Have you ever had a moment that was so joyful that you found yourself whispering, “I wish I could bottle this feeling…”?
Perhaps you remember feeling angry, guilty, nostalgic or ashamed; and bottling those emotions within the contour of your body.
Imagine that you were asked to bottle an emotion or a series of moments. What shape will your container be? What thoughts or emotions will it hold?
Will you keep a jar of happy thoughts? Or a jar of secrets? Or something altogether different?
Go ahead: Pick a jar. On slips of paper, write out the details you carried on your skin from the day. Place them inside the jar.
Bottle the smell of brown rice boiling on a stove top, the sight of the lazy sun resting on your knees, or the slithering snakes dancing in the shadow of a bamboo garden. Bottle the sight of mustard seeds sinking to the bottom of a pickle jar or the tired eyes of your mother holding you in her gaze. Bottle the sound of rain hissing on the asphalt on a hot summer day, crackling thunder that kept you company at night.
Let the details pickle for an extended period of time. Read them when you (and the details) are ready.
Last year, I turned my life upside down.
It was my year of the Saturn Return, complete with major upheavals, epiphanies and chaos.
During that year, I quit my job, broke my apartment lease, launched my business, ran a fundraising campaign, traipsed through the Southwest on a solo three-week trip, surrendered myself to a 10-day silent meditation retreat, published my short story, and began healing my broken relationship with my family.
In July 2015, I packed up my belongings into cardboard boxes and left them at my friend’s basement. By July 2016, I had lived in fifteen different homes, carrying my red suitcase and a tote bag wherever I went.
Can you feel the chaos? Continue reading
slanted shadows, / scattered leaves–/ pegged to the ground.
Write out the history of your shadow.
Let your piece take any shape or form.
What shadows will your words cast on the page?
You are a writer.
Words turn you on.
You wait for words to brush against each other and make beautiful sounds.
You roll words on your tongue and taste them.
You have stories dancing inside your belly.
And yet…something is holding you back. You are struggling to write the pieces that you want to write and share them with the readers who need to read them the most.
Need an extra push?
Here is a carefully curated list of books that will hurtle your writing life to another level. Let’s go for a ride!
- Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within
Before I met this book, I had been writing painfully, laboring over my every word, and hiding behind those that eventually made their way on the page. Writing Down the Bones shook up the core of my writing practice. I carried that thin hardcover book with me for two years as I learned to let my pen go and write without censoring my thoughts, allowing all the words to exist on my notebook. This book convinced me to begin my daily writing practice. Since then I have collected a stack of spiral notebooks with my scribbles on them and found a spiritual practice that anchors me.
2. Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet
Rainer Maria Rilke. Need I say more?
Picture this: Grand Central Terminal. Me. Reading out loud Rilke, my words drowned out by the buzzing of people milling around me like loose hornets.
If you want to read this book, I challenge you to read it in the most unique way possible. Crouched under your bed, flashlight in hand, whispering the words to your heart. Read it to the moon in the darkness of midnight. Read in the middle of a storm, an umbrella in hand, rain drops hammering down on its hood. Read to a friend and let your friend read to you. Continue reading