Writing: Let the Dead Leaves Drop

rumi dead leavesThis 10-word sentence can stand alone, but it’s also a solid place to get grounded for the upcoming new year through the practice of mindful, body-based writing.  If you think about a tree dropping it’s leaves, it happens slowly with the dry leaves drifting left and right downward until they settle onto grass or concrete.  Branches become more visible, it’s easier to see the moon at night.  And, finally, the swarms of black birds have plenty of room for their hundreds of family members to perch in December.  Then you have these expanses of wood – some old and rotund, some young and twiggy – that continue to stand their ground, provide shelter and even shade, holding a sense of history, journey and temporary stillness before another due change in Spring.

This time of year always brings about the desire for change.  I noticed a neighbor on my neighborhood group asking for recommendations for a reputable personal trainer who would suit her type-A personality.  Look, I get it.  Those of us who tend to be fiery and list-making and energetic and go-getters want to dive.  We want answers and directions and research.  And, by damn, we’ll do it.  Today.  This morning.  You see, it’s done!  But, I ask: at what cost?

Like I wrote in my last post How You Move is How You Live, it helps (and it’s easier) to make some parallels between what’s going on in your body and what’s going on in your life.  That’s a wide scope, and it’s unique to each individual, and no one can do the work (or create the exact plan) for you.  Solid, healthy, sustainable help is imperative – guides, teachers, trainers, therapists, writers, music and research can help you.  But, you do the work to notice the mirrors.  You create the physical space to get still, to have time to reflect, to get to know your body better, to listen to its stories.

“Censor the body and you censor breath and speech at the same time…Write your self…Your body must be heard. Only then will the immense resources of the unconscious spring forth.” ~ Helene Cixous from http://spiritualityhealth.com/blog/julie-peters/writing-connect-your-body

Since adding writing (and/or coloring body scans) to my training repertoire, it’s become a lovely way to introduce the practice of yoga (aka “union, yoking, connecting”) off the mat.  It helps my clients discover and start to honor – on a daily basis – their inner authority, their hunger list, the way they want to move through life.

Write your self.  Write about your metaphorical leaves changing color (ex: how relationships or aspirations have shifted), notice when they fall (ex: what people or things have drifted away?), notice when you haven’t noticed that they’ve fallen (simply notice, negative judgments not allowed).  Push aside the to-do list, and be with the bare branches.  Becoming your own witness is a slow process of letting go, of letting the dead leaves drop, of noticing what you’re truly hungry for, of finally noticing the magic that happens when you connect with what’s grounded, rooted and true.

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