On my birthday (May 26), I will be stepping into a commitment of "a year and a day" handfasted to truth. Truth and I, we have had a lifelong relationship (at times the relationship was a private hell with very little public display), even when I refused to see or accept it. I take my commitment seriously and decided to "practice" before the actual handfast begins. Here is what the past week of practice has taught me already.
Practice means getting to feel the water and adjust the temperature. There is also the more concrete "practice" of doing the work. This week has shown me that my practice is not just with words. It is meditation and exercise. It is friends and family. It is showing up--raw and authentic. Doing the work while simultaneously letting go of knowing what the work is. It turns out this past week much of the work has been to shut up and listen.
Listening is helping me formulate my intention--what is really important about this project for me.
I need to hold myself accountable to actually do the work and I thought daily writing would be a measurement of that. I thought I was committing to writing a daily blog, but when I tried to force that to happen, I got clarity that that is not what is most important. I am committing to exploring and sharing the truth of me through a regular blog post. With all due respect to my fabulousness, I do not have something clear and important to say everyday. I have a tangled mess of thoughts and words searching with me for a way to blaze them a trail. I believe that the gentle act of storytelling from a place of truth and vulnerability is the tool I have to assist. My stories are my sickle clearing ground and shedding light on the earth that is me. I will post to share this work as it unfolds but not to spew words.
Sometimes Colleen, you need to shut up. Listen. Too often, I make decisions willy-nilly and weeks, months, or years later I turn around and look at the path that I followed as a result of my decision. The best paths have thoughtful decisions and hard work paving the way. Too many of my own paths were laid by my decisions and led me away from myself and that is not what I want to do here. I want to be more mindful.
Sometimes in silence I can almost see my tangles undoing themselves. As I silently undo, I contemplate the importance of the thoughts and connections that bubble up. I have learned that when a thought is ready for writing, it volunteers itself to me. I thought I was going to go out and pick thoughts out like a teacher picks on students when no one raises their hand. But practice has taught me that I want to share the words that are ready to be spoken and there are plenty of stories that are brave enough to stand up and volunteer. The brave ones might just nudge the others out.
What direction will my path take? I have some fun crazy stories--a "drunkalogue" if you will. I have spiritual stories that are like miracles to me and feel like such a gift to hold. I can weave this truth with yours truly as the human character of hero, victim, spiritual seeker, or depressed loser. (To name a few.) I have been thinking about that, I want to be mindful but I don't yet have the answer.
Another thought, what about my shadow truths? As I am writing about something heartfelt and true, but not the thing that presently makes my stomach churn with fear and sadness, am I telling the truth? But, isn't it also true that my stomach and my mind have not yet figured out what is important to share about today's experience? This week of practice has shown me that what I am living today, my most present truth, is tangled with the lives of other living, breathing, humans. I tread lightly to honor privacy--I am still thinking about how to live the truth of myself in a somewhat public way. Today silence is better than words for those unsolved pieces.
I am still unraveling the exact words that name the intention of the commitment I am about to make. I am holding the conflicts and I am grateful that already I am growing from this practice. These past couple days I have not written because the last time I wrote, I had nothing to say. It was good practice for me to realize that I want to write the thoughts and words that are ready to be named. Practice reminds me that this whole life is nothing more than practice. Today's lesson is that sometimes there is no word more important than silence.