I am sitting in a cozy chair in the living room while I begin writing close to the bone. I can hear the tic…tic of the clock on the wall. The sound of the fridge humming in the background is almost soothing. Too much silence can be loud. The cat is purring on the couch across from me. In a few moments, she’ll come over and lick my toes as I rest my feet near her. This is her nightly ritual and my nightly foot bath. An incense is burning in my potted Norfolk Pine and the smell is intoxicating. All I need now is for my heart to speak to me in a language I’ll understand. Maybe some music will help. The kind that melts the body and makes the soul cry.
Photo credit: Yigal Ozeri: Untitled (Priscilla in Ecstasy), 2007, oil on paper; 60,69 x 91,44 cm, Courtesy of Mike Weiss Gallery, New York; and Charim Gallery, Vienna
The Best Way To Begin
In last week’s post, I offered some examples of writing close to the bone and the opening paragraph above is another one. As you can see, I am just noting the facts of what some of my senses are experiencing in the moment. This has always, always, been my most favorite way to begin writing. Before I was taught this exercise, I would spend literally hours agonizing over the blank screen or page in front of me. I’ve hardly ever used another way to begin writing because this one has been so effective.
New Pathways Reveal Themselves
Usually at this point, the opening is beginning to reveal a new pathway to follow. It can be a flash of insight, a picture in my head, or an entire download of spiritual prose.
What I have learned through years of writing in this way is that I will never know ahead of time what I will be writing about. I always think I know, and even have an agenda at times, but time and again I have been shown that I am not in charge of the creative process.
You Can’t Control The Creative Process
The creative process is infinite and expansive. We must never think we have control over it or try to impose our will upon it. One of my favorite quotes about this is, “You cannot control the process, but you must master the craft.” -Vinita Hampton Wright
So much of the very rawness of our everyday life can weave its way into our creativity if we are open and flexible enough to allow this to happen, For example, just the other day I was involved in an incident at a well that I go to once a week to get water from a natural spring.
Usually, this is a moment of real peace and beauty because the well is located in the woods next to a gurgling creek. The sun is often filtering in through the trees and I love to just silently stand there and listen to the birds.
Writing Close To The Bone – Using Our Emotions
On this particular day, however, there was an enraged father there humiliating his sweet 19 or 20-year-old son because he wasn’t filling up their containers properly. It was a toxic and vile energy to witness especially in contrast to the peaceful setting. The following is snippet of what I wrote about it. You can read the full article here.
“I assumed the other man was his father, and for just one split second I hesitated about getting out of the car, and then the warrior woman in me took over. As I reached for the door handle, my daughter reached over to stop me. I calmly told her that I was going to step between the two of them and try and stop this deep and now public shaming from continuing. When I got out of the car and walked over, I literally stepped between the two of them as naturally as I could to wait my turn to fill up my container. They had many jugs to fill but I stood there silently and made immediate eye contact with the kid. When I looked over at the father he smiled at me and nodded. I politely nodded back but inside I wanted to rip his eyeballs out.”
The Creative Process Helps Us Make Sense of Life
Sometimes when tough things happen in our lives it can feel like a deep disruption in our creative process. We may feel knocked off balance and feel the need to stop everything just to find our center again. While this may certainly be true in some extreme situations, I personally have discovered that using the creative process is a masterful way of making sense of something difficult.
I have come to believe that our creative inner genius is also our healer. It is the voice of an inner wisdom that we could not possibly fathom we have access to until we actually get down to the business of writing close to the bone.
In other words, we must just begin and trust in the process.
Spend Regular Time Being Filled With Wonder
Finally, as spiritual writers, we must make time in our lives to be continually filled with wonder. After all, it is our connection to Spirit that flows its grace and wisdom through us if we remember to do that which keeps the channels open.
I do this daily by either taking a walk in nature, listening to some beautiful music, walking the aisles of a farmer’s market, reading passages of spiritual text, endless gazing at the sky; listen to the sound of your own heart beating. Feed the art inside of you. Nourish your soul. There’s an endless well of beauty and wisdom living within.
Reach Out And Connect
I truly love hearing from you so should you have any questions, or you simply want to say hello, please feel free to leave a comment below or connect with me through my Contact page.