My art is writing. A day spent without purposeful writing is not, to me, a day well spent. My life is finally beautifully organized around this: I work from home and my work as a health coach in itself is inspiring to me; I live on a piece of land that offers me a view of an acre of pasture from my studio window; and, I can spend hours each morning writing, the best writing time for me.
Yet, to write well I must be able to hear what wants to come forth from my soul onto the page.
This past week I have not been able to hear even though I tried to listen. I walked the property and spent time with my favorite tree, listening. I sat on my bright yellow meditation pillow for 20 minutes, listening. I stood on my porch as the resident roadrunner examined the dirt for a meal, two bright red cardinals flew circles around each other, and a red-tail hawk screamed from the tallest tree, listening. But it would not come.
It is a terribly unsatisfying feeling to not be able to write, or to do whatever your calling may be. It left me feeling unsatiated, starving for something. I tried to fill it by eating my sourdough bread with lots of butter. I had wine though I have not really been drinking lately. I made an extra pot of coffee though I normally don’t drink coffee after my morning cup. I ate a pint of keto ice cream. I wanted to, no, I needed to, fill that emptiness.
Deep in my heart I knew what I had to do. I had to connect to my emotions, something I am not normally hesitant to do but right now I seem to be. I needed to sit down and do some serious meditation, and I was not happy about this.
Last night the musician East Forest gave a free three-hour concert on YouTube and I knew this was what I needed. Extreme times call for extreme measures. Three hours felt extreme to me. A few of my closest friends were also going to be listening which made me feel less alone and gave me courage. And you know what? It worked. About an hour in, I found what was holding me back.
Fear, anxiety and problem-solving-brain were turned up as far as possible. If thoughts had sounds, mine sounded like the beginning of the song Money by Pink Floyd: a lot of inputs being poured in and then the “Total” button being pressed, over and over and over. Problems were being categorized and resolved. Equations, proofs, mind maps, clinking and clanking, clicking and clucking. Of course I couldn’t write over that din. I could not hear what was inside of me.
Finally I quieted down and began to focus on the music, putting all thoughts aside as much as I could. They would creep back in and as they did, I realized this was a chance to practice refocusing, something I would need in order to write. I needed to continually bring myself back to the music, underneath all of the noise. Each time I was able to do it, it felt like a huge sigh of relief: Ahhh, there it is.
“Rule of thumb: the more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more resistance we will feel about answering it. But to yield to resistance deforms our spirit.” – Steven Pressfield
I know this is an unprecedented time. The problem solver epidemiologist manager in me wants to find order in the unknown, right the seeming chaos. This part of me is telling me to fix shit instead of sit down and write, but my soul will not have it. When I’m not writing it sends out signals of hunger. The longer I do not do it, the louder it gets like the rumbling of an empty stomach in a silent room. No matter the external situation, the call perseveres.
What is calling you in this time? Can you make a clearing for the hearing to catch those subtle sounds, the ones that require you to be quiet enough to hear? I implore you to listen, especially right now.
“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” – Gospel of Thomas
Let’s keep bringing it forth. The world needs it and so do you.
*Song to accompany the feeling: Light of a Clear Blue Morning