My first child was born 24 years ago on the fourth of July. I named her Aurora which means “new dawn” as her addition to my life signaled a new chapter. She has been a grand teacher for me because her ever self-reliant nature determined from the beginning that she would do things her own way. From her I have learned to love a free spirited child whose independent nature isn’t meant to threaten our bond but to test its strength and assure that it will hold no matter what. This is the very same lesson I have learned from years of meditation practice and day after day of trying to apply the concept to my writing.
At first blush, independence is a startling notion the initial time we feel it. It is both exhilarating and frightening when we understand that we are in total control of something: ourselves, the lives of our children, the books we write, relationships, and more. On closer inspection, freedom of choice comes with assorted baggage firmly attached to it that could threaten to dampen our new found moment of feeling like we are running unencumbered through a field of perfect daisies wafting in the breezy sunshine (or whatever image independence means to you.) The downer for some people about independence is recognizing gratitude as a hanger-on-er because this means a responsibility to someone or something else. It doesn’t feel like the ideal definition of liberation if we have to be thankful and appreciative of who and what got us to this point. Therein is the first lesson.
Saying “thank you” is really tough for some people, but it’s the first lesson of independence and meditation. Simply and regularly being grateful is a great stress reliever because it helps us stay connected to people, and since we are wired to be social beings, we need them from time to time. Telling others how much we appreciate what they’ve done for us keeps them around. People like to be recognized for their contributions. The easiest and quickest way to get rid of volunteers for anything is to neglect saying “thank you” for your help. And people are volunteers when it comes to other people in every sense of the word. None of “have” to help anybody else. We’re busy enough trying to survive ourselves. Take care of yourself, right? Without the help of others none of us could get anywhere regardless of smarts, talent, or beauty. Moments when meditation is difficult (we get bored, tired, frustrated, our backs hurt, etc.) are the perfect moment to appreciate. Start a mental run down of everyone you could thank for anything. When you think the list of people to thank is done, start over again saying the person’s name or visualizing their face and telling them “thank you” in your mind.
Don’t be surprised if the next time you see this person the words “thank you for…” pop out of your mouth. Handle it gracefully no matter how startled the both of you are. When you notice how wonderful you’ve made the other person feel by recognizing their volunteerism and how it’s benefitted your life, you will get hooked on being grateful and saying so.
The writing lesson is to not hold back when acknowledging the people who got you to the point of actually being asked by your editor and publisher to thank people. Go ahead and recognize your fifth grade teacher in as many books as you want. Isn’t she the one who helped you understand exactly what and where a comma does? Don’t leave her out. It’s a sign of mature independence to be thankful for the responsibilities attached to freedom.
Thank you Mrs. Mary Young, my fifth grade teacher at Elkview Elementary school, who believed in my writing for the very first time. Without your encouragement I wouldn’t know the liberty I know today to write stories from my heart just the way you told me to. Thank you, Aurora, who has taught me the meaning of loving our free spirits. Let freedom ring in your writing and your meditation then spread the love. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AURORA.
There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)
Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.
And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous.
http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/ Bob Mayer
http://jenniholbrooktalty.wordpress.com/ Jenni Holbrook
http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/ Kristen Lamb
http://inspiration4writers.blogspot.com/ Inspiration for Writers, Inc.
http://pentopublish.blogspot.com/ Natalie Markey
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Be well, write well.