quote du jour ~mark nepo

…when things fall apart, they make a lot of noise. When things come together, they do so quietly and slowly. And so, we often miss them. Our culture is obsessed with how things fall apart. The news reports only the noise of things breaking down. The weather is even called Storm Watch. Yet things are constantly coming together, though we have forgotten how to hear them.

~Mark Nepo, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen

yes, but…

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It’s funny. You go through your life (intuitive person that you are) following your inner guidance, listening to that still, small voice…until. Until the still, small voice tells you something you don’t want to hear, something that, for whatever reason, scares the hell out of you.

That’s when all that allowing yourself to be led, all that going with the flow, all that surrendering to the call flies right out the window. Suddenly, you’re having a knock-down, drag-out fight with your inner guidance, digging in your heels and saying, “Yes, but…” or even “Hell, no!” Well, that was me about six months ago.

Except for a few stories I wrote in my junior high language arts classes, all the writing I’ve ever done has been non-fiction: journalism (mostly dance reviews and features, a few gardening articles), marketing copy, press releases, business and fundraising letters, grant-writing, blog posts, etc. etc. However, last fall, I started a freelance writing job that involved writing short articles for children, including short fiction pieces. I was surprised to find that not only were the fiction pieces easier to write than I’d expected, but I also enjoyed writing them, and the client seemed to really like my stories.

Great, right? It’s always nice when you enjoy your day job.

Then, sometime around the beginning of March, I started getting this (for lack of a better term) “nudge” from my inner guidance. The nudge was saying, in so many words, “You need to be writing fiction.”

Continue reading

saying yes

I’m sitting down to write without really knowing what’s going to come out. I’m doing this because I tend to obsess over what I should write about, and whether I can carry through the thought to the end, and whether anyone will get what I’m trying to say, and whether what I write will sound like just so much metaphysical/spiritual drivel. Who wants to read this stuff, anyway? And, of course, all this fretting keeps me from writing. (I’m sure plenty of you out there are nodding your heads, being well acquainted with this state.)

On the other hand, I’ve always done well with assignments and deadlines. When I was the dance writer for a weekly publication here in NC, I was invited to participate in the American Dance Festival’s Dance Critics Conference. The format for the conference was that we would attend performances by modern dance companies from all over the world, then immediately return to a room full of computers and write our reviews in the space of an hour and a half or so.

When I learned this, I panicked. After all, I’d only been doing this for a year and a half, and I’d pretty much lucked into the job, and I was used to writing for a weekly. I was used to having a LOT of time to edit and rework what I wrote. What the hell would my reviews be like with only an hour and a half to complete them? Continue reading

excerpt du jour ~broken open, by elizabeth lesser

A prayer for being brave and open on the journey of life…

Drum sounds rise on the air,
and with them, my heart.
A voice inside the beat says,
I know you are tired,
but come.
This is the way.
~Rumi

May you listen to the voice within the beat even when you are tired. When you feel yourself breaking down, may you break open instead. May every experience in life be a door that opens your heart, expands your understanding, and leads you to freedom. If you are weary, may you be aroused by passion and purpose. If you are blameful and bitter, may you be sweetened by hope and humor. If you are frightened, may you be emboldened by a big consciousness far wiser than your fear. If you are lonely, may you find love, may you find friendship. If you are lost, may you understand that we are all lost, and still we are guided—by strange angels and sleeping giants, by our better and kinder natures, by the vibrant voice within the beat. May you follow that voice, for This is the way—the hero’s journey, the life worth living, the reason we are here.

~Elizabeth Lesser, Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow

the heart’s blossom ~mark nepo

                      Courage is the heart’s blossom.

All courage is threshold crossing. Often there is a choice: to enter the burning building or not, to speak the truth or not, to stand before oneself without illusion or not. But there is another sort of courage we are talking about here—the kind when afterward, the courageous are puzzled to be singled out as brave. They often say, I had no choice. I had to run in that building for that child. Or I had to quit my job or I would have died.

Despite all consequences, there is an inevitable honoring of what is true, and at this deep level of inner voice, it is not a summoning of will, but a following of true knowing. Continue reading

start close in ~david whyte

Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
thing
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.

Start with
the ground
you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own
way of starting Continue reading

don’t go back to sleep

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you
Don’t go back to sleep
You must ask for what you really want
Don’t go back to sleep
People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch
The door is round and open
Don’t go back to sleep

~Rumi

I was surprised to realize that I hadn’t posted this verse before, because it’s one of my favorites. It’s been up on my bedroom wall for so long that I just assumed it had already had its day as a quote du jour.

It’s so easy to go back to sleep…to ignore the longing for Continue reading