“Writing, too, is ninety percent listening. You listen so deeply to the space around you that it fills you, and when you write, it pours out of you. If you can capture that reality around you, your writing needs nothing else.
You don’t only listen to the person speaking to you across the table, but simultaneously listen to the air, the chair, and the door. And go beyond the door. Take in the sound of the season, the sound of the color coming in through the windows.
Listen to the past, future and present right where you are. Listen with your whole body, not only with your ears, but with your hands, your face, and the back of your neck.
Listening is receptivity. The deeper you can listen, the better you can write. You take in the way things are without judgment, and the next day you can write the truth about the way things are.” – Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones
[note: i’ve bold-ed and slightly reformatted this quote]
this brings to mind a point James Clear makes in his book Atomic Habits about how if you want to write a book, practice the qualities of a person who writes a book:
“It’s probably someone who is consistent and reliable. Now your focus shifts from writing a book (outcome-based) to being the type of person who is consistent and reliable (identity-based).”
similarly, Natalie Goldberg seems to be making the point, if you want to be a writer, learn how to listen deeply — with your full body, with all your senses, going beyond the mind’s assessment of things, which is inherently limited by what it already “knows.”
as someone who’s wanted to be a writer most of my life, i’m captivated by these re-framings. they transform the idea of “being a writer” into a more holistic experience, beyond the mere act of putting words on a page.
for me, it makes the experience more tangible. i realize that this whole “writing thing” that’s intimidated me for years, decades even, is much less about being inherently brilliant, insightful, and naturally talented, but more so about showing up to the page every morning, no matter how i feel, and offering myself to the practice, time and time again.
it’s very knight of pentacles energy — consistent, hardworking, in it for the long haul, recognizes that big changes happen through small, daily choices.
and as unsexy as that might sound, i’m here for it. i mean, of course i have fear around “failing” at consistency, at letting my moods “get in the way.” but it still beats the previous framework of success as: be a genius!
this approach feels much more down-to-earth to me, which doesn’t mean not challenging.. consistency, for me, is deceptively hard.
but this process becomes much more accessible.. the dream is no longer a cloud floating in the sky, always out of reach. instead, it feels more like a plow on the ground, calling me to work the land, to give my whole body to the work from a place of dedication, of service, of practical Love.
my prayer for today is grounded in presence and intention, and deep listening from a place of embodiment. while also recognizing the need for energetic boundaries, because sometimes the world is simply too much (as a highly sensitive person, believe me, i know):
may we create space for the pause today, even if just for a moment, if just for a breath.
may we remember our nature as divine beings, and our reason for being put on this earth: service, Love, pleasure, growth.
may we continue to learn to trust ourselves, to tend to ourselves, to practice listening on a cellular level, so that every millimeter of our being can be felt.
❤ ❤ ❤
happy thursday, babes. much love ❤