Writing is an activity that I personally do as easily as breathing.
And yet, there are those who “dread” the very idea of having to write a thank you note. I often wonder where the resistance to writing comes from each time I hear someone express having it.
And then there are the good ideas that we’ll have that run away like the Gingerbread Boy on a mission not to get caught. One trick to making writing an easier task for business and personal development that I use ALL the time is to be ready catch the idea, the phrase, the brilliant conversation overheard in the moment.
This doesn’t work so well if I am in the shower BUT even that can be worked around with a handy digital recorder. (Some of my most creative ideas have come while washing my hair. I will admit that. How many can relate?)
The phrase CARPE DIEM comes to mind. Seize the day (or better still the moment.) Is there a napkin in the house?
Saturday mornings I take my tweenager to classes in downtown Seattle as she aspires to be an entertainer and her involvement in Youth Theater is a start. She begs for more training so assuming grades are kept strong and chores are done, we grant her wishes.
Opting to spend an hour or so at a cafe “observing life in action” while she learns Monologue and Improvisational Script Reading is a PERFECT opportunity to carpe diem and observe many a caper of daily life (not my own). At these times, I challenge myself to connect the dots creatively or find insights and wisdom to share with readers or clients.
Take today for example: After parking the car on the street and prepaying for the time as needed, I headed to the cafe that I spend the hour I have to myself.
A favorite writer of mine Doris Lessing, was a fan of sitting in cafes and capturing life around her. Her short stories, rich with emotional detail and human psyche themes, were often based on lives being played out in dialogue around her.
In one short story, she made even a traffic jam at a four way London corner seem like the most human of experiences, as the cars (not their drivers) argued with horn and turn signals and passive-aggressive maneuvers.
The Third Avenue corridor of Seattle is a busy one between the cars, the busses, and the less fortunate citizens of Seattle. Having needed to park a block and a half farther away than usual, I found myself walking in the transitional neighborhood between Belltown proper and Downtown proper. On the corner a block from my final destination, two were locked in an intense “conversation” of sorts.
A tall and overweight woman carrying many bags and dressed in a hodgepodge of winterwear was screaming like a banshee at a smaller and also plump and very weatherworn woman clinging to her rolling walker.
The air was thick enough to cut with a butter knife. It would be necessary to listen to this “monologue” for a good “long” minute as I and another woman had just missed the legal right to walk across tthe street. I know I could have dashed to avoid having to experience this moment of humanity BUT I opted to stay put and say a silent prayer of calm and resolution on behalf of these two beings who struck me as “related.”
I got the distinct impression it was actually a mother yelling at her daughter. The smaller woman seemed younger than the older.I breathed in the suffering I was experiencing outside of me as Tonglen Meditation would have me do, and imagined myself transmuting it into something neutral and accepting and positive.
My eyes caught the eyes of the woman beside me waiting for the light to turn green for legal crossing and we smiled weakly and sympathetically at one another. We said not a word though. And when the light turned green, we both stepped on and moved forward. I was still saying prayers of peace for the pair still locked in a passive-aggressive verbal battle. The young one was muttering she was sorry. The elder was screaming how tolerant and patient she was.
As a mother of a young woman in the making, this mean moment on a cold afternoon struck me as poignant and heartbreaking. It also leaves me with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for all the health and well-being and comfort in my seemingly simple life and lifestyle.
Not only do I have peace of mind and body, I have a circle of support that seems to grow not shrink. I have a business that is growing doing work I choose. I appreciate all that I have, even the small sadnesses and heartbreaks of romantic love and new business lost from time to time. In truth, the amount of goodness I experience daily outweighs any sadness and disappointment.
A brief walk through a cold city can itself offer me a gift of awareness to appreciate what is always before me. We really are surrounded by many things to write and reflect upon. The good ideas (not always happy though) find us and want to be shared, when we are willing.
May we take each opportunity to stretch our authentic voices and make a difference.