Your prompt - and today's Live Broadcast is below the text so you may write alongside us.Creatively, I feel most supported (+ + + ) when I…
I feel the least supported (+ + + ) when I…
It amuses me when I attract…. What I say I don’t want but that I obviously haven’t been 100% clear about what I want and my past ideas or values rise up and… well, here is what happened this morning.
I was broadcasting our #5for5BrainDump outside – because I love being on my writing porch in the early morning.
Unfortunately when you have neighbors who are drug users, dealers or have a history of such activity, others who engage in the same or similar destructive activities tend to arrive on the doorstep and early in the day – people are especially ornery because – in the case of methamphetamine use – they need that first dose, hit, whatever they call it.
So this morning I was broadcasting and we were in the midst of writing about being creatively supportive (or not) when one of those folks arrived and started banging on the door, ringing the bell, spewing hate and ugliness for the world to…. Certainly not enjoy…. And I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
I actually found it entertaining and used it during the broadcast.
I felt supported because I had witnesses to what I’ve been going through for the last couple years. Apparently the house has been sold and my prayer is the people who move in are not also in any sort of illicit business that attracts the same to the neighborhood.
The noise and disruption they caused is frustrating. It causes squirming and discomfort. If it WASN’T because of the people writing with me, I probably would have gone inside and slammed the door and festered in my anger. Instead, we stayed the course, together.
Like anything else, we are our own best gauge of support or lack of support.
When we effectively communicate with those around us, “This is what helps me, this is what doesn’t help me.” And “This is what I respond to and this is what annoys me and may cause problems in our collaboration.”
When we are open and truth-filled without attachment, everyone gains.
My initial five minutes ended without the timer sounding – and I believe each word was important.
Besides, as I often say “There are no rules, there is just writing (moving your pencil and your finger across the page.) This prompt is an important one – and one to revisit later today, tomorrow, next week and month and whenever you are engaged with different people.
Mutuality of support will make this world a better place not only for creatives, it will make the world a better place for all of us.
To stay "in the loop" and participate in our next #5for5BrainDump experience, "Focus on Your Creative Rebirth" please sign up now for emails to stay inspired and aware of our upcoming sessions, visit here to register. It is always free.
7/9/2018 0 Comments
I choose peace when I return to what I don’t understand. I choose to create peace when I stop being frustrated, when I let go of my opinions and instead, stay open to the peace I see waiting for me on the edge.
It is like taking those sips and gulps of crystal cold water, on my hands and knees, over the rocks… and feeling the coolness in my mouth down my throat and smiling, full grin mode, looking up to moan happily… mmmmmmm…. Peace!
This is it!
I didn’t ever do this as a child, but as an adult I just might roll over on my back and moan and twist myself in happy twists and breathe in the taste even more deeply. This fuels me, this peace and this memory of peace. I remember Mom also remarking Grandpadaddy taught her to take sips from the creek right above the rocks.
If all these adults I cherished said this is must be true, right? It must be true.
Like peace. Peace is also true – and in these moments I remember I have the power to create peace at any point and any moment of my life.
Peace feels like really soft sweat pants – fleece, when I pull them on and notice how gentle they are and how much warmth they bring me when I am cold.
Peace feels like a cold swimming pool on a hot day. It sounds like the ocean when I have been away for far too long. Peace feels like a long hug from someone who I know cherishes me and who wants closeness, mutual closeness, demanding nothing but to hold and be held in that moment.
Peace feels like looking someone in the eye who understands in my silence what I am meaning and what I am needing and offers herself or himself or themselves up to me without question if I can reciprocate (or not).
I am so grateful for these moments of writing with so many people who are grateful for what I do and who I am, as an expression of myself fully….
I am grateful for… being comfortable with knowing even if that above sentence makes no sense, I know what it means and it felt good to write and this is ok.
I am grateful for air conditioning and hazy days. I am grateful for the shade at Hart Park.
I am grateful for periscope and the magic I have found there –
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“Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing.”
“Every day brings a choice: to practice stress or to practice peace.”
= = = = = = =
I’m going to be honest.
Quotes like this have a tendency to piss me off: “Every day brings a choice: to practice stress or to practice peace.” Joan Borysenko said it, she is a smart woman, I trust her judgement but how can she make it sound so easy?
If you have a perfect life, nice house, extra money, a housekeeper, a partner who adores you and lots of mutual support in every dimension it would be so easy to choose peace.
The thing is when there is little of the sustenance stuff and just a smidge of your patience left, staying in a space of peace and love and no stress feels next to impossible.
My eye is twitching wondering how positivity people are going to judge me for saying this, big gasps echoing around the room yet, I also have to ask…
“Isn’t choosing peace even when in the midst of chaos what prayer and meditation and retreat are all about?”
Immediately I think of the Lovingkindess prayer and how much peace I have had in using it.
I think of the “Fall in love with Selling Challenge” I did recently with my friend Vie and how focusing on my purpose and beliefs literally brought me a fearless form of high.
Wasn’t that a sort of choosing peace?
I think of my conversation last night with Chuck when I shared about my plans to let go of my old self, shed that old self skin and devote myself publicly to my renewed way of thinking and being and no longer buying into my old, worn out my goodness I am so sick of it narrative that drags me down each and every time.
I could be simple as simple can be: a tiny book of LovingKindness throughout the day whenever I feel myself sliding into stress and/or whenever a bell rings.
I may choose to live the question, “Have I chosen stress or peace more today? What actions may I take to choose peace next?”
Today, on retreat, I will devote myself to choosing peace.
Your #5for5BrainDump Prompt:
Peace feels like….
When I choose peace, I become more….
When I choose stress, I feel like…
Make a list of times when I have consciously chosen peace…
In the moments today when you stop feeling peaceful, take your list of times when you felt peace and use them to inspire a quick one, three or five minute writing session.
May I be the first to say congratulations. Today, you are actively choosing peace. Stay the course and inspire yourself!
Let's stay the course and write with #5for5BrainDump -
Before I share my brain dump, I have to confess I didn't even realize how much I am being called to write of my heart.
Note to self: review your writing. Review your WRITING! Review YOUR writing!
I'm remembering how Julia Cameron suggests people do not review their morning pages. Sorry, lovers of all things Artist's Way, I think this is a big mistake. To not review my writing, my heart and soul and tears and insights poured onto the page is unwise.
So - off I go for five minutes to write. I hope you will join me - and then join me for next week's #5for5BrainDump session.
I am being called to look at my heart.
Called to look at my heart quietly. When I sat at my desk to consider the thought of it, the first response was “I don’t want to look at my heart. I just don’t want to do that.”
Fear? I wouldn’t think so and yet what I learned last week and almost forgot, I am not entirely honest when it comes to heart examination. It is easier to hide than to be continually growth oriented with my soul stuff.
Samuel walks by. I look up. Distract me, please!
Back to my heart.
I imagine myself sitting under a tree, sitting under a tree with my heart personified.
She isn’t particularly pretty, my heart, not conventionally.
She has tears and fissures. She has scars and pock-marks. She looks tired, beleaguered.
She isn’t shaped like a heart.
Resilience. My heart has resilience. My heart deserves my best. My heart has been waiting for this meeting for a long time, this one I have avoided.
Today I am printing a long awaited book project, a final step before THE final step I have claimed I wanted to finish. I didn’t really want to finish. “It is too scary!” I told my heart.
My heart looks back at me, not exactly frustrated and not even faking a Mona Lisa smile like I might.
“You are making it scary. It isn’t scary. It is something that exposes you and exposes me and makes us ripe for the plucking. I remember…” she says, somehow, without a mouth.
The timer goes off and I need to continue just a couple moments more.
The last time I published a book on my own, I saw a conversation between two people belittling me and my work.
“Was what they said accurate?” my heart asks me.
“Nope, it was their opinion and it wasn’t accurate.”
It wasn’t accurate yet I gave these two guys, these do-nothings whose names I can’t even recall the power to NOT speak up and perhaps make a big difference for a lot of families.
I am going to close with a quote I found and read before I sat down.
“I never said I wanted a 'happy' life but an interesting one. From separation and loss, I have learned a lot. I have become strong and resilient, as is the case of almost every human being exposed to life and to the world. We don't even know how strong we are until we are forced to bring that hidden strength forward.”
Thank you, Isabel. Thank you, Heart. I will continue now. I wrote for two extra minutes. I will review my heart's calling. And write more. Take back the power I had so freely given away, afraid repeatedly of being wrong.
For this session of #5for5BrainDump I am experimenting with including poetry as a supplement to the standard #5for5BrainDump content. Each day's session is thematic. Each livestream day includes a writing tip and each day has a poem or two. Each summer session follows a theme. This theme is "Journey" which we will take metaphorically and/or actually. The choice is for each person to choose and then follow our word-flow.
One of today's poems is NON-Commitment by Chinua Achebe. My reading of the poem and video may be found underneath my writing, which was done #5for5BrainDump style which means no editing, no forethought, just throwing down words on the keyboard or written on paper stream-of-consciousness. Today's writing was done at the keyboard and took me by complete surprise. (In other words, delightful.)
Read on, beloved, read on...
June 27, 2018: Five Minutes After Chinua Achebe
My heart isn’t cautious at all.
It leaps, willy nilly, constantly if I let it my heart would become the Greg Louganis of..
Wow, really? Am I being honest here?
What has shaped my life the most? Stillbirth, dead-before-arrival and ever since I have dug my heels in and done anything, absolutely anything, to prevent stillbirth again so much so that conception is altogether impossible for me and has been for a very long time.
My heart is so prudent it is asleep.
My soft-intellect, the one most closely related to the heart space is angry now. How dare you, she rears her head and starts pointing that damn finger.
No, she’s right, says the most child-like of the bunch. She’s woefully right. I have been petrified of stillbirth, worst has been since 2011 which she just finally committed to believing this morning when she sat on the porch and wrote her morning pages.
Now the writer me takes over and says, “Friends, this is more than a bit ridiculous. I am now writing of me in the third person from several different self perceptions. The writer me is confused and wants her hands chanting, ‘be specific, how many times must I tell you to BE SPECIFIC!’”
I almost stop writing.
I didn’t expect reading Chinua Achebe’s poem would incite a riot in my head AND heart, my intellect AND spirit it is no wonder I am teetering on the edge of depression daily. Sleep, depression, mania, what shall it be today?
I pause to be sensible and get a prescription filled. At least that is a measurable milestone I can check off my to-do list.
Done and done and I have a choice.
Do I publish this mis-mash of written non-sense or do I act like I’ve got everything under control?
If Chinua could write so beautifully about seminal rage and Biafra and get all those honorary degrees and really, I have no connection with him except reading that one novel back in 1982 and yes, I know more about Africa than most white people, sure.
I’ll hit publish and birth this wackiness and will leave my questions half answered because at least I can make the choice. And show my eccentric side. And smack depression (and her partner-in-crime, my motivation) on the forehead.
For now, I’ll take happy mania and life, thank you Chinua. Thank you.
This writing came as a result of the prompting from #5fo5BrainDump. Lots of intensity flowed as I allowed myself to simply and purely write without judgment or forethought. Here we go!
Trust lives in the heart. Distrust lives in the brain, in the swirling business that happens when we are afraid.
Trust grows in the breath, when we breathe into our heart space, when she share from our heart space.
Take notes from the heart.
What happens when I take notes from the heart?
I am sitting in my recliner, my laptop and lap desk across my legs. I am attempting to write, in that I am making frowning faces and not allowing my fingers to move across the page.
My lack of action – letting the words to flow from me – is yet another way my brain – my thoughts – my worry – my fear – stays in control. The blasted safety net that actually becomes all too quickly like a noose made up of mediocrity and status quo is like handcuffs on my words.
I take a breath and allow myself a moment to recollect.
“Five minutes isn’t very long!” says the intellectual snob that sometimes take residence in my brain, a cross between a long ago sitcom character and my next door neighbor who is perpetually mad at me for something (or at least I believe he is.)
Another deep breath. I am writing about trust, I am writing about taking notes from the heart.
I am writing about taking notes from the heart.
My heart hears so differently than that pesky voice. My heart has a natural, profound guiding rhythm and a natural, equal method of giving and receiving. My heart is so strong yet so fragile. My heart has a reach far beyond what we can see. It’s core and its ability to send signals to others is legendary.
When my heart takes notes, it has wisdom beyond the facts. It takes the facts into consideration and it stirs it up with divine guidance, sometimes that stuff of facts that one just can’t explain but we “get” untuitively.
I can trust that invisible stuff more than I can trust the way some facts are presented.
When my heart takes notes and I allow her to speak with her gentle strength, everything feels better. Thank you heart, thank you divinity and thank you ME for giving silence a chance.
This post was written #5for5BrainDump style - I will be sharing here at least several times a week as we prepare for #5for5BrainDump in June - the next session begins in the comfort of your home, office, park or wherever you find yourself on June 18. To register to receive our free daily videos, livestreams, recaps, prompts and numerous ways to become unstuck so you may continue along your purposeful journey, register by clicking the link above the map below.
My journey lately has been a covert one, so covert I haven’t been definitive about it.
Seems odd because as I am writing this, suicide is wracking our world, appearing to be a grim reaper of choice.
Yet coffee is brewing, Mozart is humming around me – or the notes he wrote and someone is playing piano or did play piano and I am able to sit and enjoy it.
Lately I’ve felt more optimism than I’ve felt in a long, long time.
Amidst the toiling and the sadness and the maniacal people who are leaders to so many, I am daring to feel optimistic.
Daring to be the little girl who believed she could be an astronaut, who lived to protect her brother, who believed (and still believes) all people are holy – filled with a divine purpose, a reason and part of that is to connect and create and just be love for one another.
Not “just” be as much as fully be…. Fully be.
Since I had the crash and burn, I have been attempting to feel better.
Do you see that? “Attempting” and “to feel better” – I was… working on it. Continually. Could that be why I haven’t a
actually felt better except in fleeting bits and pieces of time?
This is a question to sit with as I continue to simply and purely continue this journey where the pieces of me that never left, that optimistic little girl and older woman… bid me to join hands and say yes… indeed.
Yes, indeed. To Sign Up for the Next Session, please click this link to register.
4/2/2018 0 Comments
What happened yesterday?
There are days when in the living of them I am so drained I feel my energy seeping into my feet, everything is heavy. My hands are heavy, my feet feel cast in concrete and usually that is when the things I don’t want to do rise high above the things I think would be a pleasure to do.
This is probably why I didn’t last as a county bureaucrat.
Even as I write this, five lousy minutes of writing, my to-do list is flapping her jaw about things I must do right away or the world may explode or something equally unenticing like cleaning the oven by force or fire.
Back to yesterday.
Yesterday I took trash out, repeatedly, at two homes.
I fed animals and children and myself. I washed dishes. I did laundry. I honored requests.
I wrote, blessed God I wrote.
I wrote a poem I am proud of.
I wrote a poem that scared me, that leaped from the page and seemed pretty good and people I like liked the poem so that says something to me.
I felt self conscious yesterday about the poem and sometimes that makes me worry I did something wrong, that usually makes me want to hide but yesterday I didn’t hide. I fought the urge and I stayed present and I wrote. I wrote. I wrote.
Yesterday I cried, just a little, and I felt sorry for myself briefly and I kept moving.
Yesterday I took the trash to the curb because they keep coming early and if I don’t remember the night before, all trash hell breaks loose (or threatens to, not unlike the world explosion or the oven cleaning by force.)
I keep writing. I keep writing.
I smile because this feels good even if it is just gobbled gook it feels good and I know that bits and pieces of it will flow into story somewhere somehow I can feel. I am allowed to feel good even when aspects of my day feel pretty lousy. I am allowed to feel better.
I am allowed to feel self-conscious and say “Hey, this was pretty cool after all!
The timer goes off and I laugh, because the writing started so slowly and built as I let my fingers type aimlessly about what happened yesterday. If someone had asked me what happened ten minutes ago I would have said, “Nothing much!”
This writing below was written #5for5BrainDump style which means - it was free flow writing no editing or forethought beyond finding this quote and starting to write. I'm Julie Jordan Scott and I host a Community Writing Experience (via Livestreaming on Facebook and Periscope) where we write together for 5 minutes for 5 consecutive days. You may try it at any time or see when our next session is but for now - discover the power of Michelangelo and this very shoe you see above.
"What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed?”
I am going to give myself the gift of five minutes to write about something that has had power over me for as long as I can remember and I’m sure as a tiny girl the force of it was stronger than even it is now, so I will just come out and say….
My feelings still get hurt when other people criticize my appearance or if I fall into the comparison trap of “She looks better than me so….”
The thing is, I have never considered myself attractive. I will openly say things about not being conventionally attractive (please don’t leap in to debate me here). I look how I look. I will never be a size 2 or 4 glamorous woman who wears clothes like a hanger wears clothes. I will never have perfect, unlined skin.
Especially not now.
I know all of these things yet a few years ago when someone who decided to attack me did so about my appearance I was slayed for days.
Literally cried off and on. For days.
Does this mean I’m shallow? Will never be a success?
I love that performance poem about “pretty” on YouTube. If I can find it I will link it here – otherwise google it – great stuff – I actually get angry and alternatively hurt if people compliment my appearance because I don’t believe or trust in them anymore.
I have a mirror, I know how I look. I know it isn’t pleasing.
And if I could just get over this fact, I would perhaps be happier.
My five minutes are up. I can go write about what matters now.
My guess is there are other women I find quite attractive who feel the way I do about their own appearance. Ironically, I would probably label them beyond ordinary pretty and instead see their pure beauty.
Healing, continue. The next time I start to cry, self, remind me of this. Please.
1/19/2018 0 Comments
This was a stitched together quilt of writing - what started as a five minute brain dump became an engorged writing water balloon, stretched and not quite thrown.
If this was being published in a different context, I would edit it. Instead, I am leaving as is. Just right. Exactly as it ought to be for now, for you, for us today.
My breakthrough is built with a needle and thread, moved quickly and making that lullaby sound I heard consistently as a child. The sewing machine was a mystical thing because when I was awake, it was put away. I didn’t see it at work, just sitting waiting patiently in its case to use it again.
Sometimes when I waited for sleep to come upon me and close my eyes, I would gaze with fear at the crystal doorknob on my bedroom door that sat right at my eye level. I was convinced there were bad spirits living in there, ready to pounce when the lights went off.
Sometimes I could hear the sewing machine whirring, but it was always back in its box and put away when I woke up.
My mother never left her things out like I do.
I could have learned that skill from her, to neatly stow my materials and make way for a more conventional busy day. I didn't.
As a child, I would go to sleep with fabric attached to tissue paper puzzle pieces and wake up with a nearly finished dress hanging by the door frame, waiting for me to try on.
I remember one bad sewing memory. Amazing it is only one. My mother decided to surprise me with my church confirmation dress but I ‘abhorred the fabric and I really detested the pattern: it was either Simplicity or McCall's “Pounds Thinner Pattern” that looked so dowdy and matronly, not like an ugly and awkward fifteen-year-old but an ugly-and-awkward woman more like my current age.
I opened the door to what we called the TV room and found my mother, fabric and tissue paper pinned and half way cut out. “Julie," she said, frustration filling the air between us, "you ruined the surprise.”
I don't remember sitting down at all, I just remember getting up and leaving, so upset that I would have to wear that ugly thing in front of the entire church. I would have to serve communion in that ugly thing. It would be the last time some of these people ever saw me because we moved to California that summer.
I don’t know if the dress came with us on our move. I just know it was possibly the only piece of clothing I have ever worn that I only wore once (aside from my wedding dress I suppose.)
That doesn’t feel like a breakthrough. I think I need to wait for the lesson my intuition tells me.
It would be several more years before I told my Mom I didn/t want to birthday gift she sent me to college because it is something she or Sue would wear, not me. “I’ll just return it,” I said. Flatly, with no emotion. Or when I cataloged the years Sue got something for Christmas and a full year later, in January, I would get a near duplicate.
“Haven’t you noticed, Mom, Sue and I have completely different taste?” We still do, in most everything.
But that isn’t the breakthrough.
Earlier this Fall I cried when I referred to Glen Ridge as home: me who has declared herself without a home town. “Still seeking my town.” I tell people who ask. Not Dana Point, not Glen Ridge, certainly not Bakersfield where I’ve lived the longest.
That is not the breaking through, either.
My breakthrough is made up of disjointed moments in time.
I wait for it to shout itself clear.
My breakthrough is a poem, not yet written.
My breakthrough is a conversation remembered, an honest confession between beloveds. Salt stuck under my eyelids, pink fluffy socks never keeping my feet quite warm enough.
Missed deadlines, unreturned phone calls, worry about getting someone in trouble who claims to have called me back who didn’t. Why do I worry about her being in trouble when lying about calling me is wrong, especially in this circumstance.
“And I can prove it!” I told the other woman vindictively and immediately feeling remorse for this Diana I have never met nor spoken to who may get in trouble for not making the uncomfortable phone call back to me.
“I just want to make sure this won’t happen to any other people,” I tell the other her.
A day passes. Another conversation. Realization having a constructive conversation does not subtract what happened. The reality is still the reality. The humans underscoring that reality are still... that reality.
My breakthrough may be seen in retrospect in the distance, as I turn one calendar page to the next. I hear Emma behind me, eating a chocolate chip muffin. Coffee is brewing. I am at the keyboard, feeling a familiar brand of contentment.
This is the breakthrough right now. I will review these notes later, because I know there is more there in the sewing machine, in the "ruined surprise" and the dress worn only once.
I smile at my mouse pad, a slightly sunburned Samuel smiling up at me, and my desk-card table picked up at a thrift story I keep meaning to paint and haven't quite gotten to (yet).
The paint is the next breakthrough. The coffee and a chocolate chip muffin is my now breakthrough.
(You and I will talk again soon.)
Julie Jordan Scott
is the founder and creator of 5For5BrainDump. She has been inspiring artistic rebirth since 1999.