I’m writing. Two words on the page followed by eight. No telling how much farther I’m going to get because this week has lacked productivity. Monday was great. I finished the last of the singing-arc chapters of Kaitlyn’s story. The emotional momentum and counterpoint work— at least for now— I’ll reevaluate once I get to the read-through portion of this revision. It was a huge Victory because this arc of her story came out of me like a sloth climbing out of a tree for his weekly dump.
So, of course I was jazzed for Tuesday’s deep dive into the last chapter of her story’s upward trajectory. Only it was sort of like having diarrhea. You’ve been there, right? You get to the bathroom, you’re relieved, you feel fine and then three minutes later you have to make another trip, and it goes on and on and on because the Pepto-Bismol isn’t working. That was Tuesday. Lightning bolts of inspiration on how to start the chapter would hit, but once I was two or three sentences in all thoughts became jangled out of tune and harsh, and Ophelia was nowhere around to save me. So, I’d begin again, and again, and the cycle repeated for six hours.
Writing friends often nudge me to quit sooner on days like Tuesday. “Don’t force it. Go for a walk and return fresh the next day.” It’s sensible advice. And I believe in recharging my battery, which is why I take Saturdays off to read and hobnob with friends and do my best to refrain from contemplating my story. But Saturday’s Timeout is exactly why I can’t bring myself to step away sooner on my six-hour writing days. Because I’ve learned persistence is essential for my creative output.
My bad— I did not, as usual, kick off my writing week on Sunday. I was scheduled to chat with one of my dearest friends in New Orleans in the morning, and then two of my oldest New York City dweller friends requested a virtual meet up in the afternoon. Jocosa Rule: never say No to an invitation. Those chats replaced my six-hours of writing. I could’ve ventured onto the page after a dinner break, but I was emotionally tapped out with joy.
Needless to say, my not showing up on Sunday led to the return of those Whores of Negativity, who scolded me for that misstep because surely that was the reason Tuesday’s writing was in the toilet.
Persistence doesn’t ensure quality, but it does provide the goods from which quality is born.
This point of view developed deeper roots for me after a surprising revelation during a morning Sadhana in 2019.
Sadhana is whatever you do consistently to clear your own consciousness so you can relate to the infinity within you…it will include exercise, meditation, and prayer.
I haven’t missed a day of Sadhana since I started six years ago. I was particularly drawn to the teachings on meditation:
- practice a specific meditation for 40 days straight and it will break any negative habits related to the meditation that block your expansion
- practice for 90 days and this will establish a new habit in your conscious and subconscious minds
- practice for 120 days and a new habit of consciousness and the positive benefits of the meditation get integrated permanently into your psyche
- practice for 1000 days and you will master the new habit of consciousness the meditation promised— and no matter what the challenge, you can call on this new habit to serve you.
This teaching sounded grand. So, whenever a new meditation resonates with me I do it for a minimum of 120 days. As a result, my Sadhana often takes three hours, other days it’s under 30 minutes. It’s not for everyone, but it works for me.
I used to believe the quality of time I put in was more important than the quantity— even though I was heavy on the quantity. But I no longer believe it’s true. Quality counts. Absolutely. It’s definitely a bonus, but it’s not an essential ingredient. After my son died, I had no quality in my practice. I showed up because Sadhana is as integral to my life now as breathing. But I didn’t feel the power of the relationship as I had previously. I feared the depth would never return.
Then one day— following one of my worst days of sorrow— the sun came through the darkness and filled me with Joy. I had done nothing different. My only action was showing up. My heart wasn’t in it, and then it was. The Quality returned because I held to my practice and showed up.
Kundalini Sadhana practiced over time provides “spiritual fitness” that helps us overcome negativity, duality and depression.~ Harijiwan
Tuesday’s toilet writing lesson— when I practice Sadhana I’m building my toolbox in order to be a better human in the same way my writing practice makes me a better writer.
At first, I was in it for the word count— 1000 words a day and only stopping when I knew what was going to happen next. But what good is word count if the heart of the story isn’t on the page? I slowed down. Today, I swing between writing like a wild woman and writing like a Tai Chi master. I use whatever rhythm is necessary to connect me to the core of the story. No two days are the same because the energy of my inner writer fluctuates from day to day and sometimes, like on Tuesday, she ends up imploding from frustration. And that’s okay. All that matters is the showing up. Everything written needs to be rewritten, revised, edited. But those are the second, third and fourth steps. The first step is showing up and moving the pen across the page, or tapping my fingers across the keyboard.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to plunge back into Kaitlyn’s last upward swing, so I can watch her fall.