Writing is a beast. I've worked hard to befriend the beast over the years and want to share some life lessons, many of which I've unearthed through meditation and studying mindfulness. Jon Kabat Zinn calls meditation a radical act of sanity. Growing my mindfulness practice has helped me stay sane and present countless times.
I started a meditation practice when I turned 23 and became certified in Transcendental Meditation. Over the past thirty years, meditation has helped me get through anything and everything that life dishes out. I am also certified in Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and I teach meditation to elementary school children.
One podcast that resonates with me is Ten Percent Happier. Dan Harris hosts fascinating guests from all walks of life. In this deep-dive episode, his guest Bonnie Duran explores the connections between the dharma and the indigenous wisdom of her forebears. Bonnie Duran is a professor of social work and public health at the University of Washington. She's also an Indigenous Wellness expert and Buddhist meditation teacher. In the interview, she lays out a simple six-word meditation to get through anything.
Dr. Duran explains how everything we are trying to accumulate, to have, and to be are NOT perfect, permanent, or personal. Part of the reason we suffer is we expect things to be something they can never be. Nothing can ever bring us lasting satisfaction. One of the reasons things aren't totally satisfying is that they are always changing.
I am taking her idea a step further by applying it to "what not to do" in your writing life.
Not Perfect - Perfection is not the goal. Writing can be ugly and visceral. If you dredge the stream for a false ideal of perfection, your writing will get muddy or lost.
Not Permanent - Everything changes. Don't be stagnant. Keep moving. Writing is a process. Try new things. Don't let anything be too precious. Create without worrying about a forever home.
Not Personal - This one may be the hardest for writers. Rejection is real. And it's a functional part of being a working writer. Don't take anything personally.
Listen to Bonnie's wisdom on Ten Percent Happier podcast, Episode 300. "Six Words to Get You Through a Bad Day with Bonnie Duran"