You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”
― William W. Purkey
When my daughter was very young, I often took her to an indoor amusement place called Discovery Zone. I discovered that the children’s din served as white noise allowing me to write longhand for uninterrupted hours (mostly) while she cavorted with friends and blithely used up her college fund on tokens in the arcade.
In September of 1996, I suffered a near fatal illness, requiring two surgeries in four months. I would spend seventeen harrowing days in the hospital and six weeks of home care attached to an IV pole. In January, they operated to remove the rest of what ailed me. It took a long time to recover, but the people usually clamoring for my time and talents gave me wide berth and the grace to heal. Slowly, as the half-hearted version of a California winter started waning, I got stronger.
I would drop Katie off at school, then drive to Brand Park in Glendale. Until I got my sea legs, I stayed in the car, enjoying the sunshine while counting my numerous blessings. I read from Simple Abundance, and inscribed my gratitude and dreams in a looseleaf notebook with a purple pen. I wrote about the life I wanted to create, hoping the words would serve as pupa for my eventual metamorphosis. When you face death, the quality of the life you are leading becomes more important.
Later, when I was able to walk with ease, I wandered toward the Japanese Tea House on the far side of the park. I sat on a boulder beside the koi pond. I spent so much time writing there that I started referring to it as “my office.” The tranquility, punctuated with the lapping of the koi darting beneath the lily pads, the buzz of bees sipping nectar in the garden, the breeze rustling the gingko trees, the distant sound of children playing on the other side of the park, all served as a more potent medicine than anything the doctors had prescribed.
One afternoon I took Katie and her friend Rachel to play after school. Sitting on my favorite boulder, I chuckled as I heard Katie earnestly tell Rachel that my perch next to the pond was my office. Rachel’s dad was a lawyer and her mom worked in an office with actual cubicles and walls. “This isn’t an office,” she argued, ever a child with her feet firmly planted on terra firma.
“It is my mommy’s office!” Katie defended, a girl always floating slightly above the crowd. And then hollering, “Mommy, tell Rachel that this is your office.”
Poor Kate, she has had a lot of explaining to do having me as her mom.
For a while, as I struggled free from self-imposed reins, I wrote in a weekly writing group. We’d gather at the moderator’s home writing to prompts, a timer hurrying us toward the finish line. There were simple rules: keep you pen moving, even if all you wrote was “I don’t know what to write.” Blessedly, I never wrote that sentence. If we felt brave, we’d read and then listen to gentle critique (another rule) and offer encouragement. Over recess, we shared cheese and crackers, a glass of wine, a laugh, elaborate our heartfelt praise. And then more prompts, more celebration. Like God, there is a powerful alchemy that happens when two or more are gathered.
I now make a living from my home office. It is sometimes more difficult to slip from (creative) work mode to creative being. Fresh air, drive time, passing scenery, kid sounds, being in the world, can clear out the cobwebs and offer a kaleidoscope of inspiration. On the other hand, if the Muse saunters in, my shoes (and bra) are already off and we can dance and sing like no one is watching. I can write away the hurt and welcome love. In my very own corner of heaven on earth.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
*Have something to say to me that is too personal? Let’s connect.
#writing101 | day6 challenge [“The Space to Write” | add a poll or contact page. ]