Why Write?

breath, by Katrina Curry


Recently, in the morning, when I first wake, I’ve been resting into the dawn by writing. In these first moments of daylight I find a gentle, quiet, listening – a stillness which feels more available to me in the emerging light than in the full swirl of day.

The cool morning air brings bird songs through the window. The blankets, cozy, feel soft and supple with my body’s warmth. Gratitude for the sweet simple details of this life feels as easy and as free as inhaling and exhaling. What a contrast the ragged end of the day can be, when I collapse into bed beside a tired child – seeking to soothe them into sleep before I too can rest!

Through writing I find myself as a kind companion. I feel accompanied, both emptied out and spacious.

I am thinking of the profound inundation of information that we adults are subject to. The noisy mind that jangles and remembers and worries and plans. Writing empties out the noise, for me. Strangely, writing becomes a pathway to silence and stillness: a method for attending to what is here, now.

A Moment at the CrossRoads

What do I want to let go of and what do I want to give myself to? (Parker Palmer)

Life is ephemeral; death a given. The only uncertainties are when and how we will die, and what to do with the time we do have.

The older I get the more I appreciate getting older. I welcome leaving behind the insecurities and self-doubts of my youth, and, especially, letting go the female burden of the pursuit of ‘sexiness’ and the discomforts of the socially-scripted trappings of femininity. I welcome the deeper freedoms and creativity of a self-authored life that, for me, feels increasingly possible with age.

As I grow older, birthdays feel like an invitation for reflection: am I wasting time that I would enjoy spending creatively? Does the way I am choosing to live my life, through my day-to-day behavior, lead to forms of social participation that I feel good about?

And in this I take inspiration from the free play of my children, the unselfconscious honesty of their curiosity and their wildly experimental creative explorations in all directions.

For a long time I felt a pressure to do something with my time. To Make a Contribution. To Make Each SECOND Count. To Live Each Day AS IF It Were The LAST. I feel exhausted just thinking about it.

It seems revolutionary to me now, to simply be: to lay my body on the floor and breathe… and do nothing, or to stand still in the garden and watch the petals of blossoms flutter down from the trees. To be a quiet witness as the light emerges through clouds in the morning sky, and fall deeply in love with the gentle and steady passage of time charted by these small changes in the natural world. Revolutionary to savor the pleasure of lingering inside a hug, or taking the time to feel the layers of cozy pleasure in the telling of a story at bedtime.

To just be seems like breaking an unspoken but powerful taboo of busy-ness.

“Let the beauty we love, be what we do. there are a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the ground” (Rumi)

What do I give myself to? Kindness, to myself and others. Creative play. Breath. Stillness. Listening. In the moment improvised expression through dance. Friendship. Motherhood. And eventually the earth. And I’ll start now with this exhalation, resting me into the embrace of gravity.