Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Practice Presence.

On a recent road trip, I swapped stories with six other sober women as we wound our way south, out of Rhode Island, to New Jersey for a regional service assembly. Some of us have known each other for years; some of us were getting acquainted for the first time. Invariably, the conversations turned to livelihood, life, and balance, and I was happy to share some details about my creative life (I don't call it work.) One friend has a pent-up desire to write; she is talented enough to be a participant in a locally respected writing program, but she can't seem to find the time to write. Time. How many essays, poems, novels, and memoirs have gone to the grave, stories untold, musical scores unorchestrated, canvases left blank, because the writer/composer/artist thought she lacked time? You have time. Trust me. All it takes is practice.

Before I leave my apartment every morning at 6:30, I sit and meditate for five minutes. Five minutes may not seem like a significant slice of time, but over time, my practice has deepened, and has had a profound effect on my ability to be, peacefully, in the world. 

I write everyday. Coined Morning Pages by Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way, I scribble three pages, longhand, on a pad. I don't worry about punctuation, spelling, or grammar. This writing is not for anyone else's eyes, but by laying down tracks everyday, I give writing a place of honor in my life.  Divinely given, who am I to deny it?

I save a few dollars every week. At the top of my home budget/spreadsheet, I have a line item for savings. Allocating funds is non-negotiable. My mortgage and utility bills get paid, and my savings account receives a percentage of my weekly earnings.  

Thus, I practice meditating. I practice writing. I practice saving money.

The upshot of showing up for my breath every morning, the benefit of showing up for the muse daily, the financial rewards for setting aside a little, is that by practicing, by becoming a better mediator, I am less judgmental. By practicing writing a weekly blog, I have become a more consistent writer. And by saving money, I am less fearful about my financial future.

Practice doesn't mean perfection, it means being fully present in the world.

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