Running and Writing.
I suffer an identity crisis every time I read this piece. It is the opening of my first book and people who have read it come and tell me how meaningful the analogy is to them - and that always follows with the dreaded question - "So how's the running going?"
The truth is, I don't run anymore. So then I'm compelled to tell the story of how I blew out my hip on a run when I tripped over the dog and now hot yoga is my jam. I even published a Digital IS resource about this identity crisis.
It occurs to me now, five years into yoga and nine years after the book was published that there is an analogy to be found in yoga and writing AND in making and writing. It's all in the idea of practice. Yoga is a practice. There is no race or competition to train for. You simply show up each day and practice your craft. You listen carefully to your body.
Writing and Making - composing if you will - is a lot like that. You show up each day and your practice your craft. You listen to what your soul is telling you to create. You speak the words that are there - composing carefully.
Sometimes you fly in your yoga practice, nailing each pose with a strong flexible body. Somedays you are stiff and wobbly and your side crow crashes into a face plant. On those days you have to revise your practice, to reiterate it. You have to listen closely to your body and let it tell you what it is capable of this day. You have to weed out the distractions that are making you wobbly, you have to find your drishti. But most of all, you continue to practice in the way your body will allow that day.
Sometimes your words or make fly together, speaking out to the world about ideas of importance. Carefully crafted statements of social justice fly onto the page or into the make. Somedays, nothing works. The glue isn't right, the pieces fall apart, the words won't come. On those days you have to focus on revision and reiteration. You have to listen closely to what your soul is telling you and get one word down, one piece put together. You have to try it out and see if it works and if it doesn't, you have to try again. You have to silence the distracting voices that tell you that you have nothing to say. But most of all, you continue to practice your craft in the way that your mind will allow that day.
The biggest lesson for me as I've grown from the running analogy to the yoga analogy is a spirit of playfulness. When I read that running piece I am struck by the hard work, the slogging through pain. Yoga is playful and so should writing and making be. It's a choice, approaching with this spirit of play. Making a mess and seeing what will happen is the heart and soul of writing and making. And that sense of play is far more encouraging to me as a writer and a maker than the drudgery of trying to craft perfect words or compel myself up a monster hill.