Thursday, April 4, 2013

Developing a Daily Practice

Natalie Goldberg, the author of "The True Secret of Writing" spoke at an author event at Bookpassage, inspiring us to not only write, but also to start one new daily practice and to do it for a year.

Years ago I realized that too much of my life had become rote and the repetition made my days unmemorable. Life was passing but it had become a big blur. So I decided to change it and get up each morning, before the sunrise, and sit and watch the sun rise, noticing the full event of dark changing to light along with the sounds of the morning. I was amazed how this change in focus impacted how I felt and changed me.
   
Ms. Goldberg shared stories of how she challenged her writing students to take on a new practice and to do it daily for a whole year. The challenge included the caveat of paying attention to the details of the chosen activity. One of her students took up the task of washing the dishes each day. Another decided to go to the internet cafe at noon each day. Observing, using your senses, and then writing about the experience; these were part of the task, too.

Ms. Goldberg then shared how these daily tasks change into a practice, and then it becomes a part of your life; it is a habit. But then you become a different person. You are more aware. You are actively involved with all your senses.

My new practice is going to be an evening walk, observing the changes in the season, the smells in the air, the sounds along the way, and the people and animals around me. I'll be writing about what I observed and experienced while getting my exercise.