Take time to Tune the Mind before you Write

I don’t know about you, but too often I approach my writing sessions with one of two, extreme attitudes. Either, I rush to the computer because I’m so excited about what I want to write, or I dread the keyboard, think I have nothing to say, and look for any excuse to avoid facing the empty page.

Neither approach is helpful. And that’s why I’m working on more mindful ways to start writing. And it’s paying off, both in how I feel about my writing and what I produce. I’m learning that my mental state makes all the difference in how I write, what I write, and whether I enjoy the act of writing, or am a slave to it.

I like to write first thing in the morning. I’m an early riser. It’s painful for a few seconds, but once I’m up, I love it. The house is quiet; I set the coffee brewing, smell that enticing aroma. Before I start to write, I do some stretches. First limbering up, neck rolls, shoulder rolls and the like, then some basic yoga poses like the plank, the bridge, hymn to the sun. I’m not flexible at all, so I don’t push it, but I feel my body waking up, and it feels good.

Following the stretches, I do a meditation that sets the tone for my day and my writing. I begin with relaxation, paying attention to the breath. Slow in and out, seeing if I can feel the air filling me up, then letting it out, through my lungs, throat, nostrils. I turn my attention to a body scan, then back to the breath. Breathing consciously slows me down and helps me to quiet the mind.  I then go into my mindfull meditation, visiting the two wings of mindfulness, “Opening the Heart” and “Quieting the Mind.”

I find these two wings so soothing, so comforting and so grounding. Spending time in each, puts me in the mood to write, to slow down, to allow the thoughts, words, and images to come to me, rather than “demanding” that they show up for me, to do my bidding on my time schedule. I feel much more at peace with what I can produce. I draw from a deeper source, and feel a greater satisfaction. It’s the way I like to write. Slow, deep, satisfying.

Not that every day is a smash, or every sentence a bullseye. Not by a long shot. But I am for the most part at peace with myself and the intention I hold, with faith that the words and ideas will come.

Please stay tuned for much more on how to blend memoir and mindfulness, how to become the author of your own story.