If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.-—Joseph Campbell

Archive for the ‘writing/reading’ Category

I Believe in Stories

My life is storytelling. I believe in stories, in their incredible power to keep people alive, to keep the living alive, and the dead.  Tim O’Brien

Argh!

What?

Scenes and conversations from the week are playing through my head on this morning’s walk. When I get home, I can’t settle on a quote.

Don’t think so hard.

This quote is one I chose about a month ago and didn’t use. I love Tim O’Brien’s book The Things They Carried. He came here a couple years ago and talked about how writing the book helped him work his way through his Vietnam memories.

Ah yes, telling our stories (and writing them) is healing. What are you doing to celebrate the Fourth?

I’m going with a long time best friend to a movie and then to her house for supper.

Lots of stories there, for sure. Have fun. (And don’t forget to write!)…

Very funny…

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Feelings into Words

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.  George Washington Carver

Day 12words

YES!  When I saw this quote I knew it immediately as the feeling I’ve been desparately trying to find words for.

The Dude and the Zen Master

For the last several weeks I’ve been reading The Dude and the Zen Master, a dialogue between Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman. It has taken that long because I’ve needed lots time to stop and reflect.

The Dude is based on Jeff Bridges’ role in The Big LebowskiBernie Glassman is founder of Zen Peacemakers, whose Three Tenets that serve as the foundation of Socially Engaged Spirituality, include:

-Not-knowing, thereby giving up fixed ideas about ourselves and the universe

-Bearing witness to the joy and suffering of the world

-Loving actions towards ourselves and others

Books. They move me. They inspire me. They challenge me. Here are more profound words from some of my favorite writers.

What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.   Anne Lamott

A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe. Madeleine L’Engle

When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.  Maya Angelou 

Books are like mirrors: if a fool looks in, you cannot expect a genius to look out.  J.K. Rowling

The Story Factor

The Universe is showing you the way.

Yeah, right.

Tell them what happen to you yesterday.

Well, it was pretty neat.

Go on.

OK OK…I go to my regular Friday get together with mostly retired school teacher friends. Happy hour at the Mexican restaurant. We call it margarita therapy. Grace brings her daughter, a lovely 23 year old young woman, who when she was seven was in my Sunday school class. Well, she orders a margarita with a Dos Equis turned upside down in it. Whoa…the old school marms are impressed.

Keep going.

OK. I’m setting the stage. One of my afterschool kids, Marie, comes in with her family. I love this eight year old. She’s happily in her own creative world. I call her name and she skips over to me and gives me a hug. Steps back, grins at me and gives me another. It feels wonderful.

And then…

Hey, these are important parts of my story.

OK

Grace gets a call. Her friend is on the way. A few minutes later in walks Annette Simmons. Well, I know that name. Know she’s friends of some of my more creative friends. But there’s more. I have suspected she is the daughter of a woman I taught with more than thirty years ago. And she wrote a book, several in fact. But the one I know something about is The Story Factor. I actually own a copy. Whoa! Six degrees of separation is now down to maybe one or two.

The Universe

Whatever…We talk. I realize I don’t know how to describe what I write or where I think I’m going with it. (Note to self) She’s got lots of energy and experience. It feels wonderful. (also noted)

You and your notebook 

Hey, whatever works. Later when I get home I pull The Story Factor off the shelf and begin reading. OMG. The words connect. I know I’ve read some of it before, but I’m seeing it differently now. Breathe, Laura. Now in addition to The Poisonwood Bible that I need to finish before book club this week and The Dude and the Zen Master that I’m halfway into, I want to find time for The Story Factor. And in two hours I’m going to be at a sculpting workshop led by a truly wonderful creative.

Breathe, Laura. And enjoy.

To be a person is to have a story to tell.  Isak Dinesen

Data Collecting

To write it, it took three months; to conceive it three minutes; to collect the data in it all my life. F. Scott Fitzgerald

Education is not the piling on of learning, information, data, facts, skills, or abilities – that’s training or instruction – but is rather making visible what is hidden as a seed. Thomas Moore

I need projects in the summer when I’m without much of a schedule, so this month I am keeping a reflections notebook.  My beginning teachers will do this next fall to help them self assess. I want to see how it works for me.

I note what I see and hear around me, what I think about what I see and hear, and how I respond. I try to go into each setting with beginner’s mind…to be open to what is.journalstack

Now is the time for new adventures. Tomorrow I will be in a sculpting workshop. A sculpting workshop! Yikes! Breathe, Laura… and pay attention.

I wonder what I’ll learn.

A Feeling for Words

There is no logical way to the discovery of these elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling for the order lying behind the appearance.  Albert Einstein

When one has the feeling of dislike for evil, when one feels tranquil, one finds pleasure in listening to good teachings; when one has these feelings and appreciates them, one is free of fear.  Buddha

These years of personal writings have taught me a lot about my words…how I use them to justify, manipulate, avoid, and generally muck up opportunities for honest communication. As I write this blog these ideas are never far from my thoughts. It is a constant struggle.

Last night in my writing group my friends urged me to continue working on my story. A story about how a woman learns to reconnect with herself and others through writing practice. Which, of course, is what I’m doing by being a part of this wonderful circle of women.

Flow From Me Like a River

A poem I will share with writers this afternoon:

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for

may for once spring clear
without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one ever has,

streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Listening to Learn

Learning to Listen

Listening for Lessons

A Teacher and her Writing Practice

Writing Is My Drink

slake your thirst; find your voice

EventsForChange

~ creative ideas for making a difference ~

...the house I live in...

A journal of life pursued