A Work In Progress

DSC01581“This is a work in progress, a process of uncovering our natural openness, uncovering our natural intelligence and warmth. I have discovered, just as my teachers always told me, that we already have what we need. The wisdom, the strength, the confidence, the awakened heart and mind are always accessible, here, now, always. We are just uncovering them. We are rediscovering them. We’re not inventing them or importing them from somewhere else. They’re here. That’s why when we feel caught in darkness, suddenly the clouds can part. Out of nowhere we cheer up or relax or experience the vastness of our minds. No one else gives this to you. People will support you and help you with teachings and practices, as they have supported and helped me, but you yourself experience your unlimited potential.”

Pema Chodron, Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears

I’ve been rolling along working on my memoir for the past couple of weeks with little difficulty. Words have been flowing like a mountain stream spilling over its banks with snow melt. I’m more sure than ever about the structure of my story and where I’m going with it. It’s about my relationship with my mother, and how being her caretaker during the last seven years of her life forced me to take a closer look at my own life and how I’m living it. 

Two days ago, starting on the seventh chapter, I hit a brick wall and was stopped in my tracks.  I sat in front of the computer for several hours for two days, typed in a couple of paragraphs and immediately trashed them.

I was feeling pretty bummed out about it, because I’ve set myself a goal of having a finished draft of the book in nine months. I did what I too often do … immediately started worrying and beating up on myself, fearing I’d begin getting behind and never make my September first deadline. Then I started calling myself names for being worried and giving myself so much grief. It’s the kind of thing that can just go around and around in circles until I throw up my hands and consider eating a pint of ice cream and/or several bars of delicious dark chocolate.

I was trying to write about a particularly difficult time in my life, which I apparently blocked off with several layers of cinder blocks and three or four layers of concrete. I could remember the time period, but could not find the words to describe how I felt and what it was that had made it so difficult.

I decided I’d go back through my journals and reread a few to try to figure it out what I was missing. But they are stashed in a storage bin we rent, way across town. Working around other appointments and warnings of a major snowstorm heading our way, I stopped and picked up a box of journals dated with the two years I was trying to recall. When I got home I realized I had mislabeled the box and those dear, yellowing journals were not the ones I needed.

Foiled again, and unable to return for more journals, I told myself I’d simply make myself start writing again. I figured words would come to me if I didn’t get in the way with all that worrying crap. Sitting down again at the computer and pulling up the ridiculous stuff I’d written the day before, my fingers began moving and words started forming on the page.  It was painful stuff about things I’d completely erased from my memory tapes.  It may or may not have much to do with what I was trying to write about, but it certainly cleared the channels and I feel good to go once again.

Writing memoir can be very challenging, but I’m finding it to be one of the most healing things I’ve ever done. Revisiting the past has brought so many new perspectives on the people and experiences that have helped to shape my own being.

I’ve been journaling for years.  But writing memoir is helping me to explore even more deeply the way of the world and the person that I am still becoming. I understand how precious the gift of writing can be. Should my written words never make it into book form, I will be forever grateful for the words that have found me and the time I’ve taken to write them down.

This entry was posted in Gratefulness, Memoir, Navigating Through Life, Quotes, stories, Time, Wise Words, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to A Work In Progress

  1. Anke Martin says:

    So agree. Writing yourself free is wonder :))) Smiles, Anke 🙂

  2. Brenda Neil says:

    There are many of us salivating, anxiously waiting, to
    read your memoir.
    Love to you and your dear partner Bill.

    • jzrart says:

      Brenda, I’m anxious too. But these things take time, I suppose. Like the program you are working on to finish soon, sometimes it stinks. But when it’s done, oh my, we’ll be dancing in the streets!

  3. warmginger says:

    LOL at the eating a tonne of ice cream or chocolate and the failed journal retrieval mission! It’s funny how we beat ourselves up for missing self-imposed deadlines? I’ve had to focus on paid work the last few weeks and well, children and real life. I shouldn’t complain but I’ve tossing and turning because I’m neglecting my own as-yet-unpaid writing…you know the stuff that actually matters! 😉

  4. jzrart says:

    When I haven’t been crying, I’ve been laughing a lot. Then decided to just relax and give myself a break. I’ve had fun reading the journals I did bring home. The ice cream was great, too!

  5. Bridgette says:

    I feel the same about painting. And why I journal. I love your blog. Thanks for visiting mine, so that I could find yours.

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