November 10, 2010
Part five of a seven-day meditation, today’s installment including a sea beast and some transmutation . . .
Today, I want to share with you what happened when I approached the free write I posted yesterday in a new way. For me, it felt magical, and I recommend you try it with a piece of your own writing.
Basically it involves rereading what you’ve written, looking for what’s juicy, taking those lines or words, and making something else. I love this approach because rather than trying to take the weak parts and “fix” them, this exercise is about taking what’s already singing and making it into a rock opera that Freddie Mercury would endorse (okay, that’s my idea of a pinnacle; feel free to insert your own pinnacle here).
So after we did the “Out of this solitude” free write, Sarah suggested we go through and underline phrases that were most interesting, which I did, and what I was left with was this list:
- Lying sideways and watching the ocean
- Feeling like some great sea beast was in me, wanting to see it externalized
- Smelling the pine with the sea breeze
- Sinking into myself
- Isn’t it okay to die on the beach?
- Does death need an apology?
- Why are we all so sorry for each other’s loss?
- Something that is not natural, rather than something that is
- There’s a place for sorry, yes, but maybe not here
Then, Sarah guided us to take the list and make a new piece out of it, which I did. Here, I also want to mention that this is one of the great activities both Sarah and I learned as volunteer facilitators with Write Around Portland, an amazing organization, which I recommend you check out (lots of great volunteer opportunities).
In yesterday’s post and in the free write I shared, I found myself struggling with some big questions. What this exercise helped me to do was to shake things up, to answer question with story and magic, and I found that most satisfying.
Lying sideways and watching the ocean, I saw a great sea beast leap from the waves, fluke and tail and fin and sleek gray body. It shouted to me from out in the water, “I’m not sorry!”
“What?” I asked. “What did you say?”
And then, in between three subsequent leaps, the beast said again, slowly, “I’m.” Splash. “Not.” Splash. “Sorry.” Splash.
Clear. So I knew I didn’t misunderstand the first time, so I couldn’t mistake those words for any others.
And then the beast disappeared back into the waves, and my own skin slipped off of me in one great sheath. I had to scoot a little on the sand to get it off. But then, there it was, a layer of me left behind.
And the new me, the new me had great wings like a pterodactyl and, looking at my skin, at the old me, I said, “It’s okay to die on the beach.”
I tested out my wings, more leathery than feathery, and I felt them stretch an flex in extensions of my shoulder blades, felt them pull at muscles in my lower back that I’d long forgotten, that I’d let compress and almost atrophy. But not now. They were activated.
With a run, light at first, then pounding into the sand, I went tearing down the shore and in a moment between everything, I found myself airborne and sky-borne and reborn, sailing out over the place where the beast had leapt, feeling my strength and my beauty, expanding, contracting, flex and flap, in and out, the wind caressing my body and then holding steady, stretching out into myself, letting a current of air take me with it.
Not sorry, not sorry at all.
Nothing wrong happened here, nothing that wasn’t perfectly natural: seeing something beautiful, listening to it, shedding a skin, and learning to fly.
Thank you so much for reading. You might notice that I don’t have a space for comments, but I’m certainly open to conversation about what’s written here. If you’re so inspired, feel free to start a conversation with me via the contact form on the homepage of this site.