Writing is my practice. It took me a long time to recognise this, and even longer to accept it. It didn’t fit my (preconceived!) notions of what ‘practice’ looks like.
But over the years, I’ve come to realise that writing — which I do daily, and multiple times daily, at that — is not easy for others. In fact, it paralyses a lot of people. (and why is that??)
So: I write for those who can’t, don’t, won’t. I write to be a voice for others, as my beloved mentor poet Carolyn Forché said, a ‘witness.’ I write everything from letters of recommendation — an art form someone should acknowledge! — to blog posts. I write poetry, non-fiction, lesson plans, book reviews, eulogies, emails of consolation, thank-you notes and lists and political rants & manifestos. I write alot.
I write about women, mostly. But also men — after all, I’m happily married to one for decades, and the mother & aunt of several others. Not to mention dear friends, my father, my uncles. I write about all of us, our tattered beginner’s hearts.
I guess I write the way I try to breathe, when things hurt: in tonglen. Focus on what hurts, and breathe for those who share that pain. Make it easier, by sharing, taking to ourselves what is wrong, and trying to send out love.
It sounds sooo hokey! But that is why, I’ve come to realise, I write. Particularly this blog. I write for all of us who often can’t (including, paradoxically, my own self). When I have no words for what I’m feeling, I can write about someone else, or the birds outside the window, or today’s horrific battle w/ grapevine (I think it’s winning… ). And through that, I come to peace.
How cool is that? And isn’t that what practice is all about, anyway?