Ritual To Melt Away Fear

pastel mixed media drawing 'Keeping My Demons At Bay' by Cat Fink

It’s Thursday morning, right after breakfast.

I walk into my studio at the far end of the house.  I place two mugs, one filled with cold water, one with very milky coffee, on the work table, and close the door.  The closed door is a signal to my husband and son at home today—leave me alone, let me write.

This time of year, October, I turn on the heat pump.  Then I go round the room and plug in all three strings of Christmas lights, for the sake of joy. 

If it’s cloudy outside, like today, I turn on the desk lamp as well.  Its pool of yellow brilliance warms me on grey days.

I turn on the music, melody only because hearing someone else’s words interferes with my writing.  Today it’s John Boswell’s solo piano, melody like a river.  There is something in the rhythm of music that translates into the rhythm of words as I write, a gentle flow of sound to accompany flow of thought.

I sit at the work table, formerly my parents’ dining room table, and pull my morning pages book from one of the stacks of paper, books, and binders piled at the edge of the table.  I carefully sharpen my Minnie Mouse pencil.  I rescue my battered pink eraser from where, yesterday, the cat batted it across the table and into a pile of art pens and pencils.

Today I write only two morning pages, not the usual three, before I put the book aside.  This week my morning pages have been full of fear, and two pages is quite enough.  A spillover from my book draft where I’ve been slow-writing about finding the opposite of fear, and how the discovery changed me.

Now I lay a short stack of loose leaf paper in front of me, and resharpen my pencil.  Dull pencils slow me down. 

My heart and mind are open, ready to think and feel, ready to write.

I will tell you the truth of it.

I love writing, it’s a passion and an obsession, and it scares me.  I begin every writing day anxious and nervy, a skittish horse shying at the jump she’s crossed two hundred and thirty-two times before.

Call it its true face.  Fear.

Loaded with fear, yet again I make the jump.

Every thing I do before I set to writing the blog post, I do before working on the book draft.  These actions are a ritual that settles, balances, and focuses me.  I become grounded in my writing place, the space inside me made of thought, word, feeling, and the need to write what passes through my heart.

When I am done, the ritual reverses.  Paper, pencil, eraser put away.  Music silenced.  Lights darkened.  Heat turned off, and door opened.  I am returned to the rest of my world, quieted.

____________________

In this post:

John Boswell, musician and composer, http://www.johnboswell.com/

Morning pages were created by Julia Cameron, and the process is described in many of her creativity books, the first of which is The Artist’s Way. Morning pages save my writer and artist, every time. https://juliacameronlive.com/