Ah, it’s Friday. That was a loooooong week. Winter has come back to us though our bones and muscles may have something to say about it. I’m glad the deep cold has come. It’s Winter – that’s what’s supposed to happen. With the deep cold comes deep snuggling, deep darkness, deep contemplation.
I’m in my office at Gertrude’s Writing Room and the office door is closed. I’m alone in the space, but I’ve still closed the door. There’s something that shifts in the space when the door is closed. The invitation for anything to ‘come in’ is paused. It’s weird how a door – a literal door – can conjure such deep thoughts in me. Maybe it’s not weird. Maybe it’s the perfect metaphor-turned-back-to-literal-thing that I need right now.
How often do you close your door? I mean, the literal doors? Do you have a room that is all for you with a door that you can open or close to it? Do you live or work in an open concept space and find yourself yearning for something…something that’s missing? Like doors? For years, my home office was part of our open-concept basement. I didn’t have the possibility of closing a door to the space. So many times I found myself trying to hang curtains or block the space with a shelf or a piece of furniture – something in me needed to be enclosed.
I’m feeling that now. Today. In this special space of my dreams. I needed to close the door. As soon as I did…I felt an intense release in my body. My exhalation deepened. I sat crossed-legged on the floor in front of a wall of books on shelves and I felt so joyful I nearly cried. This space. These books. All the inspiration and possibilities. Enclosed around me like arms of love. I sat and looked. Stared a titles. Caressed book spines. Books called to me and I pulled them off the shelves. I opened to random pages that weren’t random at all. The magic was palpable. I found information on the brain and meditation – research for book two in the Hangman series I’m writing. I found quotes on love for the upcoming love poetry class. I found quotes on inspiration. I found Natalie Goldberg…and one of her books that’s been on my shelves for years but that I’ve never read. It’s time to read it.
It’s okay to close the door.
It’s okay to let the quiet in.
It’s okay to be in control of who enters and why.
It’s okay to sit on a floor and stare at the things you love. To hold them to your heart. To listen to their messages.
It’s okay to close the door.
There was a time I lived in a house with no doors on any of the rooms. Not even the bathroom. It didn’t feel okay. Sometimes, we need to be able to have the choice of opening or closing a door. Privacy is important. Privacy can teach us. Sometimes, we just need to sit in a space and not do anything but take it in. Why not do that at work? Or in the moments before dinner and the bustle of post-work family time? Why not close a door?
It does feel pretty darn amazing when you’re ready to open the door. When you choose it. When you want it. It does feel pretty darn amazing to hear a knock and choose to let someone in. Or not.
It’s okay to close the door.
Thing is…it’s not closed forever. Just long enough for you to find whatever it is you need or want within your enclosed space.
Today’s word: youthquake (noun)
A noticeable shift in the norms of a society due to the influence of a powerful youth culture.
I do not brace for the impact of today’s youthquake, rather open my body and mind to the disruptions this powerful rattling can create.
Yesterday, I drove to London to see/hear one of my favourite writers (and dear friends!) Jane Christmas speak at the Canadian Women’s League. The talk was at Centennial Hall in the heart of downtown London – and the place was packed. Hundreds of people gathered to hear Jane speak. I was one of them, and sat nearly front row to take in her powerful words.
Jane spoke about her experiences walking the Camino de Santiago – pilgrimage walking routes through Spain (and some parts of other adjoining countries). She has done (completed) two of these routes. She wrote a memoir about her first journey, entitled ‘What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim‘, and she talked about what it was like walking over 800 km with a group of very different women.
Though her speech was cushioned with comedy, much of what Jane spoke about revealed her deep courage and passion for walking away from the ‘norm’ – work, family, relationships. And not in any way that is at all ‘giving up’ but rather a conscious, courageous, seemingly fearless (though she never admitted to not being scared!) swatting away of ways of being that she knows she needs to break from in order to grow. In order to answer the wanderlust soul within her.
I met Jane when I was nineteen years old. I was writing for the University of Windsor student newspaper, The Lance, and her first book, The Pelee Project, slid across my desk. I devoured it like a chocolate bar, and when I contacted her about an interview – she said yes! I was super nervous! She was my first ‘real-writer’ interview! I wanted to impress her with my questions, listen hard to her answers, and write a great article about her and her new book. We met in a hotel lobby then went to her room to do the interview. There was an immediate connection made. It was like I looking into the eyes of a future version of myself. I don’t remember exactly what we talked about but I remember her vibrant smile, bright eyes and a confident, no-nonsense energy that made me feel inspired.
That was over twenty years ago! Since then, we’ve stayed connected over emails – writing long, twice or thrice yearly letters that will be the stuff people study when we’re both dead (they’re just that amazing!). We’ve since each had books published, gone on trips, shifted with family and friends…and we’ve always stayed closely connected. At one point, though, Jane moved across the big waters and moved to England, so when I heard she was coming to London, Ontario, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to see and hear her…and get in a hug and a selfie!
It was a real gift to be able to receive her words, hear her voice and take in her powerful energy. Thanks Jane! ( Do be sure to buy her books, okay?! Links are provided!)
I will keep Natalie Goldberg’s book ‘The True Secret of Writing – Connecting Life with Language’ in arms reach. It’s calling me and I want to be able to read and learn. If you haven’t heard of Natalie Goldberg yet – here’s a link to her site (and insights!). She’s a goddess I cannot wait to meet (2020 – it’s gonna happen!).