Hoar frost and hot coffee. After three nights of crystalline cold, December makes her entry with all the majesty of a final act. Today from my window, the sky seems limitless and the blue hoards no secrets. Yes, there is much to come over the next few weeks, but this morning, we have a blank canvas.
One of my writing coaching clients recently said something to me when talking about stories that she has lived and lived with for years. We were discussing various ways to approach big topics, the ones that don’t seem to fit on any page, no matter how large. She remarked, ‘Ah, but I pretty much have a beginner’s mind about it anyway, so I’m not bothered about looking at it all differently.’ To me, this sounded like such grace, such openness. There is a relief in returning to our worn and polished stories with a beginner’s mind, a fresh eye. Perhaps renewal arises from the willingness to see the new in a landscape we’ve lived in so long that we’ve become blind to its startling beauty.
This past month of writing and posting every day – of being present, not precious – has been valuable. When I started, I wanted to see if I could do it. Could I meet the challenge, achieve the goal, keep my small promises? But like any journey worth its footsteps, the real treasures lay along the path, only to be discovered in the walking. Likewise, I suspect that I will continue to appreciate their richness and long after the turn of the calendar.
I think I found an unexpected space opening up in the repetition and ritual. Found new ways in. Realised that I could raise the stakes or push the edges of particular pieces knowing that I hadn’t poured my entire creative identity into 500 words or so. If it fell flat, it didn’t matter. I’d have the promise of a new chance and a blank page the next day. Beginner’s mind.
I am grateful for the various ways people participated. Some wrote along with me, taking my word prompts in directions of their own, some created their own single word prompts or drew from a collection of questions to consider each day. Some wrote every day, some wrote a handful of days – when the moment and the words aligned. Some shared their writing, some kept it private. I had readers who stopped by the forest every day, others came once a week, and others paused only once, leaving a small note or silent nod. A wonderful crisscross of trails and footprints appeared during November in my forest of one tree. The grass has been tamped down where someone rested awhile in the shade and I can see where dry twigs snapped under footfall. Over here, a rock has been overturned by curious fingers and near the brambles, a few berries were picked and eaten by a bird on the wing before the frosts arrived.
Thank you all for visiting. These are all ways of being present, and in so doing, creating something precious.
What was Present, not precious?