Most writers I know (myself included) take their work very seriously. A good writing day lifts our spirits. Missing a writing day can create guilt. Rejection may plummet us to the depths of despair. We judge ourselves based on what we accomplish—or don’t accomplish. When the writing is going well, we think highly of ourselves. When it’s not, we question whether we should write at all—and, when it’s really bad, we doubt our worth as human beings.
We are writers, yes, but we are human beings first. Many of us are also mothers and daughters, wives and lovers, friends and professionals in a wide variety of fields.
The other day, feeling challenged at my desk, I decided to go for a walk while listening to a recorded webinar with Elsie Spittle, a teacher of the Three Principles of Mind, Consciousness, and Thought. Elsie spoke about the importance of listening not only to words, but also to the energy behind them. She got me thinking about my own use of language and energy. And true to what she shared, it wasn’t only what she said, but how she said it that resonated. She was extremely grounded, calm, and quiet—yet strong and clear in her communication, which reflected a deep knowing.
The quality of my walk changed. I went from feeling lethargic and dull to sensing the brightness of life around me. Trees, bushes, flowers—even the sky—felt alive. I stopped to look at the mountains and the air itself seemed to pulsate with life. I’ve written about similar experiences in my memoir, Raw: My Journey from Anxiety to Joy. What I experienced was presence, being open and available to life in the moment without being consumed by thought. Though it’s often a distraction. I can walk for an hour and not see anything around me. Or I can see it, but not feel it. Not feel life! I can do life—cross things off a list, accomplish goals, have a good or bad writing day, prepare food or go out to eat, do chores, read books, watch TV—completely unaware of the miracle of life. Sadly, it’s sometimes easier (a default setting for many of us) to focus on petty grievances, which is an unfortunate distraction from the limitless potential that resides within.
Maybe it’s unrealistic to think that I can live with this awareness and the feeling it creates all the time, but I’m certain I can experience it more often than I do. My intention is to keep opening the channel to my spiritual self and inner well-being, to lead from this place. Follow this understanding—in service to my own happiness and the happiness of those around me: family, friends, students, clients, and anyone I come in contact with, which includes grocery checkout clerks, bank tellers, neighbors walking their dogs, fellow dancers and yogis, and countless others I interact with every day.
Elsie spittle says happiness is inherent. The only thing that keeps us from it is our own thinking. She says that the peace and joy we’re seeking resides within. Look there.
When I came home from my walk, I meditated. Without thinking, I placed my right hand over my heart while wrapping my left arm around my belly. Eyes closed, I held myself and breathed into my own arms. It was easy to feel my breath this way. I felt it inside and outside—with my arms. My mind wandered, as minds do, and when I realized I’d been distracted by thought, I returned my attention to my breath. Holding myself this way sparked compassion. A deep love welled up inside me, and as I held myself it was as if I were holding a loved one. Judgment dropped away. I saw myself as a loving mother sees her child.
And from this honest and connected place, I returned to my office, where my writing winked at me and whispered, Sometimes you have to step away. Sometimes you need to remember who you really are. Sometimes you need to engage life without filters, open yourself to the miracle.