Reflecting on Writing & Change

Reflection on a Puddle, Boston, 2006. Photo by Rich Cave.
“Our task is to say a holy yes to the real things of our life as they exist – the real truth of who we are: several pounds overweight, the gray, cold street outside, the Christmas tinsel in the showcase, the Jewish writer in the orange booth across from her blond friend who has black children. We must become writers who accept things as they are, come to love the details, and step forward with a yes on our lips so there can be no more noes in the world, noes that invalidate life and stop these details from continuing.” Natalie Goldberg
It’s Christmas Eve! Merry Christmas!
The last couple of days I’ve been bundled up in bed, drinking my Gypsy Cold Care tea, barely moving, not even checking mail and blogs. At one point I was upset for missing vacation time, but suddenly I realized this is the perfect time to surrender and be sick. Let my body rest and soak in the deliciously warm, fluffy bed, with a nice book at hand and my wonderful man pampering me all day long. Aren’t I truly lucky? Being away from obligations has its good side too. :D
I’m re-reading Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. I figured that since I have a blog now, I better pay some respect to my readers and do the best job I can. Funny thing is though, that when I glanced all the way down my bookshelves, I suddenly caught sight of the numerous books on writing that I own. I couldn’t ignore them. They were a clear reflection of myself and they were starring right back at me. So I gently stepped into my memory to search for the reasons why I’ve been buying these books, when I haven’t written in years…
I found out that I’ve been seeking these books because they make me feel relaxed and at ease in my eagerness and need to express. Somehow I’ve always felt that I belonged in the writer’s world, where it is vital to caress all the details in life. I remembered also, that writing was a significant part of me while living in Brazil. I devoured Portuguese literature, I poured my heart out in my journals, I worked as a copywriter for a couple of Ad Agencies and I even wrote a Play once.
But you see, for the last eleven years I’ve been away from “Portuguese”, and I can’t do as good of a job with it anymore. And even though I think and dream in English these days, I never felt entitled to write in English, because it is not my first language. How could I do a good job at it? Guess what happened? I stopped writing.
On the flip side, here I am, guys. Willing to do it badly. And this was a big splash for me: to see that I am doing it now, even though I wasn’t thinking about the writing itself when I started. If I had intended to write, I probably would never have posted an entry. It’s too scary. The key is that I dove into this experience heart first. My intention was solely to share, because I realized how much I’ve benefited from reading other blogs and learning how we are all deeply connected.
What I’m wondering however, is if this knowledge can be used in other areas where I’m expecting myself to do well. Like painting, for instance. Can we ever just play and do what we like and what we are called to do without the pressure to excel? Why don’t we trust ourselves and have more fun?
I’ll still create a space to encourage travel here, as I originally promised. But I must say this whole thing is taking a life of its own. I’m going to let it run wildly for a while to see if there are more hidden desires waiting to surface. I want this blog to be a reflection of real life experiences and this is one of them. Realizing I want to write about whatever comes up. I want to let my guard down with the words and fly with them to unexpected places.
It is like traveling after all, sometimes we make arrangements to go somewhere but mid-way, we tweak and change the itinerary a bit. This is happening here. Will you come with me?
And how about you? Is there anything you’re overlooking because of fear of doing it badly? What is the creative voice inside you saying? Open your heart and let that voice come out. We need to do these things because they make us feel alive, not because we need to be successful at them. (I need to repeat this to myself a hundred times a day!)
I want to thank the readers of this blog so far, and a few inspiring, kind, talented souls and mentors, that encouraged me to take action and begin this journey to find my own voice. Thanks to all of you, I’m starting to enjoy the colors in my own reflection.

  • way to go alex! i love the site and your writing is interesting, honest and a joy to read. keep sharing!

  • This is a really interesting post. I’ve found myself writing and making crafts much more in the past year, after having spent a couple of years of being reticent to do these things because I felt I wasn’t good enough. If your heart is really in what you’re doing then your work will shine with that….
    That photo is wonderful too….

  • Hi Alex,
    I found your lovely website through a link. Thank you for sharing your thoughtful words and beautiful photos. This posting is so honest & inspiring. I’d like to get involved in these writing groups/communities too.
    I also live in the (Inner)Sunset district. I didn’t know about those steps at Moraga & 16th, have to check that out!

  • I will come with you!
    Your blog is also an inspiration to me and I’m so glad you had the courage to ‘speak up’ over at Poetry Thursday.
    Well met Gypsy Girl. Keep up the writing, I love to visit. You are an absolute joy!

  • love all of this – keep it coming girlie girl!

  • Hi Alex
    I found your site from I regularly read your posts and I think you already know that:)Thanks for your message . I wish one day you will also visit Istanbul or you have you already been here before?
    All the best:)

  • This post is a real treat. I especially liked the beginning part where you remembered the importance of surrendering. I have to remind myself every day to do that. I

  • This post is a real treat. I especially liked the beginning part where you remembered the importance of surrendering. I have to remind myself every day to do that. I?m here through your Poetry Thursday link. It was great to discover you. Please keep posting.
    Dennis ~

  • Your blog is a holy yes–so real and rich and good and inspiring…
    …since you asked my yoga practice (or lack thereof!) is on my mind. I get daily inspirations from Yoga Journal–was reading about chakras today and thinking, what am I waiting for? Reading your post underscored it.
    I have to be unafraid like you!

  • Oh my….English is not your first language?! That’s *incredible*. You keep surprising me….

  • Alex~
    I love this post…you keep reminding me of elizabeth gilbert who I love and adore so much, wasn’t her book amazing…
    what I see when reading your posts is a women who as always is completly open to discovery, be it physical, or emotional. I love this about you, especially since you don’t mind sharing it with us. It really is inspiring Alex, keep it up.
    Happy New Year to you,

  • Money may buy friendship but money cannot buy love.

  • just wanted to say that this post is one thing that inspired me to finally start a blog and to thank you for that.

  • Thats some quality basics there, already knew some of that, but you can always learn more. I doubt a “kid” could put together such information as dolphin278 suggested. Maybe he’s just trying to be “controversial? lol

  • I really like how you captured the fall leaves in the reflection.

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