Discipline strengthens a practice. After teaching fourteen years of high school English, I now am trying to write. The last seven years I taught my favorite— creative writing. It was great fun being people’s editor, idea-slinger and critic, because when it came down to it: they had to do the work. I didn’t have to write a thing I assigned, yet secretly, I wished I could and would create something brilliant, aside from a lesson plan. Someday I imagined. So, I merely created space and started a dialogue on the art and craft of writing. I groomed disciplined writers, but I wasn’t one.
Once I had a student named Maddy, short for Madeline (a real teacher’s pet), return from college. She said the greatest thing she learned in my class was a strong work ethic. I remembered how she struggled and sat bawling in my tattered chair overwhelmed with schoolwork and adolescence. I listened, then guided through the fray. I witnessed her trudge through the drama that teenage girls are subject to endure. She persevered. Now, Maddy is acing college papers. She thanks me, but really she did the work.
Now it’s my turn to write and where is the work ethic I supposedly could instill? Where is my person to sit and listen to me cry about why I didn’t write anything? I got drama too! I quit my career nine months ago to pursue my Reiki practice and now the writer in me is knocking. She competes with my single mom list. Up till now I haven’t answered I just shout:
But the floors need sweeping
the dishes need scrubbing
laundry is piling, dog needs a walking, the phone is ringing, bills need paying
the business needs marketing
and the kids, hell, they need everything!
She waits. And knocks Louder.
Frustrated with my untimely guest at the door I call my Arizona girlfriend who knows me best. She too is a writer. It’s okay to be a hot mess with her. “I want to write I have so much to say, but I can’t seem to get anything down.” I didn’t dare admit that I hadn’t traded the mop for the pen.
“Rhiana, if you really want to be a writer you need to think of yourself as one.”
It clicked. I needed to change how I perceived myself. I whispered to my shadow self, my ideas matter. I ignored the dark voice that tormented. You’ve already reinvented yourself enough, now you want to write! Everyone wants to be a writer, what makes you so special! You better get a job subbing before it’s too late, dreams are for those that don’t have anything to lose; you could lose everything.
It’s a good thing I saw that bitch for what she really was—Fear. Knowing Fear is the opposite of Love, I left the bitch standing outside but thanked her for stopping by. I allowed my writer, and my love for the word to enter the seat of my soul. Admittedly, I was nervous about my new house guest.
I entertained her, for the next couple of days I called myself a writer (despite not believing it). She called my bluff and took over my futzing with the blank page. In that moment I became. I am a writer. I feel it. The keys are tapping; my idea is anchoring. I’m slinging some ink, I’m crafting an idea. My muse is singing, yippee! Then whoosh, kerplunk, my idea switches directions, I’m lost in the middle, where has my meaning gone?
Remember Maddy, persevere. Remember all the others you believed in, put that faith in yourself and write through the chaos, into the storm of ideas, and out the muddled thoughts. I plunge and gasp and kick and edit punctiliously. This writing is darn hard work with idea scraps of this and that. This article has turned into a patchwork quilt, a tapestry of thought. Well, it’s a start I suppose. I’m sure my “good ideas” will come. The one’s with real panache —the best sellers. For now, this is what I have.
I used to hang inspiring quotes all over my classroom, my favorite was, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” In an effort to keep my momentum and my new guest, I called a fellow writer and proclaimed, “I need help, I need discipline. I need homework. I need to honor the part of me that wants to write.”
“Me too, I’m exactly in the same place,” she confessed. Instantaneously I created space, started a dialogue— but for me this time. By asking for what I needed I helped her, and we had another girlfriend join, and another wants to come the next time. My soul is officially in the driver’s seat, nervous or not. I still see Fear peeking through the windows on the front stoop. I smile at her unabashed, then quickly dart my eyes back to the keyboard. I refuse to entertain her anymore; eventually she will go away completely.
I don’t know where this leads I just know I have to do it, write now (pun intended). I’m not sure how it will look, but I do know my words, my voice, my story are important. I write for myself. I write from love. I write to encourage. I write to feel my fingerprint. I believe a story has hands that can reach into your heart. It reminds us that we are not alone in our plight. Our stories can comfort us like warm cocoa and take the chill out of life. Or, it can put a good chill into life pending your intention. It is fall and my seven and nine year old are watching a terrifying episode of Haunting Hour, blankets curled tight, eyes bulging, they love a good story scare. My intention is not to scare but to inspire, connect, and share my story, my strife, my spirit so that you too may spread your wings and fly or sit in the chair and write! As discipline strengthens any practice your heart yearns to manifest.
Until my keyboard and I meet again, I will percolate ideas in my coffee pot head and work on a new brew for our next read together. Cheers!
Rhiana Tehan is a Holy Fire Karuna Master Teacher under her company Be Reiki, LLC. It is her mission to provide compassionate and quality Reiki training and healing sessions. Rhiana blogs on her website www.BeReiki.com sharing her story of awakening to a more heart centered life. She is both a member of the IARP (International Association of Reiki Professionals) and the ICRT (The International Center of Reiki Training).