know for sure after the workshop.

And of course I’ll tell you my core desires when I figure them out because I am the social media extrovert who spills all. (Not.) For example, I could talk more about Al not bringing my second suitcase to California, making it necessary for me to lug around an extra bag. (Do you think that word lug is the root of luggage?) I will say that I am okay with Al refusing to be responsible for my extra shoes and outfits. He’s got his own baggage. Actual and otherwise. Notice how I don’t say what exactly all that is. The only person I tell on is myself. That’s my rule. That and always order the sweet potato fries.

 Life is good and so were these.