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Writing Changes Everything

February 1, 2022

Writing Changes Everything

By Amba Gale

In a time when the “world is too much with us,” to quote Wordsworth, it can be difficult, sometimes, to move from a conversation inside my own head, which I sometimes wake up into, in the morning, a conversation filled with frustrations, worries, and fears, into a space of serenity, equanimity, centeredness.

I have a practice, each and every day, which I love to engage.

I write.

Before I write, however, I stop, pause, make, stir, and then drink my soothing tea. I watch the tea settle into my stomach. I observe myself inhaling, and exhaling, observing my breath, maybe three times, and before I’ve known it, I’ve dropped down deep, into another place, where it is very quiet. Being in that Quiet, I invite the writer within me, that intuitive, poetic Voice, to speak. A doorway opens, in which other thoughts are released, wise thoughts, not the chatter from the mind thoughts, word of wisdom that emanate from a clear place, a centered place, words which open a door to a new world. I listen, intently. Taking pen in hand, I let them flow through – my body, my arm, through the pen, down to the beautiful white, blank page. I don’t know where the pen is taking me, usually. I just trust the process of writing. It doesn’t matter what mood I start in. Somehow, the writing itself sorts me out.

I don’t censor, I don’t even lift the pen off the page. I just write.

Spending time this way brings me to a settling, a centering. While I might start confused, or frustrated, or worried, I open myself, soften myself, in just this way.

In an article I read in The Paris Review, Joyce Carol Oates, in an interview, said: “One must be pitiless about this matter of “mood.” In a sense, the writing will create the mood…I have forced myself to begin writing when I’ve been utterly exhausted, when I’ve felt my soul as thin as a playing card, when nothing has seemed worth enduring for another five minutes… and somehow the activity of writing changes everything.”

I invite you to practice this for yourself and see what opens up. If you’d like to do this with prompts, you could work with my book, Crossing Thresholds, Island Reflections, Reflective Journal along with my book of poetry, Crossing Thresholds, Island Reflections.

You don’t need to be a poet or an author or even think of yourself as writer to do this. In fact, your first sentence could be, “I am not a writer.” And, then, see what follows.

The following is the poem that came through on January 5 of this year.

 

 

Morning Practice

By Amba Gale

Stir
    your tea slowly.

See the ways
    it swirls in your cup.
Stop your thinking
    by being
    with the tea.

Let the flavors out.

Let the stirring awaken
    the life in the magic powder
    from the east.

Let the tea stir
    your own blood,
    awakening your heart’s breath.

Invite and welcome your heart to speak.
Take pen in hand, and let it kiss the white page
with words that guide, words the nourish, words that marry you to you,
words that dive
words that carry you to view
another place.

And
    when you think
    you have finished
    with your poem
    or your writing,
    or your song,

take another sip,

and listen, deeply, to the quiet applause,
singing you into your day.

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