From time to time, I need to retreat into an empty space. Not doing, just being. That’s the place where I receive inspiration for my writing and other creations. My Muse is waiting there, to whisper wisdom, stories, and beautiful images into my ears.
However, I’m very good at doing everything but sitting quietly and being. And this has not only kept me from writing the blog for the past two weeks, it’s also kept me from other creations that are patiently waiting until I finally gather the focus to do them.
In the Wheel of the Four Directions, the South is the place of doing. During these lovely, long summer days I spend a great deal of time with my feet on the ground: working in the garden, organizing my house, giving workshops, etc. And in the evenings, when my body is tired of doing, I find other distractions: the webcam on the osprey nest, the World Championship Football, socializing with friends…
The West is the place of retreating inside oneself and just being. Open to receive whatever is being whispered in the stillness. That really does sound more like a place to be in the autumn, but in the endless cycles of life we do need to be in the West more often than once a year!
The rain we’re having today is a blessing. No temptation to go out and do things, no reason not to sit quietly and write. Yes, I know that writing is also doing but I can only get there through that quiet place.
And so I ask myself, what part of me is so resistant to retreating into the stillness? What inner voice whispers to me, right at this moment, to get up from writing this blog and go do the laundry?
“Just for a few minutes, you can always get back to this later,” the voice insinuates.
There is a part of me that doesn’t like the stillness, doesn’t like to stop doing. And so I sit quietly with that part of me, asking it what it needs. What is its concern, how can I convince it to leave me alone every once in a while? We strike a bargain, my doing voice and I. Once a day I’m allowed take a short break to just sit and be, to retreat inside and listen to the voice of my Muse, to gather inspiration, to write.
My part of the bargain is that I stop thinking negatively about that part of me that lets itself get distracted. It’s not much, but it’s a start… The laundry can wait.