[This workshop took place on 12-1-12, seventy-four years to the day after my parents were married. My older half-brother was at the wedding. Where was I that day?]

1. I have been renewed by . . .
2. When I realized it wasn’t about fixing it, then . . .
3. The moon is in the room; everything I need is here. So why do I . . .
4. Write about the time when you found you could nourish someone most easily and did not; OR, the time when all you could do was be nourished.

Lotus Moon — the poetry of Rengetsu, by John Stevens (with an Afterword by Myotai Sensei)***. Also, Black Robe White Mist; Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life, by Natalie Goldberg; The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron; and Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott (a very funny book: but great lessons!).

*** [To order the book, Lotus Moon, click here.]

(My) Class Notes:

1) The “fresh air place” is the first draft.

2) Julia Cameron says, write 3 pages every morning, even if it’s only bad writing. Natalie Goldberg say, keep your hand moving across the page.

Natalie Goldberg's "Rules for FreeWriting Practice" (click on image to enlarge)

Natalie Goldberg’s “Rules for FreeWriting Practice” (click on image to enlarge)

3) Myotai: How does the critic function?
Julia Cameron: “It needs to be taught mature kindness.”

The critic is the Guardian at the Gate. How willing are you to keep showing up at the threshold? Kindness begins as you keep knocking. Keep showing up for practice.

4) Rengetsu’s “pines” poem: she’s lonely — but for what? For whom? She is simply noticing her heart when the wind is not blowing.

5) What can I give 100% to? Today . . . or at lunch . . . or while we’re waiting in line for coffee: 100%! The work is the commitment. The job is what may or may not get in the way [did I understand this correctly?] Writing practice is a tool of discernment. When it stops, am I moving on to a new practice? Or, do I need to stay with the writing? Write about that and see which it is! When do I say the shape of this commitment is a person of integrity? Baby steps . . .

6) “The exercise of mature kindness:” the “teacher” shows up — but who is the teacher? We must be kind in our self-criticism. The true, kind critic (inside or outside of us) brings us back to ourselves.

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