Beginning Again

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My friend Janel and I met for our “writing group” this morning.

This sacred, monthly ritual consists of taking up a table at Camber for at least two hours, talking about everything but writing, and then making rushed, earnest promises to one another in the last five minutes about all the writing we are going to do before we’re together again.

We usually begin by talking about favorite pens and journals. In case you’re pining for the details, my favorite pen is the PaperMate InkJoy gel, and hers is the Office Max version of the flair pen. And we’re both using (cheap) bullet journals in a much sloppier way than the Instagram feeds we follow. And she turned me onto using big post-its for my to-do list in the front of my journal. After 44 years of life, it’s satisfying to figure some of these things out.

I promised to start blogging again, and here I am! Yet another example of how writing group is actually working even though we are (blessedly) not hardcore about it. The two of us are hardcore about plenty of things—being present to our children, working hard at our jobs, trying to deepen our marriages and eat less french fries. It’s nice to drop into this gracious space with one another.

Writing here again underlines a core conviction of mine: We are meant to be creators, not just consumers! I’ve had so many clients in my office lately who are drowning in notifications, buried under banal input, trying to hear themselves again. We all need some kind of place to make something.

I’ve adopted Emily’s instructions to herself. When she feels anxious, lonely, or out-of-sorts, she reminds herself of three “M’s”: Make, Move, Meditate. These have been really helpful to me lately. The “make” might be starting dinner prep or pinching dead leaves off a houseplant. The “move” might be vacuuming or one minute of stretching. The “meditate” might be one 9-second breath, reminding me to be in my body. They all serve to keep me from energetically “scrolling,” mindlessly ingesting what other people are saying or passively watching what’s going on around me. More than ever, the world needs us to be present to ourselves so we can be present to the world.

I am prone to an all-or-nothing orientation when it comes to writing, moving my body, or praying and meditating. If I can’t completely knock it out of the park, I just don’t start. This little blog entry today lets me begin again, lets me treat this day and this moment like the practice it is.