Writing Practice

From Richard Rohr’s daily meditation:  “I learned that if the quiet space, the questions themselves, and blank pages had not been put in front of me, I may never have known what was lying within me.”

It occurred to me that the times of blankness, which I find very uncomfortable, may be trying to get me to look at my inner process.  So I thought I would try writing to get in touch with a deeper part of me.  Paula was at the talk by Marcelle Martin, who wrote the book on Quaker Spirituality that we discussed in book group.

This is what I wrote on Wednesday, May 29

Rohr talks about Ira Progoff’s journal method, and how writing in certain ways can bring forth things you didn’t know you knew.  Paula said last night: “What does your tender heart say now?”

What does my tender heart say now.  Pain, so much pain.  Pain for the species lost, the languages lost, the die off of pollinators — bees and butterflies, the impoverishment of what surrounds us — including ugly buildings — the people who are hurting from trauma, abuse by greed, war, pollution…  And I don’t know what to do with it.  It weighs me down.  It makes it hard to keep going.  It makes it hard to sit and do nothing because then the pain starts pushing to be felt.  It no longer comes as depression — well actually depression was an effort to not feel the pain — it comes as push push, blankness, neo-cortex off-line.  It comes as apathy, despair, exhaustion.  It comes as difficulty taking care of myself because that requires paying attention to what I need, not to what “should” be done.  My tender heart says “I hurt, I hurt, I hurt.”  What am I supposed to do with this pain?  “Let go of bitterness that you were not up to the magnitude of the pain that was entrusted to you… called to bear a measure of cosmic pain.”  Can I just hold it and not demand of myself that I do something about it?  “offer your pain as prayer.”  The god inside me, my inner teacher, is bearing the pain with me.  That goodness beyond goodness, that I touched once, is bearing the pain too.

“neo-cortex off-line” is what some trauma experts say about what happens when PTSD is triggered.  The more recent part of the brain is shut down, and the reptilian core is running the show.

“Let go of bitterness…” is a quote from Sufi master Pir Vilayat Kahn.  The original quote says: “Overcome any bitterness..”  I changed it because I don’t think it’s possible to “overcome” bitterness.

“Offer your pain as prayer” is a concept spoken in many books by Elizabeth Goudge.  I have tried without success.  Maybe just holding it and not demanding more is prayer.

The “goodness beyond goodness” is something I experienced in Quaker meeting.  I can’t recall the “felt sense” but most of the time I feel sure that it’s real.

Friday, May 31

3rd cup of tea. Too tired to wash dishes. I got up at 6, tea & supplements, fed Mocha, took her for a walk. Then had breakfast in the café, then to the clinic for meds which weren’t there yet. Got back here feeling tired & blunt of brain.

Today’s CAC meditation was on God within. My problem with that is that the word “God” contains the “capricious, malicious, and willful” baggage of alcoholic parents. But the voice within me is defective because I am defective, not trustworthy because I can’t trust myself. But if I use the word “Spirit” everything changes. “Spirit” is like water, it can gather in oceans, fall as raindrops. Drops can coalesce and become a puddle, a puddle can overflow into a stream and run back into the ocean. Spirit can vivify the Universe, and nest in my heart. Spirit can be the voice of my guides and guardians, who I ask for help. They always answer so lovingly and sometimes I distrust them thinking they are just me trying to make myself comfortable with a lie. Then I have to believe they are separate from me, bigger and wiser, so I can trust what they say.

Well, if my head is blank and blunt, I can at least write like that. What I can’t do is practical things.

“My guides and guardians,” I started writing for guidance sometime in 1999 before I went to Findhorn for the first time. Findhorn had started with two women, Dorothy MacLean and Eileen Caddy, listening or writing for guidance.  I had read about it and started writing for guidance as well.

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