In eight days time it will be 26 December, Boxing Day . By then, Christmas Day (and its more breath-taking evening prelude) may be a warm, or full, or empty, or painful, memory.
Yet here today in the present moment I am still racing, like a galloping horse on a carousel, because – in the words of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, I have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done …“.
My friend-in-Germany writes movingly about the mismatch between intention and action in ‘Behind my Open Doors‘. I laughed and cried in recognition when I read it.
In 2015, when I began the set of writing session guides that
I intend, I aspire to offer (watch this space) I did find myself giving one of them this title:
setting the timetable
and, unlidding the old toy-box where my Thoughtbooks live, in splendid and diverse dilapidation, I have retrieved a bright yellow book saying just that.
And opening that acid yellow book this morning I find my own response, dated 10 April 2016, to setting myself these very exercises – as an acid (yellow) test of the power of free-flow writing.
In my forties I found support for this from Julia Cameron’s 1992 book ‘The Artist’s Way’, recommended by an astute friend (a science academic who is also an accomplished artist, photographer and scuptor). She recognised my unmet need to liberate my inner song and dance.
So, in the spirit of Christmas Present, as well in the acknowledged presence of Christmas Past, I invite you:
to allow yourself A Moment out of Time (whether that’s three minutes or twenty-three) ;
to settle down in a comfortable place –
with a fresh page in your own preferred notebook, journal or Thought-Book, and a favourite pen, pencil or sharp crayon;
and to complete, in your own words, the following phrases – as many or as few as you have time for:
“if I had the time I’d …”
“If I had the time I’d …”
“if I had the time I’d …”
(3-6 times, without hesitation nor editing, and with as much repetition and deviation as you wish)
“I never seem to have the time for …” (3 times, ditto)
“I’d like to make time to …” (However many times – I did 6, and could’ve kept on)
“There really isn’t the time to …”
“I know that I need the time to …
“I know that …”
“If time ran out …”
Now, sit back, take a deep breath, thank yourself for “showing up at the page”, and either
read gently through what you have written (with as much kindness towards your deep writing as you can offer), or
put it aside in a safe and special place to come back to later.
There is already so much wisdom within, and it is for you.