Take a look at the following pieces from my current workshop. These are examples of "warm ups" and "cool downs". I begin each class with a meditation and free writing period and then conclude each class in a similar fashion. The writing is fresh, unplanned, and completely free and raw. Take a look:
I sit in the chair with my feet flat and firm on the floor. Planted. As soon as my feet were on the floor they connected and in my mind's eye I saw several strands and different widths of roots running from the bottom of my feet and they were growing and breaking ground and rushing and rushing until they broke all the way through...to a cave. The roots...all of them...were dangling from the top of the cave...swaying ever so slightly...not knowing...where do we go? what do we do? If the roots stay exposed they will die. Die with just air. They need nutrients, water and a place to seed and take root and grow. One of the roots...a larger one, started to sway back and forth and noticed an ice blue current of water below. As the root grew straight down the other roots took notice and they too stretched and grew faster and faster to reach the water. The roots hit the water, the water stilled so the roots could reach the bottom of the current and take hold. Stillness. Silent. The cave was covered with a gazillion roots...straight down from the ground above to the water bed of the current. As if a light switch was thrown, the vines began to swirl slightly as if in a dance and small sprouts of green began to grow. And grow and grow. Pretty soon all that could be seen was a sea of shiny green leaves. The feet planted on the ground set the roots in motion to find the current of crystal clear water that ran underneath the surface and new growth sprang forth.
My breathing relaxed. My body swayed slightly. I liked the sensation of a new life...a new growth. I liked the warmth when I placed my hand on my belly. I may not have a little Vivian inside of me but a re-birth of Shakay is imminent.
This is the best time of my life. I am so happy.
As soon as Hannah asked me to fill myself with gratitude, I filled up with tears and sadness. Am I thankful to be here in this class? Yes. Am I thankful to be alive? Yes, but with a huge amount of guilt. I immediately feel guilty that I am here doing something that I enjoy, but my sister and my parents are dead. They too had many things in life they enjoyed, like golfing, grandchildren, traveling, and Bingo, but all of their lives were cut short too early – all at a very young age. My sister was only 49. And like her and my Mom, I had breast cancer, but I’m still here – living – enjoying. Most days, I don’t even know I feel guilty, but on days like today and here in this class where Hannah asks me to go deep – I am reminded of how much I miss my family. Being on an anti-depressant helps me to get through each day and be productive – but I think it stops me from feeling the pure and deepest sadness I feel each time I have to face the reality that my loving and nurturing sister is gone. Maybe because…not maybe…I know that the excitement of this new house and decorating it just sucks without her. I cannot do it by myself – I need her – I need her support, her advice, her talent for decorating. I need her voice. I need to hear her voice and I cannot hear it anymore – ever again. I will never hear her voice again and it hurts. I try very hard to be positive – to move forward – to get up each day, but I’m numb. I have lost a huge part of my existence and some days I do not know how to exist happily, or contently, without her. So where’s my gratitude? Being grateful and enjoying what I am fortunate to have and own only because my parents died and left me money makes me feel guilty. I have no gratitude right now.
And so I said to my friend who is an amateur gardener, “I’ve got this azalea bush and it didn’t bloom last year.”
“Did you fertilize it?”
She turned on her heels and went to her potting shed, returning with a ziplock baggie of something dark and moist looking.
“Now did down around the azalea bush and put this fertilizer in the soil and water.” Never realizing that to me that means—on your way by the azalea bush, throw this stuff at it and pray for rain, which is exactly what I did. And, lo and behold, two blooms! So for me that justifies my approach.
We killed the plum tree, the peach tree and the other pear tree. The grapevine, trust me, no one can kill. The first year we were there it grew to the point that on one side it completely took over the patio and starting climbing up the side of the garage onto the roof. On the other side, it grew up and into the neighbor’s trees.
Every year I try to plant one new perennial or maybe an area of perennials. It’s a constant battle. My initial enthusiasm at the start of the growing season, slowly turning to resentment and then active neglect.
There’s much I should let go – not sure if I ever will. I feel like I might benefit from writing negative things about someone, but I don’t know if that’s true. It’s almost like I might be able to write that person out of my life, release a hold that is on me. I think about it but don’t do it. Perhaps I’ll choose a time and do it. More likely a time will choose itself, or maybe I’ll just never do it. This is the closest I’ve ever come to the subject. There’s a deep journaling topic for me. It’s probably not a good idea, anyway. The potential upside might not exist and then I’ll simply feel bad about focusing on and blowing out of proportion someone’s foibles. Indeed, shouldn’t we accept people warts and all? I’m now considering a bashing session that would make a person seem like only warts, and really bad warts at that.