I just returned from a weekend writing workshop. We shared dinners and wine and stories of how we continue the process of bringing our words to the page. It struck me that the conversation was not unlike the ones I have had during yoga teacher training weekends or after meditation workshops. There exists a mindfulness and inner work that accompanies writers that echoes what I invite my yoga/meditation students to experience.

Writing is most often a solo endeavor. We find our space and fill it with things that are unlikely to distract but rather focus. A perfectly chosen journal and a pen or pencil which encourages the handwriting we associate with our writer self. Those thick black lines that are just dancing on the edge of smearing pull out the words like a slowly dragging crab net bringing in the catch. Or perhaps we develop a practice which involves a computer with the perfect clicking pace of keys and an app or two to silence our tendency to look too long on Google for that one detail required before moving forward with our writing cadence. Some of us gather totems and tokens, letters from our teachers and photos of moments which just might spark an exquisite memory. Or a fellow writer’s book to remind of us not only inspiring words but the competition that keeps us running to write.

Then we breathe and we listen. The words start bubbling like one of the geothermal pools at Yellowstone: sometimes fetid and discolored but impactful and important no less. We listen for the memories and the stories. We listen for our voice. We struggle to lasso the important parts and let the chatter go. The movement of words and thoughts and emotion begin to match our breath in a dance that we did not know we could choreograph but do.

When we meditate our place and words are our sangha. Our meditation cushion or chair invite in stillness. Many of us bring crystals, statues and/or mala beads to aid in our contemplative practice. We become still and allow the flow of words to come and more importantly go with the ease of our breath. The thoughts arise like a rock in a puddle and dissipate in an equally rhythmic fashion. We release the struggle to quiet our minds and open up to what we hear.

Allowing the words to come whether on the page or in the mind becomes easier when we employ presence. Seeing our writing as meditation, or meditation as a window to our words gives us an opportunity to grow in both practices.

Image courtesy of Pexels.

Originally published at medium.com