Years ago, when I began writing Rose's journal, I too woke early, listening for the sweet morning sounds as I channeled warm Reiki heat throughout my body. Like Rose, immediately on rising, I journaled. Unlike Rose, who draws in her journal, I scribble as many words as will fit on the page. No margins. No censoring. Pure stream of consciousness clearing.
The writing cleared my mind and heart of the ordinary pains and anxieties of daily living--the faux pas of a shy and clumsy klutz, the aches and pains of an aging body too long taken for granted, the intentional hurts foisted by the office crank, the horrors of wars abroad and at home, my country (land of the free) breaking its own and international laws to imprison and torture people, many of whom later proved to be innocent. More, the writing transcended evil, springing to visions of peace among peoples of vastly differing beliefs and cultures, peace with that crank at the office, and most especially, peace in my heart.
In it I could imagine a world of people loving one another, always showing to one another the kindness my dearest friend routinely shows to every person she meets, and in her line of work, she meets some of the bottom feeders of society. Yet she treats each person with dignity and compassion. I don't know how she does it.
In the writing, too, I tried on creative ideas, posited solutions to sticky problems both personal and grand, and delved into the vast, varied and sometimes viscous pool of information with which I had fed my voracious mind in the previous twenty-four hours.
Back then, at the time I wrote this first Village post, after Reiki and journaling, I began each day with a few minutes Yoga as well. Not much, just enough to get the blood flowing. Somewhere along the way, I let go of these rituals. Instead, I gave more and more time to writing and research. Obsessed with creating a viable vision that could one day become reality, I gave up sleep, staying up till two or three in the morning, and at least one night a week, pulling an all-nighter.
Eventually, exhausted, I posted more and more infrequently, months passing at times with no words at all. Oh, the writing in me hadn't stopped. My body had. Worse. It seemed my mind had. I could not focus. Could no longer do the razor editing. Could not, in fact, absorb the articles I read to keep current on politics, green-living innovations, peace work. I took comfort in the writing of other bloggers whose posts fed my soul and nourished my heart.
Determined to recover, I began writing again, this time hunting down and sharing with my dedicated readers the people, events and technologies I discovered that pointed to the possibility of building a more Ordinary-like world right now. Once again, I burned the lights into the wee hours of the morning, frequently waking in my desk chair, head tossed back at an awkward angle, mouth wide open, slogging unconscionable sounds for a woman reared in the Fifties, when self-respecting ladies still wore hats and gloves to town.
This obsessive compulsion doesn't work for me. Being driven is a wonderful trait we artists possess that helps us create fabulous (and, alas, not so fabulous) works. Without it, how can we possibly get to the beauty and nut of a piece? We start with an idea, like a chunk of marble, seeing completely the David hidden inside, and chip painstakingly away to expose the power and beauty, whatever the cost in time and discomfort. One slip, and the piece may be ruined, so we focus every atom of our being on placing the chisel just so in this present moment, and again, and again, and again.
Inevitably the timer goes off. Without it we might not remember to lay down our tools, shower, dress, and get ourselves out the door to our "real" job. Michelangelo himself felt the pressure of society's call on him. Without the patronage of the Pope, he had no living. Without a living, he had no marble. Without marble, he could not sculpt. So he sculpted for the Pope, pieces the Pope commissioned, not the pieces burning in him to carve, aching in his bones to pull from the stone. Not only the sculpting, though. The Pope wanted his churches decorated. And so we have the Sistine Chapel, as beautiful a work as anything on earth, perhaps, but not what Michelangelo might have chosen had he had his way.
This is the way of the world. Artists work with what we have, given the time we have. So I begin again. Building Ordinary this time, as well as visioning it. Will I return to Rose's journal? Yes, absolutely yes. If somehow breath and time permit. But first, because I cannot vision Ordinary without knowledge, I renew my commitment to researching and writing every day. This does not mean a post a day, but writing until a post is ready, or as my dear friend Dorris used to say, until I abandon it. My immediate objective is two posts a week. We'll see how it goes.
Coming up: Morning rituals and narrowing the field of research
We make peace in a million small ways every day.
All text and images, unless otherwise noted, copyright L. Kathryn Grace. All rights reserved.