Bargaining With My Higher Self

This exercise in which I am to just write whatever comes to mind is not working… Okay, so I’ve recently signed up for a writing class to further along my commitment to self-improvement.  Just reading the black splotchy ink on the computer printed schedule makes me feel as though I’m holding a promissory note that, once redeemed at the end of 12 weeks, will ensure that I become a more enlightened and enriched human being in exchange. You can imagine the level of excitement I experienced when I signed up to learn all about how to write and finally be published. You can also imagine the level of pure astonishment I experienced after attending a couple of classes and discovering the big revelation of the key to successful writing— write what “you” know.

Personal essays, humor writing, fiction, or magazine articles, it doesn’t matter, just “write what you know.” That’s it… IF ONLY IT WERE THAT SIMPLE! What I know is that every time I try to think of something remotely fascinating to write about, my mind goes blank. I would assume that is the state of mind often referred to as writer’s block— but don’t you have to first be a REAL writer before you can get blocked? How much money did I charge on my already-above-the-limit credit card in order to pay for this fraudulent class, anyway? I was supposed to be let in on a big secret; information known only to authors like… Hemingway or even my personal favorite… Will Shakespeare.

I’ve been duped!

After discussing my dismay at having to figure out what it is I actually “know” enough about to turn into a successful set series of books— I talked about my dilemma with my friend Sonia and she, of course, came up with a curious solution. “Try yoga,” she said. “It will center you and you’ll be more in touch with your REAL thoughts and feelings… all of the bottled up stuff that you might want to write about.” So I thought, hey, why not? I tried the yoga. I got in touch with myself, all right… It felt as though I was playing Twister with myself.

As I lay on my stomach and. attempted to bend my left leg in such a way as to reach the back of my head with my toes, with my right arm outstretched before me, the only thing I got “in touch” with was deep, unending pain… like the call-a-chiropractor-quick kind of pain. When I hobbled home with a cane that the Yogi [the instructor’s proper name, not the bear] lent me after I had signed some papers that I’m pretty sure were some sort of legal documents forbidding me to sue The Yoga Barn [I couldn’t make out the words that well with the white spots of nausea and the delirium flashing before my eyes and all]. I was far from centered. I was, in fact, lopsided.

Of course, Sonia did have the courtesy to follow up with me to see how things went, and instead of being discouraged by my obvious sense of frustration, she offered yet another, more safer suggestion— meditation. My gut reaction was resistance, I admit, because I was still literally sore from her last inspiring idea. But I thought about it and figured, how harmful could it be? To meditate, one must sit in silence and block out all of one’s thoughts. Hey, I’m good at that or I wouldn’t be in this predicament in the first place. One quick swallow of my pride and I was soon sitting cross-legged on a mat attempting to quiet my mind. Therein lay the problem.

Receiving explicit instructions to rid oneself of all thought and to just focus on deep breathing is like having someone escort an elephant into one’s’ living room and asking you to ignore its presence. The trick “they” said is to chant.a one-syllable word like, Om… Ommmmm… I begin to chant as I breathed in and out, wondering if anyone else is having as hard a time staying focused. Ommmmm… okay, I’ll shut up, I bargained with my higher self. Ommmm… does it mean there’s something wrong with me if I can’t get this right? Ommmmm… how long do we have to sit here anyway? Ommmm… I could really go for a cheeseburger and fries right about now. Ommmm… maybe this is my first TRULY PROFOUND insight— when having difficulty concentrating, I reach for food. Ommmmm… maybe I can do this after all. Ommmm… except my butt now hurts and I can no longer feel my legs. Ommmm… is this what writers mean when they refer to certain life experiences as “material”? Ommmmowwwwwarrgghh, oh great! I now have that paralyzing pins and needles feeling throughout my lower body… Owwwwwch, I will write about this experience and then switch over to ceramics.

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~ by upbeatmag on May 15, 2011.

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