Saturday, January 24, 2015

Why I Write

Recently, I have added a new practice into my morning routine. In addition to my meditation and a few gentle stretches and breathing practices, I have been sitting down at my desk and writing. It has been taking more of a journaling format and I think I spend 10-15 minutes jotting down things, but I will say it has been extremely nourishing and a lovely new practice that not only brings me lots of joy, but is creating a sense of spaciousness as well. 

This morning, I was at my desk, really settling into the groove and since it was Saturday, I spent some extra time with the writing. One of the things that showed up at the forefront of my mind as well as on the page was this question/inquiry of why I write. The question came from a place of pure inquiry, no judgement at all, but really took the role of witness. So I played with it for a bit and through my day today, I continued to come back to the question itself over and over and when something starts to dig into me, I like to put on my detective badge and do some digging. 

Let's go back in time. I remember clearly taking a few creative writing classes growing up, outside of school. I remember how fearless I was in writing, sharing, getting the feedback, and then going back to the page and reworking things. I always had journals and notebooks, filled with my observations about life, my experiences living as a human on the planet. Some of my greatest memories were being in my room on a Sunday afternoon with a fresh notebook and pen just writing at my desk. 

I remember writing speeches and participating in essay contests with Toastmaster groups for scholarships, and also writing for my high school newspaper when I was a freshman and the whole paper was run by juniors and seniors. Little fear. High amounts of confidence. The topics were relatively concrete...very easy to come up with things, facts, and opinions. And then in college, writing was more about getting to a desired result, a grade, or a deadline. I could pump papers out in my sleep, it never bothered me as it did some of my friends and classmates. 

And then when I was dealing with my own emotional turmoil in college, my personal writing took a turn. My journals were dark, scattered with thoughts that would make people cringe, anger and sadness saturated page after page. Being with my thoughts at times was uneasy and so I took time away from my personal writing practice and really threw myself into my yoga studies. After graduating from college, I took my trip to Nepal and my journal was my rock. It allowed me to process a deeply transformative experience in being in a developing country for three weeks. I was also traveling along and so having my journal made me feel connected to something bigger than myself. 

Moving to Seattle in 2007 was also a deeply transformative time. I was leaving the comfortable bubble that college provided and really heading out on my own to become an adult. All of this led me to starting my blog.

My first post on this blog was on February 7, 2008, almost seven years ago. I started it as a way to bring my writing out into the world, not caring at all about readers, followers, making money from a blog, or having any huge goals around it. It was a vehicle to develop my own practice and craft and get a deeper sense of what it means to bring my thoughts and musings into the light, a very vulnerable act. Since then, I have had highly productive spurts of posts and then periods of nothing for months at a time, usually because I had let life gobble me up, not creating the space for the craft. I intentionally don't create a strategy for the blog because I feel it's so important to follow what's in front of me and what's in my heart. Having the blog is a great exercise for in not being attached to outcomes and certain results, a very counter-intuitive way of being for me personally. 

So...now, I ask myself the question again...why do I write? Well, I write for lots of reasons; clarity, finding my voice, uncovering the unseeable, processing challenging interactions, looking at the world through a new lens. But the real reason I write is that it gives me such peace and contentment to take the thoughts in my head and get them out, letting them go like a child throwing a penny into a wishing fountain. Some of the stuff I write, nobody will ever see and some of the stuff I put out here on the blog can be considered crap. And at the end of the day, if I can find a little more space to be open and vulnerable in a world that is so confronting, then maybe, just maybe others will too. 

Happy writing.


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