I like to keep track of things. Things I do and for how long.
Currently I am keeping track of how many days in a row I have not had a drink. (68) I track how many days in a row I have meditated. (426) And I keep track of how many days in a row I have written something. (1,337)
And what does this add up to? That is such a left-brain, ego-based question. Because the things we do must add up to something. To some goal, some achievement. Right?
Why can’t the achievement be in the doing. Or in the case of drinking, in the not doing?
These things may not have added up to something but they have certainly added to the quality of my life.
I am more present. I feel things more, which is challenging. There was a reason that I often poured one, two or three glasses of wine on a random night. I didn’t want to feel those pesky, uncomfortable feelings.
Meditating helps me to see how those feelings and thoughts just come and go. I know it will change so I can sit with it for now.
Writing helps me to process all those feelings. I get them out of the dark, knotted twisty space of my head, onto the page and into the light of day where they lose much of their power.
Doing things everyday, like writing, builds momentum. This is huge for me. I can become so easily stuck. Stuck in my head, stuck in this tendency to overthink every single thing and end up immobilized on the couch binge-watching Netflix. But writing something every day, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant is not insignificant at all. It builds momentum and the muscle of showing up.
Showing up when I am happy and inspired.
Showing up when I am sad and thoroughly uninspired.
Showing up when I know what happens next in my story.
Showing up when I have no idea at all what happens next.
Showing up after all these years. It’s obviously not for monetary reasons. Sure, that would be nice and I haven’t given up on that. But what keeps me coming back to the page again and again is this desire and habit to be there for the stories that want to be told. To be there for the deepest parts of my self that want to remain hidden but also want to be seen and heard.
There is nowhere to hide on the page. It’s like I tell my students, no matter what prompt I provide, whatever you need to write will find its way out.
I see now that each of these daily practices are spaces where I can no longer hide. I can’t hide from myself, my desires, my fears.
These daily practices allow me to see myself with clarity and compassion. And I can then turn that that clarity and compassion back out into the world around me.