My grandmother meditated. She would settle into her wooden porch swing above her meticulously planted flower garden with roses and four o’clocks and a birdbath in the center of a preened lawn and just sit. She wore her flower print, knee-covering dresses, her long gray hair twisted up in a bun with hair pins and when I’d be invited to join her, it was understood that this was a moment of silence. Of course she never would have called it meditation, but that’s what it was.
She thoughtfully planted the right flowers to attract hummingbirds; blue birds and robins played in the water of the bird bath. It was a moment of paradise where we didn’t have to do or say anything. We just sat there in silence being human beings.
Years later, everybody started to talk about meditation as if it were some imported practice from the East, but it’s been a part of human heritage since the beginning of time, I suspect. The one thing about my grandmother is when she finished with silent sitting and broke the quiet time with a gentle word, she’d look radiant and recharged. This was her way of recharging her batteries and refilling her well. She always took time out to stop and sit for a few minutes and just be.
Refilling the well is about finding your silent space, which Joseph Campbell refers to as “sacred space” and cultivating it for creativity. As writers we tend to work a lot with the masculine mind – to force and will things into being with our mental capacities. But there’s also the feminine mind which thrives on just being. The answers just come in a moment of silence, in a moment of chopping onions in the kitchen or while out on a walk thinking of something totally different. The ideas, the solutions to our next plot point, just pop in as if out of nowhere. This is the intuitive mind. It’s there always working, even during the night in dreams, while the conscious mind rests.
So we want to find a way to actively cultivate this feminine mind, this sacred space and use it for writing. In my mental picture, I see a source, a fountain or a well at the core of my sacred space. It never runs dry. It’s always flowing, giving more and more water. I schedule a regular time each day to sit and listen and take regular walks in nature.
How do you refill your well?
copyright: Debra Moffitt, 2008 www.debramoffitt.com