I opened the big box and in it were all my notebooks, large and small, from my writing days. One was filled with the writing dates I used to have with my friend Julie. Years ago, we read Writing Down the Bones, and we started going to cafés and doing these writing exercises. They had to be time, say 10 minutes, and we had to write without stopping so as not to censor our thoughts. We took turns to choose one word, which would be our starting point. We could write anything; it didn't have to conform to the title. The idea was to break through our mental barriers.
This was my first one (unedited and uncensored!!) I've broken it into paragraphs to make the reading easier.
The heart is the centre, although anatomically speaking it is off-centre. Off-centre is what the word desafinado means – a Portuguese word and a Brazilian song. I’ve always felt desafinado, or maybe I should say desafinada since I am a woman, off-centre and out of kilter with the world around me. So I look to individuals; if I feel comfortable with them, I don’t feel such an outsider, someone on the margins. This was what kept me from living my life fully for so long. I thought being an outsider meant I didn’t have a role in this world, in this life, and so I drifted. I know now that I do have a life, it’s mine to live and enjoy, my heart beats, in fact I have a heart, a centre, and that centre tells me I am valid, worthy, because I’m here, aren’t I? I’m here for a reason.
Of course my early conditioning made me different, marginal, and I still struggle against that conditioning encapsulated in an emotion called fear – fear of being left behind, fear of not being wanted. But it’s just a shard of energy that I can run off. Still, it is a shard and it pierces me before I can catch it in time and throw it out.
I have felt heart-broken to the point of asphyxiation; I’ve felt my heart is huge, I’ve felt I have enough love in it for a hundred people, and I’ve also felt so empty that I’ve forgotten I have a heart, just an empty rib cage.
The heart of the matter: going straight to the point, cutting through the garbage and going directly to the centre. I love the idea of that, but it’s the hardest thing to do. Inhibitions, shame, arrogance, fear all get in the way.
Conditioning. Most of us are conditioned out of our natural state by the time we can walk. I suppose some of it is necessary or the human race would be running wild and there would be chaos. But a lot of it is wrong and deadening. And on and on it goes, generation after generation, making so many layers and barriers around it that it is hard to reach. I have known people who will never be reached; their heart is embedded in cement.