When There Are No Words

Most often when I return home from a week-long writing retreat I am filled with inspiration, using every spare moment to capture words and images. But this summer… to borrow a phrase from Monty Python, “And now, for something completely different.”

This year I decided to attend a month-long Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat on a southern Gulf Island on the west coast of Canada. I knew that our small group of practitioners would be encouraged to remain in silence as much as possible.

I envisioned all the time I would have for writing as I packed for my month away. I filled a large briefcase with all my writing materials: rough draft manuscript, narrative journal, daily haiku journal, two handfuls of pens, and two blank notebooks in case I needed more space for all the words I expected to flow.

Surprise! During the entire month I didn’t write, other than notes I took during the teaching sessions. I discovered that working with specific meditation practices and maintaining silence means avoiding the process of transferring thoughts in my mind to words on the page. Most mornings I’d look at my neglected notebooks and try to recapture the sensation of wanting to write. No impulse showed up. I was content to meditate – walking, sitting, standing– without any need for written expression. I was living in a space of no words, beyond any mind-state narrative.

Have you ever experienced a time where you were so fully present to the world around you that words seem irrelevant? Where you felt so connected to the living beings within your environment, that human language felt inadequate? Having recently emerged from that space, I can say with certainty that this is not writer’s block. I’m discovering a deeper awareness of what it means to be a human being alive on the planet today. Lessons continue to emerge in the form of images and metaphors.

Now that I’m home, I’ve been creating routines for this fall season. I have resumed a regular time and space for my writing practice, building trust in my writing voice and inner guidance. My pace is slower than usual, so I’ve made some changes to my Events schedule:

These changes are giving me time to focus on creating Marie’s Writing Oasis. If you wish to receive updates about the Oasis, please click here.

Thank you to everyone who has already signed up for the Oasis!  This is a new arena for me, and I’m excited to launch this platform for writing and sharing together on a drop-in basis. I anticipate the first session will happen in mid-October. If you want to receive updates about the adventure, CLICK HERE.

Creatively Yours,



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