Sunday, June 14, 2009

Drying Off

It’s that time of year when I pull myself out of the water and let my fingers and toes dry out.

I step out of the surf and walk on dry land again, wanting to feel the air on my skin and the earth beneath my feet.

In the past I used to dread leaving the water.

I was afraid that I’d never find my way back into the pool, that the source of words inside me would dry up, and that I’d never write another word.

But I need to rest after intense periods of work as a way of replenishing the pools within me.

It’s taken years for me to become used to these cycles, to become aware of the rhythms that my body needs to follow so that my internal well can fill with words again.

Each time I step out of the water, I have to remind myself that writing is about stepping into the flow of words rather than controlling the words.

Here’s what Stephen Cope’s friend, Rudi, says about writing in Cope’s The Wisdom of Yoga:
“You know,” Rudi said, “you think you’re guiding the process. But you’re not. You’re not guiding the process of your writing, any more than you’re guiding the process of your awakening. The truth is, you don’t have a clue what the failure of this book means. It’s probably a success hiding out as a failure.”
Reading Cope’s book –and others like it– have helped me over the past year learn that I’m a different writer when I let go of the desire to control the words.

When I can release my fears and let the words flow, I can hear my voice.

Not the voice that I think I should hear.

The voice that I need to hear.

And stepping out of the water to rest is simply part of the process of listening for this voice.

See you back in the water in a few weeks.

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