When I first read this line, I felt a settling in my belly…a thunk; a softening, which, for me, is the physical manifestation of “yes.”
Damn, that woman nailed it…she so eloquently articulated the essence of what I believe…and what I often say about the benefits of a writing practice.
So naturally, I love this.
At the same time, part of me is jealous. Jealous that Jen’s out there saying things that are very similar to the stuff that I say.
Only she’s been saying it longer.
And her audience is bigger.
And she has several vibrant programs. And she’s had several books published.
She’s also been featured in magazines and on rock-star blogs and, hell, she’s even been on Oprah.
So blahblahblah; comparison comparison comparison, not-good-enough, blahblahblah, bullshit bullshit bullshit.
Oy. Wow. Look at that, huh? Look what I uncovered by writing it down. (well, duh.)
So ok…that bit of blahblahblah side-tracking is a perfect example of what I believe and what I know:
When you get present, when you spend time with yourself (and in my world, this happens by putting thoughts on the page)…you uncover truths about yourself.
This is part of what Jen teaches – and what she’s taught me (as a student in her teach now program) – and what I teach too.
I support women who believe that walking a little off the beaten path in service of finding and living a life that has meaning for them (when so much about the world conspires to fit us into an “acceptable” norm) is rewarding, challenging, wonderful and worth it.
Sure, it’s one step forward, two steps back sometimes. And our lives are packed full of distractions, and things that are hard…things that make it so easy to lean into the distractions.
But whatever you do to “pause and listen to your heart” is worth it. Because, as Jen says: life will reward you with presence.
And isn’t that what people who are standing at the edge of their time on the planet talk about? They’re certainly not – as the age old saying goes – lamenting: “I wish I had spent more time at the office,” but “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me” and “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”
This is what they want; and it’s what I want…and I’m betting it’s what you want too.
Yes, it can be scary, and you have to do the work. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to wait. (and yes, i am hearing paula cole in my head now.)
The thing is, this process of pausing and listening to your heart is not like turning on a light switch. You don’t get present and stay there. You go back to sleep sometimes. You get distracted. Old habits die hard. Ego takes over. Comparison and envy (see above rant re: jen-does-what-i-do-only-better-and-longer-and-more-whatevah).
But what I believe – and what this statement from Jen reminded me (and captured) so amazingly – is that it’s a process we have to commit to. We CHOOSE it. Again, and again and again. And I – and my Writer Babes – choose this way of living (this way of being) every time we pick up and pen, start where we are, and write.
It’s with this in mind, that I’m working to better articulate what I do and how I do it. For a long time, when I’ve talked about my work, I’d lead by talking about writing. “I am writing evangelist,” I’d say. Or “I’m a writing coach.” And I am. Sort of.
But what I’m realizing – and what I’m having to admit (to myself and the world) – is that I’m a coach who uses the tool of writing to gain presence. And that presence helps us choose a life of meaning and happiness.
For years I’ve talked about how a writing practice (like the one that i have and the one that i teach) will help if you want to write a book, blog posts, poems, songs, short stories, etc. etc. but it’s the practice; the self-expression and exploration; the working out of the needs and wants and the shoulds and the gotta-dos that is the most important part.
A writing practice is a place to find support. A place to kvetch in safe space. A daily session with a therapist who has your best interest at heart…without the co-pay.
Writing is the tool. And the thing you get by using that tool? Presence. A writing practice can guide you to the heart of you. As you write, you’ll meet yourself on the page. The practice will help you find the strength to live what you discover, and let go of what’s holding you back.
It’s not always easy. But isn’t it worth it?
I think so.
Writing is how I choose. It’s how I listen to my heart.
If this is how you do it – or how you think you might like to do it – stick around; stay awhile. Chat with me in the comments or join and engage in the Write Yourself Awesome community on Facebook. Subscribe to my email list (i call it my fabu-list.) (see what i did there?). And if you’re local (NJ area), come to one of the local Living Out Loud (aka: the writer babes) workshops. Stay tuned for virtual workshops too. (and a blog that better articulates what i’m about and what i can offer you in your quest for a life of meaning and awesomeness.)