It was a chilly winter morning. This was the perfect time for me to light my fireplace and snuggle up with my journal and a big cup of warm tea and write.
I had diarized this time for myself and set the stage perfectly, setting my alarm and waking earlier than the others. My session began with my usual writing rituals of lighting a candle, clearing my mind and breathing. I was all prepared for an hour or so of blissful writing.
Pen to paper and …nothing. I took a big swig of my tea.
Next, I tried writing, scribbling for a bit then finally ended up scratching something out that didn’t make any sense at all onto my page. I then proceeded to rip the page right out of my journal.
Thirty minutes passed. My head quickly filled with those negative ‘I can’t write‘ thoughts that we all get.
“In that moment, it was as though I had forgotten HOW to write. My words felt bunched up like dirty key-arms stuck on the roller of an antique typewriter.”
Has this ever happened to you?
Like many of us with busy lives, our minds are usually the ones driving the bus, guiding and holding us together. Our brilliant minds however, don’t always know when to take a rest.
I consider myself a wild heart writer. To me, this means that I need to open my wild heart wide so that I can get right down into the truth of what matters to the soul of Mary Ann . I want to know what she feels and needs to say. Life above that line, just doesn’t seem to fill me up.
When I couldn’t write, that morning, I decided to try an old exercise I had learned from coaching school a few years ago to climb back into my body and reconnect. Making a few little adjustments geared to the practice of writing helped and I have since added this exercise into my daily writing practice.
I wanted to share this with you so that you can also find this magical place, inside of yourself. This exercise will really help you to get right down to what matters to your soul so that you too can write from your own beautiful, wild heart.
This Wake Up Your Senses exercise helps remove any rubbish or blockages that keep writing from flowing. This exercise helps open your heart, literally leading you by the hand to a place of stillness and into nothingness where you can hear what you need to say.
What is stillness and why do we need to write from there?
“Stillness Speaks”Eckhart Tolle
Stillness does speak. (thank you Eckhart). Stillness is the place where our nothingness exists. This ‘nothingness’ place is where we experience the deepest connection to our self, our soul and everything wonderful that lies beyond ourselves. This place exists inside all of us and it is where we hear the voice of our soul speaking to us. This is where I like to write from.
In order for us to find our nothingness, where we can hear our soul speaking, first we need to find stillness.
To find stillness we first need to let a few things go.
- Put aside our old thoughts
- Put away our expectations
- Let go of our assumptions
- Release our judgement
First find a quiet place, lay down and pull up the blankets and snuggle into your pillows and get comfortable.
Wake Up Your Senses Exercise
Preparation for the Senses
- Read through the preparation and the entire exercise before you begin.
- Find a restful, comfortable spot. Lay down or sit up.
- Get comfortable.
- Close your eyes.
- Drop everything.
- Drop your old stories, your expectations and your assumptions of what you think is the right or wrong way to feel or to do this exercise,
- Let go of your fears and anxieties.
- Simply notice.
- Even sensing nothing is something.
- Pause to observe your body and feelings.
- Are you feeling uncomfortable? If you feel discomfort, just sit with it, allow it, observe it. Even discomfort is an experience.
- Are you feeling nothing? If you are not feeling anything at all, just sit with it, allow it, observe it. Even feeling nothing is its own experience.
Touch. Bring your awareness to the gravity of your body. Feel your bones against the earth. Open up the sensation of your skin. Observe.
Taste. Bring your awareness to the taste in your mouth. Stick your tongue out and feel the air. Breathe here. What do you taste? What is your body saying? Observe.
Sight. Bring your awareness to your eyes. What comes to your mind through closed eyes? Notice. Breathe. Observe.
Smell. Bring your awareness to your sense of smell. Breathe in. Name the smells. Be aware of your body, notice the images that come to your mind. Notice the memories that come up. Observe.
Sound. Bring your awareness to your hearing. What sounds do you hear? Listen with your right ear. Listen with your left ear. How is your body reacting? Observe.
Take out your pen and paper and write. Write about what you heard, felt, thought, saw, tasted, heard, witnessed. Write what comes to you, without over-thinking, editing or altering your work.
If you feel a hesitation at all, simply become curious. Ask yourself some questions. Breathe. Then write some more.
- Where did this take me?
- What did that remind me of?
- What do I want to say?
This is such a great practice to get into before your write. It helps you not only find the stillness you need, quickly but it helps wake up all of your senses, pulling you out of your head and directly into your soul.
Here is a small sample of the start of a poem that I wrote this morning after doing this exercise.
The pheasant crows in two- notes from the grassy woodland, near the creek.
Anxious, excitedly waiting for the first sun, he calls out to the world again and again as if to say, right here, right now, in this moment, everything is okay. We are all okay.
More than five hundred voiceless rings lay beneath the bark of my weathered trunk, monstrous and blue, branches above.
I am full of storm scars, broken branches, knotted twisted twigs.
I am the Mother Tree.
I have learned that with age, comes a better view.
My unseen roots are thick and strong, reaching deep down into the darkest earth. Sucking, pulling, foraging, searching for the richest, highest wisdom and truth, the purest of liquids, to feed and nourish the new saplings, should they wish to imbibe.
You see, in the forest, even death is an illusion.Mary Ann Burrows Nov 2020 This is simply the beginnings of a thought that will one day grow up to be a poem.
Happy writing. I would love to know how this worked for you. xox