Resolutions, intentions, goals… whatever you might want to call it. For me, I decided to pick one word for 2019. And the word I picked was clarity. I had it engraved on a ring and placed it on my finger before the new year began. I was wearing it at a retreat over the weekend; a retreat where we focused on “Finding Your Life’s Deep Current.” I was always curious when I drove by the place called Spirit Rock, but perhaps a little fearful of what might be behind the gate.
A friend of mine told me about this retreat at Spirit Rock. “It’s a writing retreat,” she said. Always looking for the next step in my writing world, I leaped at the opportunity. Okay, let’s be honest. I studied the website. I tried to read between the lines. I probably read through the entire program at least six times before I found the courage to click on the registration button.
We breathed. We meditated. We listened. We wrote freely at several prompts. And then… we shared our writing with a complete stranger. Not just one stranger. Each prompt was to be shared with a new stranger. Journal writing an be a powerful thing. Standing up to what you have written, sharing with another human being whose path has never crossed yours is emotionally draining yet liberating.
But here’s the thing. As I read my piece to the last stranger, I noticed she was leaning in just a little closer, truly listening to each word. It was her turn. I listened to her read her words and found myself leaning in a little closer absorbing every word. We looked into each others eyes and it was as if we were looking into a mirror. It wasn’t just that we were close in age and our outward appearance was similar – we shared the same inner truths. But that’s not all. I asked her name. “Marge,” she said. “But that’s my name,” I said.
So what does that have to do with “52 Pieces of Me?” I’m not so sure but I have a feeling if I share 52 pieces of me, I might just find some more “Marge’s” out there.
And about the ring… I have abandoned the idea of having only one word for the year. I wore this ring for only a couple of weeks and I can see more clearly now. I could wear a stack of words on my fingers (and I might) but the truth always comes from within.
The writer within nags at me (yes I do have one of those).While I planned to only post A to Z challenges this month, I can’t stop from posting this one. I can’t wait to save it for my “S” word.
Yesterday turned out to be an exhausting day of travel as I returned home from the Story Circle Network conference in Austin. Note, I was already exhausted. In a good way. I’ve commented in several places that “this is the best gift I have ever given to myself.”
This conference is an amazing immersion into writing wisdom, new friendships, laughter & tears – more than anything I could have hoped for. Everywhere I went I heard the word “Takeaway.” I took away a bag full of goodies, a set of goals, a journal of new beginnings, an armload of books (if yours is not pictured here, it probably resides on my Kindle), a new confidence and regenerated enthusiasm. Many thanks to all the organizers, presenters, volunteers, and those who invited me into their worlds. Special thanks to Susan Albert Wittig for launching this compassionate community of women writers.
I joined Story Circle Network in the year 2000 but this was my first conference. I never understood what I was missing until now. God willing I’ll be at the next one in April 2018. Hope to see you there too.
Big step for me ahead. I have signed up for my first Women’s Writing Conference. Notice I said “first.” I’m hoping to gain enough confidence to keep on going. As a 16 year member of Story Circle Network, this is the venue that seems right for me. Although I have not participated in a writing circle for several years, I feel as if I already know some of the women who will be there, and I already know they are a sincere and compassionate bunch.
Now about that “comfort” part. This is definitely a leap out of my comfort zone as I am much more comfortable sitting in my private little office with only the birds and squirrels for an audience. Not that I’d stand up in front of anyone and expect an audience. There’s a fear there and I suspect I know where it started. Way back in junior college in a creative story class my instructor called on me to read what he said was an A+ story. That would have been fine if he hadn’t added, “and see if you can do it without your face turning red.” The rest of that story is obvious. It’s time to get over that. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll have the courage to share one of my pieces at the open mike night. Oh no, now what kind of commitment have I made?