Friday, February 1, 2013

Things I'm Going to do More of Dammit Or, It's Meditation Challenge Month Again!

Lately I've been challenging myself to write more.  If I don't have a project I'm working on, I scribble a line here or there on scraps of paper, but I don't do any real writing until an idea comes along and bites me on the nose.  The trouble with this, and most creatives know, is that when you're not exercising those writing/painting/designing/sewing/what have you muscles, those nose-biting ideas can be few and far between.  Perhaps you're happy to have a less sore nose; nevertheless, you start to feel a little silly calling yourself a writer/painter/designer/seamstress when you don't actually spend much time on that activity.
So, I challenged myself to start a short story every day.  Finishing one is hopeless.  I'm lucky if I have time to do more than plunk out an opening paragraph.  Naturally most of these efforts are truly awful and will never see the light of the day.  But having to write something, ANYTHING, is in fact getting that pump primed and sending more ideas down the pike, and wouldn't you know it?  Four days later a really good idea bit me on the nose.  I spent the next couple days fleshing it out, and really, I'm quite happy with it.  I may even let it be one of many under a similar theme.

The trouble is, once I got that nose biter down on paper, I sort of felt, vindicated, and lost my steam for the project.  I guess it just feels much better to write a good story that might have a shot at appearing some place than to write a crummy one just to be writing something.  And the point of this blog is to make sure I'm writing something on a very regular basis, but a blog post is not like a story, and Ernest Hemingway (he was a real douche bag, but a great writer nonetheless.  Sometimes those things seem to go hand in hand.) would wake up and stand at his writing desk and just write, write, write till lunch time.  I'm sure most of that was crap, too, at least by Hemingway standards.

So, I have to get back into that habit, and I have to stick with it, whether it's just pages of drivel day after day, or whether something really good comes out of it.

Which is (why oh why does this keep coming up in my life??) non-attachment: my focus has to be on doing the work, not on the consequences.  To put it another way, my writing should be like my yoga practice: just something that I do, and if I look up every now and then in pleasant surprise because I'm in a shape I couldn't achieve six months ago, so be it.  That's beside the point.

Along those same lines is my sad and lonely meditation practice.  Meditation isn't sad and lonely, but my practice is, because on a nearly daily basis I give it a gentle pat on the head and assure it I'm going to do that.  Soon.  Maybe tomorrow!  And then I don't.  Sigh.  You may recall last year's February Meditation Challenge, when I successfully meditated for a full day, and felt amazing and much more like the person I want to be because of it.

Why are we such self-thwarting creatures?  We know what's good for us, and then we go and not do it anyway.

ANYWAY, it's February again, and I'm going to meditate EVERY DAMN DAY again, and THEN I WILL DO IT AGAIN IN MARCH COME HELL OR HIGH WATER.  Hopefully.  So if you want to follow along on my meditation journey (and you can now picture it as a cocker spaniel whose owner has just arrived home after being gone on vacation for a damned year), you can do so at Sharon Salzberg's website.  Just go to sharonsalzberg.com/realhappiness/blog.  Me, and lots of other people and groups will be taking part in the meditation challenge again this year, and blogging about our experiences at that website.  I may copy/paste some material between that post and this one (because why bother just regurgitating the same material in a slightly different way?  I'm going to be meditation-obsessed all month.  AND NEXT MONTH TOO, DAMMIT!), but I will keep up with original content on this blog: my tarot and Eating Omily posts, and probably a few other topics, too.

You can join the challenge yourself, officially or unofficially.  Sharon's book, Real Happiness, is truly a wonderful way to introduce yourself to a meditation practice, but of course, the great thing about meditation is that no trappings are required.  You can read about meditation for free online (start here), and just go for it!  If you do take the plunge, please keep me posted in the comments.  I could really use the support!

It will be interesting to see how my daily writing changes as my meditation practice progresses.  I'll keep you informed!

Live Omily,
~em

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