Welcome back to No Whinging Wednesday! The only day of the week where you do not get to whine, criticize, or complain. If you’re new to this blog, click HERE to learn more about NWW.
This week has been a week of quiet for me. Of reflection and deep thought. So, I thought of a wonderful quote to help to get us through this day. This week, we will attempt to capture peace and free ourselves from complaining through something that seems simple to do but is more complicated than it seems on the surface: Be still. Do you know how to Be still? Stillness can be defined as:
“The absence of movement or sound.”
Of course, this doesn’t have to mean literally without sound or movement. More like being slow to speak and thinking critically before making a decision (movement). During times you feel like arguing or snapping or getting upset and frustrated do not look for the answer, just wait. I love how Rainer Maria Rilke said, “Try to love the questions themselves. Like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them.”
Wait for mental clarity. Wait for the calmness to return. Wait for the right words to speak. Just wait. Be still. Do not worry about what move to make. Today is not about moving anything. Today is about being still. Here’s our motivating quote:
Contentment is defined as the state of being contented; satisfaction; ease of mind.
It’s so easy to be down, to be depressed, and to be so very unappreciative of this moment. So easy to worry about what bill needs to be paid next, what the work schedule is looking like for this week (even though this week has not come yet), what the children are going to wear to school (even though its Friday night) or how many blog followers I do not have (even though there are people praying for your numbers).
I’ve been doing quite a bit of self-reflection and one thing I’m learning is contentment. I am learning to be content with where I am right now. Right this very minute and it is paying off. There’s a calm, tranquil to my days when I don’t have to bunch so many of them up into one. I take risks because right now may be the only opportunity I have. As the saying goes, it doesn’t matter how many resources you have, if you don’t know how to use them they’ll never be enough. Likewise, it doesn’t matter how many doors open, if you’re too afraid to walk through them it doesn’t matter. It’s not because I know it all (because I don’t). It’s not because I have thousands of followers or get millions of views (because I don’t), and it’s most certainly not because I don’t make mistakes (I make plenty). It’s not because I don’t have down moments. It’s because I have this moment. This one right here and there’s no telling if I’ll have another one. In this fast paced world of ours, we tend to worry about tomorrow as if it’s promised. We don’t have the time to appreciate where we are because we’re usually focused on the next place. Even in typical conversation we do not listen to understand, we listen to reply. We hear words and we subconsciously search for the ones that will trigger a response in us. Listening. It is a lost art. We hear a lot, but rarely do we understand what we hear and it is because we are not content with being still. I’ll bet there’s a lot going on around you right now, even if you are sitting alone. I’ll bet there’s a lot that you haven’t noticed, even in a small room. You’ve been in that house for years and rarely have you noticed the bird on your windowsill and seldom do you hear his singing. We have to learn to be content with where we are in our lives. Not in the sense of laziness or the unwillingness to work or to change, but content as in appreciating the moment for what it is without constantly thinking about the next. Today is not Monday and you are not at work so stop thinking about that. It’s a nice day out today, take a walk, or take the children to the park. Homework is tomorrow but tomorrow is not here yet. Focus on today.
The sun had not completely set on my first night away before I was flooded with post and story ideas. And by the time the sky was overspread with blackness and poured into my bedroom, I’d written two poems already. To what do I owe this sudden flood of inspiration? I suppose it’s because a relaxed mind is a creative mind, or so they say. But in my reflection, I’ve had a lot of time to think and have come to the conclusion that there is some truth to that saying; separation from the online scene does tend to resurrect a kind of motivation lost during the constant interaction online. Personally, the desire to force a thought on top white paper seems to ring too loudly when I want to write, or rather feel I have to as opposed to when I’m just living life. The anxious stroke of the pen, or the thrashing keyboard always comes in that moment when you’re consciously aware that you must scribble something into existence. You thus search desperately for something to spark a flame, something to satisfy this urge but pushing always pulls away. The more you push a thought, try as you must to force a post, the more ideas slip from your fingers like liquid desperation.
It is at this point that the mind needs to be set aside for a while. To separate, to relax, and to calm from the influx of emails, WordPress Readers, and advice on how we should transfer our thoughts on to the page or rather, the screen. This tends to, for me, bring to life a sudden rush of creativity. Where thoughts have been left to grow and to mature before hitting the spotlight. To give my thoughts a chance to breathe and to exist, all neatly wrapped and stored into this place inaccessible among the crowd but dancing in a place called solitude. Even this post for instance, came easy, smooth and without effort. There was no question or debate or concern about what it would be like. It just existed and I let it be. Just a coming forth of thoughts I’d written down while sitting on my bed and yet not at all there. Somewhere uninterrupted by the perspective of others, whose words do tend to spark great creativity, but whose birth is not as beautiful as the new born torn from my own flesh. Words that come untainted and unscathed by opinion. Nothing but pure inspiration come from my own head, smack down in the midst of the quite.
Step #1: The Early Morning Wake-Up Call
An hour or two after the sun has risen and the birds congregate on my windowsill with their songs. When the sky is still a combination of yellows and orange and reddish highlights all tap dancing on the clouds. I write best during the time of day when the wind is still waking up and blowing not too harshly; just enough to sway the leaves. Not even the branches, just the leaves will do. When the air smells like you just bought it from the store this morning. That first early morning wake-up, after morning prayer and just when the creative juices are new and fresh. This is my ideal time of day to write.
Step #2: Coffee
Freshly brewed dark roasted Folders that grabs my throat by its hinges and engulfs my body before racing to the tips of my fingers; I arise to the occasion of the coffee cherry. After I started teaching and tutoring a few years back, when my daily routine consisted of chasing three and four year olds around the room and getting on my hands and knees to see which monopoly piece I would be, I developed a love (OK an addiction, whatever) for caffeine. And it, the coffee bean, must accompany me in the next phase of our adventure.
Step #3: Solitude
Give me neither food nor noise. Lock me away from society, I no longer live here. Put me instead inside a quiet place. Though I would much rather be somewhere in the country, swallowed up by trees and grassland, my home office will have to suffice. Where I shackle myself to solitude and feed from its delicacies. My fingers march to the beat of songs that can only be heard inside my head. I am not here in this office. I am instead in another place. That place where only writers go. I’m an introvert by nature but writing is when I am the most reserved. Let the rushing sound of my heart and the beating of keys be the only noise in the world worth paying attention to in this moment. Please, I beg of you, dare not shatter my concentration with the world and its worries, for I am not of the world.
On day 15 of Blogging U, we will be asked to refer to our list of ideas, as provided by fellow bloggers, to complete that days assignment. For this reason, I am asking you to submit writing topic ideas to my contact page. Is there something you would like me to write about? Creative writing ideas? Topics? Poetry? Short stories? Let me know. Again, I’ll have to refer back to this list on day 15! I’m really looking forward to your ideas. Thanks a lot.
Sometimes you definitely need to get to that quite place to get to that workflow. As Franz Kafka put it, “Writing is utter solitude, the descent of the cold abyss of oneself”, had to share:
“I can only wish that you trustingly and patiently allow that grand solitude to work in you….It will act as an anonymous influence, akin to how ancestral blood constantly moves and merges with our own and links with that of the individual, never to be unlinked.” – Rainer Maria Rilke