I am working with an online group and we are working through The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. One of the things I have discovered through working through the pages is realizing my true passion. I have a passion for connection. I love connecting with people in general. I love connecting with my fellow yoga friends at Bikram Yoga University Village in Palm Desert. I love connecting with my students at my various workshops. I love connecting with various people in the grocery store or wherever I happen to be. Connection for me takes place on a variety of levels. Sometimes the connection is brief, at other times a connection can change my life.
I think one of the most amazing writing exercises to work on is looking at your connections. Write your story of how you met your true love. Have you had many loves or just one that you still cling to? Examine the circumstances around your meeting. Write about how you met him/her. Did you know immediately that this person was going to make a difference in your life? If not immediately when did the love grow? When your heart thinks about passion who is the image that is recalled in your memory banks? What about the various friendships you have maintained throughout the years, can you recall your first meeting? Take some time today to travel through your memories and see what you remember about the important people in your life. Focus in and see what you remember. Sometimes (especially if your true love is no longer a part of your life) this exercise can be painful, but travel down the path gently and see what it is that you recall. Let the tears fall if you need them to, it is cleansing and healing.
One of the greatest things that I love about facebook is connecting with my students from years ago. As I look back on this picture I can hardly believe that I taught such an amazing group of kids! These little first graders are now in college (gulp!) It is so much fun connecting with these now young adults and hearing all the amazing things they are now doing and accomplishing and I am so glad that I was able to be a small part of their journey.
Do you still remember your first grade teacher? What are the memories that you remember to this day about some of your teachers from elementary school? Today focus in on your elementary school years. Are you still in touch with some of your friends from that time period of your life? Drag out some pictures to help with the remembering!
This is one of my pictures that I keep in my journal. When I want to really get in touch with my inner child one of the simplest ways to do that is to just take a look at “me”. When you are writing about incidents from your childhood it is so helpful if you can pull out the pictures of that age period that you would like to record. Remember back to who you were. Look deeply into the picture, what do you see, what do you remember? I can remember taking this picture as though it were yesterday because this dress my mom picked out was not what I wanted to wear. It was blue with a built in red tie hanging down, I thought it looked like a boy. My overwhelming disappointment in my dress selection is clearly seen in my eyes.
Writing about our childhood and going back to that time can sometimes be painful. Connecting to our inner child is a great gift of writing. The things you love doing now, are they things you loved to do as a child? I still love to ride my bike all over town, much like I enjoyed as a child. I used to roller skate around the neighborhood, now I have inline skates. Reading was always a favorite of mine and still is, books could take me on a journey of discovery. I used to love to listen to the radio (KFRC and KLIV were my favorite stations). I have always loved dogs and of course still do. Remembering to be gentle with ourselves is another gift we give ourselves as we write through the episodes of our lives.
What do you love remembering about your childhood? What are the memories that you find painful to write about? How do you remember your childhood? Some of my students have the most beautiful stories of their childhood and others have horrible stories of pain and heartache. How did your childhood lead you to become the person you are today?
This morning on my hike I was thinking about when my youngest son was little and I used to say to him: “Kevin use your words…” . Being that he was the youngest of 4 he didn’t have to talk, he could grunt and his siblings would give him what it was he wanted. Generally because they didn’t want him to cry or whine. Well, eventually Kevin began to talk instead of whine or grunt or point! The visual came to me because I began to think about the power of words in our lives. Have you been struck by the beauty of someone saying to you with meaning…”I love you” or “I hear you”. Words do have a power of their own, a power for good. I have been making an effort to really speak my truth, by saying the words that are sometimes left unspoken. Words are important, like “I am sorry” and “Please forgive me”.
As I teach my students about memoir writing and the journey of using the pen to find yourself I think it is important not just the words we choose, but the opportunity to remember them. I have been blessed in my lifetime to have heard so many wonderful words. I want to spend the rest of my life sharing my words with those I love. Words of encouragement, words of love, words of blessings and hope. I want my words to be a present to those I am around. I want to use my words, and to remember to use them wisely.
Today in your writing I want you to remember as many times as possible where words have encouraged you. Who spoke those words to you? Were they whispered to you or shouted out to you? Try to go deep to the feelings of what those words felt to you and how you feel today about those words. You may need to pull out some emails or letters and find those kind love letters written to you. I had a box when I was living in San Jose that I kept full of love letters written to me from my students. Several come to mind, I remember getting one written in cute 1st grade writing print that said:” Ms. Coia, you are the best teacher I have ever had.” (So cute since the student may have had only one teacher before me!) Or this one that said: “I love Ms. Coia because she is so smart, she probably knows 1 +1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1+ 1 + 100 + 20 + 10 + 100=”
Start collecting your words that have been written to you, some may just be carved on your heart. Cherish them. This week use your words to give a blessing to someone else.