I’ve just returned from a five-day workshop entitled “Writing From The Heart,” held by Nancy Slonim Aronie at Kripalu in Lenox, Massachusetts. I had registered for a program in January that was more yoga-based and, afterwards, discovered that Nancy was holding her workshop during the same week. I had taken a weekend writing workshop with her years ago in New York and distinctly remember how she was able to get me to reach into my heart and pull out stories. She does this by creating a safe place for us to open. Through her own narrative, we begin to trust her and ourselves. It’s magic.
Lately, I’ve been feeling odd, like something is amiss. There is a disquiet in me that I can’t shake. My anxiety has been high and this is unusual. I’m the type of person who follows my gut. Or at least, I’d like to think I follow it. Sometimes I just hear it yelling at me to get my attention while I carry on with whatever bad decision I’ve made that usually leads to trouble and regret. But this time, I let it simmer. And I waited. For a sign. Any sign. Then it came. When I was in my doctor’s office crying the blues about the menopause nightmare I’m in, she looked at me and said, “your throat chakra is closed.” Aha! That’s it! That explains the tension in my voice, and how I have to literally force the breath out through my vocal cords to speak. Since this particular chakra governs creativity and communication, I listened. She was spot-on.
When I got home, I called Kripalu and switched workshops. And felt completely sure of my decision. No trouble, no regrets. Although as my departure date drew near, my apprehension grew. Not because of my decision, but because I knew what would be involved in writing. Nancy gives prompts to jump-start the creative process, and for most of us they almost always involve some aspect of our personal experience. Writers, I’ve been told, write about what they know. And what I know is my history. So threads of it came out in most of my pieces. One in particular surprised me because instead of feeling like I was “creating” something, it felt more like I was “channeling” something. The words came through me, not from me. I made it into a video, and you can view it through this link:
It’s been said that memoir writers live twice. For some of us, the first time was bad enough, so why do it again? I’m learning something valuable—that when we are in a safe place, when we have support at home, when we have made our way out the other end of the gauntlet—we can look back, revisit, and not feel like we’re living our lives all over again. We can see it from a new place, and can continue looking ahead with our sights set on that beautiful horizon.