Retreat Leader Joyce Rupp and I will be offering another Writing from the Soul workshop for women in May 2014. Rich insight emerges from the experience. At one retreat, the morning's guided meditation was in response to the question: What obstacles are boulders in the steam of my life? Lynn Fleming (Naperville, IL) saw herself on a raft hung up on boulder. She was holding a large stone and sensed it represented her struggle with perfection. Then, she remembered the quote in her high school yearbook, and penned this piece.
This morning as I was kayaking on the Upper St. Croix River, I got hung up on a submerged rock just under the surface. The worst of the spring floods were over but the current was still swift enough that my kayak spun around and I was facing upstream. I had misjudged the current, been mistaken about the depth, didn't pay attention to the ripples warning of the rapids ahead.
“I should have known better! I shouldn't have gone out on my own! I didn't do this right!”
"Pipe down," a voice whispered. "Lighten up!"
"Lighten up! Are you crazy? I could drown out here by myself!"
"Lighten up, lighten up!”
Noticing the panic in my voice, I instinctively grasped the stone hanging on a tarnished chain around my neck. I had slipped the chain on remembering the fun I had paddling this river with my high school girlfriends the summer of ’62. We had made the stone necklaces at our graduation all-nighter and had printed the quotes under our senior yearbook pictures on them. "Something worth doing is worth doing well," mine said.
"I don't believe that anymore!" I announced to the trees. "That's not even true," I yelled to the river. "This stone is too heavy for me," I croaked to the wind. Impulsively, I yanked the 50-year-old totem from my neck and tossed it overboard. Within seconds, I felt my kayak rise from the boulder; spinning around, it headed downstream. "I lightened up!” I nervously chuckled.
Below the rapids, I paddled onto a sandy strip of shoreline to sit and still my racing heart. Taking my journal out of my pack, I wrote, “What are the boulders in the river of my life?” I reflected on all the writing stored in my computer, all the essays and reflections I don’ think are good enough to share, much less publish. I made a list of all my “what if's.” What if my poems don’t have to be perfect? What if the process is as important as the product? What if I do something risky? What if something worth doing is simply worth doing? What if I stop calling everything a draft and finish a piece? What if lighten up and dare to share who I really am? What if I admit that I am a poet and a writer?
Please click on Workshops/Speaking for information on our next workshop.