Last weekend I went on a mini yoga retreat. As part of it we had an introduction to meditation. Maybe it’s an age thing, but increasingly, I am finding a need for some ‘me time’ in my life. A few precious moments away from family demands, a screen, noise and the general 24/7 interference of modern living. A little silence helps me to cope. It can be an opportunity to slow down time and remind myself of my goals.
The end of the school year always causes reflection; I’m in awe at how my boys have grown physically and mentally in the time it has taken me to make a cup of tea – or at least that is what it feels like. Again, I find myself wanting to stop the clock and pause. I join with all the other mums at the school gate to complain that it’s going too fast. We watch helpless on the sidelines as our children race fearlessly through their childhoods. And yet, juxtaposed against this is my own slow sludge towards my goal of getting published. Eight years and two books and still no closer. I am desperate for it to happen. I am frustrated that it is taking so long, and yet, how can that be when everything else around me is happening so fast?
It’s this state of contradiction that yoga helps with. It helps me to stay in the ‘now’ it helps me to believe that life will take its course and what will be, will be. It keeps me strong and helps to counteract the countless hours of sitting that writing demands. Yoga and meditation are not about loud music, or pumping up the cardio. It demands stillness, focus and concentration of breath. Can life get anymore stripped back than simply taking notice of how you breathe? A writer’ s head carries a world of fictional characters inside it, each one with hopes and dreams, flaws and attributes; these people are alive to us and sometimes I find it hard to cope with the demands of them combined with my actual real-life!
I’ve come to realize that my writing itself is a kind of meditation. It’s what I need to try and make sense of the world around me. I use what I know, and what I don’t know, to unclutter my mind. I sit, mostly in silence (though I’ve trained myself to write wherever I can), without the interference of phone or Internet and I download onto the screen infront of me. I think it’s the solitary silence that gives writing it’s mystic. In a world were most people sit amongst open plan offices surrounded by people, phones, printers, sitting alone for hours on end without human or online contact can seem… well, wierd. But it’s as simple, and as complicated as that. My fictional characters need space to grow, to live, and for that I need a clear head and preferably silence.
How do you unclutter? How do you stop time and reflect? Maybe blogging is your way of ‘downloading’. When is the last time you sat in silence? Try it. I’d love to know how you get on.