Sheena Yap Chan is creating a valuable resource for women everywhere, with her podcast The Tao of Self-Confidence.She recently interviewed me, and I hadn’t thought about the topic of confidence for quite some time. It had never occurred to me that I lacked self-confidence, because I had always been a high achiever. But in the interview, I realize that my source of confidence has shifted from outer accomplishments to an invisible inner source.
One way to define love is “sustained, compassionate attention”. These words came from John Muir Laws, a naturalist, educator, and artist who inspires stewardship of the land by sharing his practice of nature sketching. When I read these words, I began to see the importance of my own art practice in developing sustained, compassionate attention for myself.
Fear has been up for me lately. I’m stepping into new unknowns and therefore a new level of courage is required. And in order to function, I’ve woken up to a new way of greeting fear. Instead of trying to beat it down, or conquer it, which both contain the quality of resistance, I practiced this: “It’s OK, fear. Come on in. You are welcome here. Sit down at my table.”
THE PREMISE:When we let go of judgment, everything is possible. Experience a whole new way of writing, which combines meditative flow, nonjudgmental presence, and the opportunity for greater self-understanding. Combined with compassionate witnessing without expectation of praise or criticism, this experience awakens your creativity and expands the possibilities for your life and your writing. Develop and nurture a new habit of daily writing that will set you free, whether you are a seasoned or beginning writer. This individualized, one-on-one mentoring program is not about the craft or product of writing, but about discovering what flows through you onto the page when you are free of concepts about what writing has to be.
- Begin to experience moving beyond rules and agendas; creating in spite of doubts, worries, and concerns
- Sharing work that is not “perfect”; practicing trust in what flows from your own hand
- Experiencing the safety of knowing there is no grading, no critiquing, no editing, no comparing; only witnessing without judgment
- Exploring a new process for initiating creative flow
- Exploring what happens when your pen begins to move and you have a non-critical, supportive audience
- Decide on a time of day that you can consistently set aside for your writing (e.g., first thing in the morning, last thing before bed, lunchtime...whatever works)
- Have a separate notebook or a folder in your computer for this writing only
- Set a timer for 10 minutes
- When the timer starts, your hand begins to move across the page (or type, if you're using a keyboard). You don't stop, you don't edit, you don't reread what you wrote. You "lose control" for those 10 minutes.
- When the timer stops, your writing stops.
- If your flow is strong, you can continue on a different page for as long as you want. But for the PRACTICE, it is important to have a container for your 10 minutes of writing, and to acknowledge yourself for doing that 10 minutes each day that you do it.
- Do not read your writing immediately. At this point, you send it to me. I will read everything you send, but I will respond in writing only once a week.
- The nature of my responses will be sharing my experience as a human being receiving your stories, images, and process. I will let you know what I am curious about, and what I want to hear more of. My responses will NOT be edits, critiques on how you might improve, or suggestions for how to publish your work.
- In our phone conversations, we will discuss your process, what you are discovering, and anything else that comes up.
THE MAGIC:Ah, there's that. The magic comes from both of us being fully present in this commitment together. When I read something you've written, it may inspire something in me that I want to share - a story, a quote, something I've experienced and learned from. I am free to share that with you during this process, at the right time for you. And this timing makes all the difference in the world, I believe. You can read stacks and stacks of books, go through programs filled with great wisdom, and attend workshops and retreats from the best teachers, but knowing when to apply the right lesson for you is the art of it all. This process facilitates the art of being present, and all the creative flow that comes from that presence. And that applies to both of us.
- A daily, 10-minute writing practice for 30 days
- Weekly written responses from me (never an auto responder, always individualized)
- One-on-one mentoring and individualized feedback:
- One 20-minute phone check-in after the first week
- One 50-minute phone conversation during week three or four of the process
This program is for you if:
- you’ve always secretly wanted to write, but never set aside the time because it didn’t seem “practical” or possible…
- you’re a regular journal writer and writing is your mode of processing, but you never considered sharing your stream of consciousness with another person…
- you write for a living, but have little time or space to write without any agenda. It’s time for a creative boost or to explore a new direction with your writing…
- you don’t consider yourself a “writer” but this sounds like an exciting and safe way to dip your toe in the water with a compassionate witness…
- you’re going through a life transition, experiencing lots of different emotions that are hard to put into words right now, and would like to achieve some clarity…
- you’ve just made a big life decision and it feels slightly scary. Some support right now would be welcome as you navigate uncharted territory…
THE TIMING - 2014:
Writing Day #1 - October 15, 2014
Writing Day #30 - November 13, 2014
Individual phone check-in (20 minutes) #1 - Week of October 20, 2014
Individual phone coaching session (50 minutes) - Week of November 3 or 10, 2014
*Note: Additional 30-day programs to be offered in 2015:
February 2 - March 3, 2015
April 1 - 30, 2015
...and stay tuned for others!