Teaching what I need to Learn

Once upon a time, a man named John Howell introduced me to the idea that people often teach what they need to learn.  That idea struck a satisfying chord inside of me, and it continues to resonate.  It has been true in my life. 

I needed to learn to process my past, so I became a therapist.  I needed to learn to play, so I became a Gymboree teacher.  I needed to learn how to sing with other people, so I became a choir director. I need to learn how to consistently generate songs and stories, so I teach writing.
 
Writing is one of my oldest and deepest loves, but sometimes we are opposing magnets.  I write a sentence and I cross it out.  I write another sentence and I get a snack.  I write a couple more and I have to make a phone call, or check my email or facebook or watch a rerun of Criminal Minds. I am capable of elevating not writing to an art form.  Sometimes I just can’t settle in.
 
Chronic writer’s block, and the commitment to not allowing it to stop me from writing, has taught me some things.  I learned that if I waited for inspiration, I would wait for seventeen years.  I learned that if I tried not to offend anyone, I would not touch anyone. I learned that inspiration rewards me when I show up and do the work.  I learned to allow images to lead me.  I learned to play with words.
 
I enjoy being surprised by the pen in my moving hand.  It is like tapping into dreaming.  I watch the unfolding.  When it is working well, it feels like magic, but the magic comes in the doing.  I can’t think up the magic.  I have to write it.  I have to let go, and play. 
 
What do you need to learn?

2 comments

  • harry

    harry maine

    this brought me to tears. i was somewhat there already after seeing the new Woody Allen movie; but reading the blog hit we hard. where it hurts. self-esteem, guilt, shame. my 3 nemesis. and to boil it down...fear. i was right there with you all the way. the doubt, the fidgeting, the postponing, the procrastination... the honesty helps alot. taking a look in the mirror with whatever leftover strength i can muster sometimes pushes the demon away long enuf to try again. thanks for reminding me that sometimes i just have to suck it up and get back at it. you really know how to write. wish i could take your class in november. the 4th is my ##th birthday

    this brought me to tears. i was somewhat there already after seeing the new Woody Allen movie; but reading the blog hit we hard. where it hurts. self-esteem, guilt, shame. my 3 nemesis. and to boil it down...fear. i was right there with you all the way. the doubt, the fidgeting, the postponing, the procrastination... the honesty helps alot. taking a look in the mirror with whatever leftover strength i can muster sometimes pushes the demon away long enuf to try again. thanks for reminding me that sometimes i just have to suck it up and get back at it. you really know how to write. wish i could take your class in november. the 4th is my ##th birthday

  • Denise

    Denise

    I can see that you are hard on yourself. Remember that we can always start again. I would love to have you in my writing class! I know you have stories to tell. Sounds like I have to go see that movie! It is always good to hear from you.

    I can see that you are hard on yourself. Remember that we can always start again. I would love to have you in my writing class! I know you have stories to tell. Sounds like I have to go see that movie! It is always good to hear from you.

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