I just became a single pink petal for a few moments. As I wrote this short piece, I remembered spotting the petal in the washing up bowl and searched for a word. Was the petal floating in the water? That’s a boring word. Was it being supported by the water? I feel my shoulders wiggling deliciously as I enact the petal’s movements, and suddenly I know. It was lounging!
This is what happens when we try to translate our experience into words. We zoom in, and we pay attention to the details we usually miss. We linger a little, as we swill the smell of oranges or incense around in our noses. We feel our way into being that singing bird, that stressed mother, that fresh expanse of sky.
I call these fragments of writing small stones, and I’ve been writing them on and off for decades. When I make a daily commitment to write one, it helps me to zoom in, linger and feel my way into being in the world, rather than just going through the motions. I need to be reminded of this as often as I can – I forget to do it every other minute. It’s a bit like how it is to be living in a Buddhist temple, regardless of how many Buddhas we have around the place, I am still regularly struck when I see them – oh! Just take refuge! Relax!
Writing small stones connects me to my favourite blue bench which is currently splashed in sunlight, and it also connects me to the small bundle of nerves in my throat. It helps me appreciate my golden cup of tea, and points me towards the divine. It isn’t about being a ‘good writer’, although I do think language is delicious. It’s about being a good zoom-linger-connector. We could all do with some practice at that.
I’m offering one of our Writing Our Way Home courses from Tuesday 16th, Writing Ourselves Alive, and I’m also planning on writing along and posting my small stones in the private Facebook group. I’ll be in Kyoto for some of it, exciting! If you’d like to join me, with or without registering for the course, it’d be lovely to have you along. Just buy yourself a notebook and begin!