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.)
We started our #5for5BrainDump late, due to fog... and during the process - I had to laugh as the garbage truck came and made noise and.... anything that might have blocked people's focus happened. Such great metaphors! As always, we may write live and with the replay (see the replay below if you would like to write "almost live" and you may write separately as I did here. Below, the prompt - and then, my words - yes written in 5 minutes.
I remember the dream I had…. I would say “Someday I am going to….”
And pffft it disappeared.
So now, I will say it like this…
Last weekend I set out three important goals, significant ones - built upon my daily choices and actions due to those choices.
Three “this is where I want to be, #Moreofthatplease” moments tucked into the moment in time when I stated them. When I spoke out and breathed them into being in front of an audience of loving admirers.
I think this is important.
I am speaking my dream in front of yaysayers, ones who share my vision and who can see me there sometimes better than I can.
To enjoy the digital nomad lifestyle, to adventure along the rails for a month this summer bringing my message to “the people” whomever lines up to hear it.
My message of the world is waiting for your words.
My messages in my books – Dear Autism Mom (You are never alone. There is hope, love and community) and Uber Poetry in Fly Over America (Restoring Hope, One Ride at a Time) will shift those I meet positively.
I can feel that. This is my dream.
My dream to be in movies realized – and to win awards, realized, to be a Mommy, realized…. To be significant…. Realized.
Add to these increases daily, moment-by-moment. I say my dream like this – the ultimate: to play a part in positive world transformation. Revolution by the People. Loving one another without the spewing hate or hurtful, destructive words.
To understand and come alongside, build and lift up.
This only took five minutes and I feel like everything has changed.
(Because it has)
There is something exciting about playing a game with friends, especially a really fun game where many of our favorite friends are playing along, too.
That’s one of the reasons I created the Word-Love Scavenger Hunt!
I know how fun it is to experience the miracle of word-love… and I know how fun it is to find unexpected blessings in random tucked away places and for that reason, I decided it would be fun to introduce this game via my live streams broadcasts.
Here’s how it works:
Join any of my broadcasts live or during the replay.
Does everyone really win something?
YES! You will receive up to 5 works of art if you submit 1 – 5 correct answers during the 10 day period. Anything more and you will get entries for the Grand Prize and naturally a lot of loving attention from me forever more.
Julie Jordan Scott
is the founder and creator of 5For5BrainDump. She has been inspiring artistic rebirth since 1999.