Room to Breathe

by | Jan 12, 2021 | 2 comments

I’ve struggled with this post.

Three different drafts have been readied. There’s a sense of pushing in each of them. Too much knowing where the piece is going. Too much wanting to be something specific. As a result, not one of these feels quite right to me. Which is frustrating for any number of reasons. For one, the time I’ve allotted this task is coming to an end. I have, after all, a great many other items waiting on my ‘to do’ list.

That’s the thing about writing, though. It doesn’t always fit into my carefully choreographed schedule. It doesn’t always slide into the neatly coloured time blocks I create on my calendar. Sometimes the practice of writing needs a different approach in order to flourish. An approach characterized more by openness that boundedness, by mystery more than any kind of plan or agenda. Sometimes the practice needs room to breathe – and it’s a lot like meditation in this regard.

 I maintain a pretty predictable rhythm with my meditation practice. I sit down every day for a relatively consistent length of time. For the most part, this is fine. There are, however, occasions when it all feels a bit too prescribed. There are times when this ‘steady as it goes’ approach begins to seem too limited and certain. In such instances, the practice feels less an open-ended exploration and more like another item on that aforementioned ‘to do’ list. Dishes? Check. Laundry? Check. Meditation?

These are times when meditation needs a little room to breathe. I need to lay down with a looser sense of how long I’m going to be here. A looser sense of what, exactly, I’m going to do in this ‘session’. These are times when it’s helpful to let the press of everything else in my life soften, if that’s possible. Sure I still have a bathroom sink to unclog. Maybe, however, this can wait until tomorrow…

Writing practice is, once again, similar to this in many regards. In spite of planning to be done this post by now, I’ve spent the past ten or so minutes staring out the window, letting my focus soften. It’s grey and windy outside. Cars glide by raising that slick, sucking sound as tires glide over wet blacktop. Branches wave bare reminders of mid-winter’s stark presence on the other side of the glass. When I go out a little later, I think to myself, I’ll need remember to wear my heavy scarf.

But going out, this is going to wait for a while. This will happen at some currently unknown later point in time. Right now, I’m trying to give the task of writing a little room to breathe. I’m waiting to see if there’s a blog post lingering here today. If there’s something that wants and needs to come forward, land and take flight on the page before me.

– Neil


  1. Response

    The little vertigo of my darks and lights
    collide of scope pierced and impregnable
    none of it seems to matter
    accepting the vast all around:
    Or is that yet another fractal
    And yet isn’t that what I have always pleaded?
    “More, more….”

    Tell me: Do I have to name a real object, a real setting, a real sun sum so flat
    in order for anyone to feel

    • What a wonderful question to contemplate at the end of a blog post, Rose. "Do I have to name a real object… / in order for anyone to feel / this". I suspect this one may linger for a while.


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