In some ways, 2020 has felt like a giant waiting room. A year in which many of us have been collectively on pause. Uncertain. In Buddhist spiritual practice, “waiting” means I expect that the next moment is going to be better. This year I’ve been learning to notice what is happening right now and to appreciate the smallest of gifts. This has been a time to express gratitude for each breath, to notice beauty in my surroundings; to pay attention. To celebrate life and connection with others, whether it’s happening online, in snail mail letters, or a physically distanced walk with a friend.
It’s also been a time to grieve many losses. A time to honor personal suffering and the suffering of others. Through this process, I feel a growing compassion for our shared human condition. At the same time, I’m aware of my great privilege, that I have a home, some measure of financial security, a supportive environment, and natural surroundings nearby. I’ve found myself reaching out with more generosity of late, to share my gifts in ways that feel aligned.
Through all the challenges of these pandemic months – and there have been many – I’ve continued to host online writing groups. At the beginning, I was hesitant, uncertain about how the writing process would translate into the online format. What a delight these writing groups have been! As we continue writing and sharing together, no matter our different life experiences, we discover common threads. It's as if our words on the page connect us in shared humanity. There is healing power in our sharing, along with laughter and joy. We listen to one another with full attention and full hearts.
Every time we share, we are among kindred spirits... because we all write about human things. The beautiful and the messy, spilled out on the page imperfectly. I miss being in the room with others to experience this transformational practice! But until we can meet again, we owe it to ourselves and one another to still meet virtually and connect through story.
To keep your pen moving on the page through this time of the turning of the wheel, here are some timed-writing topics (optimal time is 10 minutes for each topic). The theme is Writing from Opposites:
I remember // I don’t remember
What I love // What I avoid
What I want to write about // What I don’t want to write about
Something I've learned about myself // Something I already knew
Biggest challenge // Biggest breakthrough