Try-This Tuesday: Write By Erasing

Last week, we created a haiku with a blank page and the nudge to write about a season.  This week, we will create a poem from a page already filled with words.  The idea is to erase (or black out) words so that what’s left over creates a new poem.  Grab your permanent marker and let’s get started!

You can start with a newspaper article, a magazine article, the page of a novel, or even an advertisement flyer.  I find it easier to start with many words so I chose a poem printed in Geist magazine (vol. 17, no. 71, Winter 2008).  The original poem is entitled Telling the Truth and is written by Harold Rhenisch.  Here’s his poem before I blacked out the words.  (You can see I used a pencil to underline key words and phrases that seemed to flow into a new poem.  Or maybe you can’t see it…the resolution is not so good.  Just trust me on that one.)

I didn’t follow any rules; I think creativity flows better without them.  The magazine in which I found this poem actually hosts an annual Erasure Poetry Contest.  If you like this kind of thing, you should consider sending in something.  I’ve been sending out my work a lot in 2012 to various magazines and anthologies; some have been accepted for print, others have not.  The main thing is, I’m writing…a lot.  And that’s what I want to do.  Some very wise writer friends have told me, “You’ll never get published…until you submit.”  Very true in many ways.

So, back on track here with the poem.  Here is what I ended up creating:

And here it is typed out with a new title, Search:

Search

When someone asks you for God,

Give them a sign.

They accept the Truth.

Tell them how it’s all true – those plans.

You have been back and deserve

no less than fine.

Mention my place – those actions

say what you know.

I stand, whispering in your ear,

you know yourself at last,

that Truth.

Give it a try even if you think poetry is not your thing.  Maybe you’re an aspiring photographer or love landscape design.  This type of activity gives your creative right brain a little stretch; it helps you see what’s hidden in a moment or growing amongst something else.  If you give it a try, tell us about your experience here – we’d love to hear it.

If you’d like to inspire others with this post, please pass it on with some social media love.  If you don’t see the buttons below, click on the title of this post and they will magically appear at the bottom.

Try-This Tuesday: Paint With Words In Haiku

Do you remember writing haiku in elementary school?  I’ve always been drawn to haiku.  I love the shortness and the sweetness of them – the way they tell you so much in such little space.  They’re unobtrusive on a page and yet they have a way of sinking into every pore of my being.

3 lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables, respectively.  Sounds so easy, doesn’t it?  Have you tried it again since grade 6?  I just looked it up here so that I could give you some structure and background for this task…and wow, it’s kind of complicated.  So, let’s keep it simple!

Let’s go back to elementary school with all the wisdom we have gained since then.  Let’s lay down our observations of Spring (or any season of your choice) in 3 lines.  The first line will be 5 syllables, the second 7 syllables and the last line 5 syllables.  Try not to use the actual season word and instead paint it for your readers to see.

Cherry blossoms dance

Tufts of pink and white cotton

Soft against the blue

                                                                                                      ~Taslim Jaffer

Please feel free to share your creations in the comments below!  If you’d like to share this post and keep the creativity flowing, please click on the title of this post and scroll down to find the social media buttons.  You never know who you might inspire today!

Try-This Tuesday: What Do You Need?

All my life I kept shut about a million things that were important to me.  I hid behind fear, anxiety, shame.  This completely goes against my nature because if there’s one thing we INFJs are, it’s passionate about what we believe in.

All my life I struggled to use my voice.  Recently, I figured out why.  I never had a microphone!  🙂  No, seriously!  I can’t believe how much I love the microphone and the stage and being able to share my convictions with an audience.  Or even just to be able to share myself.

You would think an introvert would resist the spotlight and to an extent that’s true.  It’s not the spotlight that I crave, it’s the attention to my message that motivates me to say ‘yes’ to opportunities of sharing in front of an audience.

After I say ‘yes’, I get the full-meal anxiety deal going on.  I may not sleep the night before, or the night after.  Every pore in my body sweats.  Prior to my presentation, I have to gulp down water so that my throat remains moist (and then pray for a bathroom at an opportune time).  I get hot and cold at the same time.  I’m just not comfortable.  But I’m happy. 

I’m so happy I could weep.

What about you?  What is it that you need to do what you so desperately want to do?  Is there one thing?  Or ten?  Have you made a list yet?  That’s what today’s task is.

Get out a piece of paper or your journal.  You can start with something like In order to __________, I need __________.  Or use a variation of that.

If you’re having trouble with either of the blanks, sit in quiet for a few minutes after you’ve asked your question:  What do I need to do?  What do I need to do it?  Ask them one at a time.  When you get the answer to the first, ask the second question.

If you would like to run anything by me – troubles or blissful moments with this task, or any of the others – please contact me.  I’d love to hear from you!

Try-This Tuesday: What’s The Point??

In today’s task, I ask you to look at what you have learned about yourself in the past 12 months.  This is inspired by the work I am doing for my chapter in Heartmind Wisdom.  Major digging for and uncovering golden nuggets!

Think about what you have encountered on your path – major events or seemingly inconsequential happenings – and ask yourself what the lesson was.  What did you learn?  And did it add to your collection of self-knowledge?

Did you learn a little more about what you are capable of?  Did it tell you what you are not willing to put up with?

It is so important to spend time in self-reflection; without taking the time to examine the wisdom you have gained, you are likely not going to be able to use that wisdom or spread it and share it on the rest of your journey.

Author Farhana Dhalla of Thank You for Leaving Me shares her thoughts on this.  She says, “Time makes everything eventually laughable and self-reflection makes everything eventually wisdom.”

You know when you ask yourself, “What’s the point?”  Take a minute and listen for the answer.

Try-This Tuesday: Flex That Right Brain And Channel Some Wisdom

I love coaching.  I coach via telephone and sometimes I think I should videotape myself on a call just for my own entertainment.  When I get excited, my free hand starts flailing, I’m perched on the edge of my seat, I’m nodding like crazy.  Yesterday I even gave a little jump in my chair at an a-ha moment.  I’m not normally so animated when I talk about other things; when the topic is channeling inner wisdom through journalling, however, I couldn’t hold myself back if I tried.  And why try?  It’s too fun!

I’d like to continue that fun today by asking you to do something.  Grab a piece of paper or your journal (are you still keeping a task binder?).  At the same time, grab 15 minutes of uninterrupted time and a quiet, comfortable spot to plant yourself.  Sit down with an intention to ask a question and receive an answer.  In 15 minutes, you ask?  It’s a start.

I might say the following in my head, or I might write it down:  “Ok, I really want some help with this question.”  Try that.  It’s an important first step to doing anything, really –  set the intention.    Then, write your question down.  Which question?  The first one that pops into your head or the one that kept you up last night.  After you write your question, don’t stop.  Keep writing.  Explain the situation as you would to a friend.  Go in to as much detail as you can and keep writing.  Write fast.  Don’t think about grammar, punctuation, spelling or word choice.  Dump your brain on to the paper.  If you can write beyond the 15 minutes, go ahead.  If you  have to stop, then do so.

When you are done writing, leave it alone for a couple days.  Pay attention to your thoughts in the interim.  You know when you are most likely going to receive some insight to your question?  While you’re driving, cooking, in the shower or otherwise physically busy.  That’s because your left brain is occupied in the logical sequence of events allowing your right brain (the creative, intuitive brain) to let loose and do its thing.

By the end of the week, go back to your written question and thoughts.  Re-read it.  Does anything jump out at you?  You’ll know what I mean when you re-read it.  If not, sit down again, turn the page over and write.  You can re-write the question and continue on or you can write about how you feel about what you wrote last time or even your response to this whole exercise.  Just write.

You know how I said your creative, intuitive right brain is able to flex its muscles when your left brain is busy doing something physical?  So it is with writing, especially writing fast when you’re not analyzing or planning what you’re writing.

Have you tried this before?  Do you have any tricks or tips you’d like to share with the rest of us?  If so, please leave a comment.  If you’re trying this for the first time, really enjoy it.  For some of us, it’s rare to be this loose and spontaneous in any activity and there is definitely something to be said for it.

 

Re-Run: Try-This Tuesday: A Look At Your Ultimate Ending

It’s always good to be reminded of this once in awhile.  If you did this task the first time it was posted (September 2011), try it again and see if anything has changed since then.

*****

A couple of weeks ago, I asked you a question:  How Do YOU Say Goodbye?  This is an important question for you to consider because in every change or transition we undergo (and there are countless in our lifetime), the first step is an ending.  Something has to end in order for something to begin.  Grieving an ending, taking the time to really understand the loss of something, can make a huge difference in the way we embrace a beginning.

It has been said that every ending is akin to the death of something:  a relationship, an era, a paradigm, to name a few.

So today, let’s look at the ultimate ending in any life time.  The death of a physical body.

Yours.

Oooohhhh, I know some of you are tempted to click the heck right out of this post.  Not comfortable with endings?  Or just this one in particular?  You’re not alone.  Consider yourself lucky that you can examine this ending right now and remember that analyzing the ending of something always allows you to benefit from a more conscious beginning of something else.

It might help to take a teeny tiny step outside of yourself for this one.  Let’s imagine that you are actually NOT you, that you are a close friend of yours – someone who knows you quite well.  This friend has the duty of writing your obituary.

Look at your life and write an obituary as if your life ended today.  You can include all the typical details of your family, birth place etc.  But the meat of it, the revealing part of this, is going to be how you fill in the following blank:

At the time of death, he/she was________.

How are you going to complete that thought?  She was…stuck in a dead-end job?  He was…living his dream life?

 

If you are totally uncomfortable writing this down, no worries.  You will benefit from this exercise just by thinking about it.  By the way, this exercise comes from William Bridges’ book Transitions but I’m sure we have all heard some variation of this.  You know, like if today was the last day of your life, would you feel satisfied with your accomplishments/where you are to date – that kind of thing.

As you turn this around in your head, answer the following questions (in your journal, if you can – I’ll log them in Writing Prompts for you to refer to):

  • Was it easy to fill in the blank?
  • How did your response to the incomplete statement make you feel?
  • If your response was not positive, what would you have LIKED to be able to say about your life at this point?
  • What are some steps you can take to achieving this fulfilling state?
  • Has this exercised changed something for you?  Your outlook on your current life?  Your relationships?  The way you spend your time?  Your thoughts?

Try-This Tuesday: Go Sight-Seeing!

This is just a friendly reminder to break out of your routines; we are all gently being awakened from our winter’s state and this is a great time for all kinds of shifts and stretches.  This week, why not plan an outing (solo or with others) that will stimulate you a bit.  It could be a trip to the museum, art gallery, park, cafe…whatever tickles your fancy.  But push yourself a bit to do something that you might not normally think of doing.

Maybe even get there in a different way.  Like, if you would normally drive, try taking public transportation.  Doing something different makes you more aware of your surroundings.  It awakens the senses and that little creative creature that lives in you.

It doesn’t have to cost you a dime.  If you’re so inclined, take a notebook and pay attention to words you hear, actions you see, animals you meet.  When it strikes you, write something.

One day last summer, my cousin asked me to pay attention to the animals and insects that I came across on my next walk.  (It was a lesson in animal spirit guides; she’s always teaching me neat things.)  I did.  I was practically tripping on my own feet because I was suddenly bombarded with scurrying ants, busy beetles, flighty butterflies and hungry bees.  Where did they all come from?  I came home from the walk and wrote descriptions of these critters and realized I could write a lot about a little ant.  My imagination was being stretched.

That’s what I’m hoping this task does for you.  Stretch your imagination.  Notice something new in something old.  Pay attention to life as it scurries by.

Happy Tuesday!

Try-This Tuesday: Write A Poem…About A Poem

Welcome to this week’s Tuesday task.  For those of you who have just joined us, it’s so lovely to have you!  Tuesdays are special days in the Let ME Out!! world.  I get to share with you a task/activity designed to get you opening up to your creativity – by remembering it and releasing it.  With the new website design it’s really easy to see what the latest task is (look over to the right) and if you hit the tab in the navigation bar above, you will be taken to an entire page of Tuesday tasks!  So, if you’ve tackled today’s and want to try another, you can look at what’s been assigned before.  Or if today’s doesn’t resonate, head over to the older ones and do or re-do another one.

The best part is – you’re not being graded and no one’s going to know whether you did them or not!  They are entirely yours.

Enjoy them. 

Today’s task was inspired by the mystical poet, Rumi.  Oh goodness, I could just read Rumi all day.  And Hafiz.  Pure lift-me-up, throw-Spirit-in-my-face kind of poetry.  If you’re on board the Rumi and Hafiz train, you should check out my friend Saira‘s book, Imprints on My Soul.

One rainy morning last week, I was searching for the perfect Rumi quote to suit my mood.  And there it was, God bless the internet.

You wander from room to room
Hunting for the diamond necklace
That is already around your neck!

Jalal-Uddin Rumi

YES!  This was totally what I needed to hear.  An hour later while going about the rest of my morning routine still with Rumi on my brain, I started to formulate a poem in my head in response to this idea of the diamond necklace.  It was so fun to interact with a poem like that!

I’d like YOU to try it!  If you already have a poem in mind, use it.  Write something in response.  Remember, no one’s going to read it.  You don’t need to worry about line length, stanzas, metre and all those other technical parts.  I always thought I couldn’t call myself a poet until I knew about those things.  I decided not to think that way anymore, and now I call myself a poet…because I write poems.  In my world, that’s the only prerequisite!

Write it as a letter to the poet, or take an idea from the poem and write your view on it…go with it in whichever way comes easiest.  If you’re stuck on finding a poem, you can always google in key words like “love poems” or “poetry about nature” – whatever you want.  I’ll paste one below as well.  This was the first poem I ever memorized and ever really understood (that didn’t begin with Roses are red, Violets are blue).

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Robert Frost

Have fun with it – let it open you up to the magic of your own words.  Let it remind you that you have something to say.  If you feel inclined to draw a picture in response, or paint, or write a journal entry, or anything else, go with that.

 

 

Try-This Tuesday: “Go To The Wilderness”

Don’t worry – sleeping on rocks in your sleeping bag not required!  Unless you like that kind of thing, then go for it!

Today’s task was inspired by The Power of Introverts – Susan Cain’s Ted talks youtube video that’s floating around on Facebook right now.  Every introvert in the world (1/3 to 1/2 of us) is sharing it feverishly right now in an attempt to be understood and maybe even prized in a world that places emphasis on the personality traits of extraverts.

Here’s my spiel before I turn the spotlight on you. (Are you cringing at the world spotlight?  You might be an introvert.)

A few months back I took the Myer Briggs personality test and the 4 letter acronym box that I fit in is INFJ.  A few minutes ago I took the Jung Typology Test which gives you a type formula according to Carl Jung and Isabel Briggs Myers and I got…INFJ.  (Read it if you ever wondered why on Earth I am the way I am, or why I do the things I do.)

Here’s a word of caution, though.  Don’t limit yourself to the box that this or any other personality test puts you in.  For example, my personality type is not very detail-oriented.  And if you know me, you know this is true.  I’d rather live in my head and think and talk about grandiose ideas than worry about the details.  I actually like being this way – it’s so much more fun and in my own mind, quite productive.  But, I could very well be good at keeping on top of details even if I’m not inclined to do so naturally.  What I’m saying is, I shouldn’t hide behind the “well, that’s too detail-oriented for me” veil and not try something that I could very well be good at.  So, please don’t do that.

That’s just my two bits about that.

Back to this awesome Ted Talks video where Susan Cain talks about us quirky, nose-in-our-books introverts.  If you have 20 minutes, go ahead and listen to her talk in detail about how our world (and by this, she means mostly the Western world) values the social, group-oriented nature of the extravert.  From classrooms to offices – group seating, open floor plans, and assignments are geared this way.

But here’s what’s important about taking some time to be introverted – whether you are predominantly introverted or predominantly extraverted (and of course, there is gray area here – nobody is extremely one or the other).  Great ideas are born from a place of stillness and connection to one’s Self.  Where have you heard that before?  This resonated with me like a bell in a church tower – loud and clear!  My place of stillness was forced upon me when I had my first child and became ball and chained to the armchair in her room, as I used to think of it.  I was annoyed that I couldn’t be “productive” and that I was forced to do “nothing.”  Well, that place of nothing gave birth to my most creative ideas.  When I had memorized every square inch of my little girl’s nursery from the view of her armchair, my mind had nowhere else to go but inward.  This was a place I always liked to go.  Even as a child, I ignored the calls of the other children to come play…preferring instead to play in solitude or with the characters in my book.  But you know when you feel forced to do something that you can’t actually see it for what it is?  That’s what was happening here.  When I finally allowed it to just happen, it was the best thing that could have been “forced upon me” at that time.

Even now, with my son who just turned 2, I will stay in his room after he goes to sleep, in the dark, sitting on his armchair and I will get ideas and have a-ha moments that fill me with bliss.  Did you know that most of my Tuesday tasks come to me on  Monday night while sitting in the dark?  Most of my blog posts come to me this way.  Susan Cain calls this retreating into one’s being, going “to the wilderness” which she points out is exactly what the world’s leading thinkers have done since the beginning of time (think: Buddha, Mohamed, Moses, Jesus).  There was always a cave or a forest involved, was there not?  More importantly, there was always solitude.

Today’s task, therefore, is to go to the wilderness i.e. sit in silence and solitude.  Do it for 10 minutes.  Maybe imagine you are in the actual wilderness.  Or maybe imagine nothing.  That’s it!  It’s so “simple”!  And yet, some of our most modern technology was born from computer geniuses sitting in silence!  And some of our most amazing wisdom was bestowed upon quiet and open minds.

I’d love to hear your responses to this task or Susan Cain’s video.  Happy Tuesday!

Try-This Tuesday: Write Your Best You

Make your future dream a present act by assuming the feeling of the wish fulfilled.
Neville Goddard 1905 – 1972

What do you think about that?

Read it a few times and let it sink into your bones and make a cozy little home there.  You can write it out in your journal or hang it on your wall like Dr. Wayne Dyer has.  What does this statement mean to you?  What exactly is it asking you to do and why?

To me, this is the Universal Law of Attraction in a nutshell.  People have claimed that they can manifest anything in their lives if they meditate on it, speak daily affirmations, or visualize themselves in that place or situation that they desire.  Because I like to write, I am more inclined to fill my journal pages with what I grew up calling “my imaginations.”  I would writes pages in my journal from the point of view as someone already “there” where I wanted to be.  In my early college years, I wrote a few entries from the point of view of a successful business woman, living near the water with a healthy social life and a lot of time to read my books!

I would look up after finishing writing my journal entry and be slightly disoriented, and have to bring myself back to my reality.  That’s how powerful writing is for me.  Something will do the same for you – it could be writing or it could be something else.  (If you want some help figuring it out, drop me a line and we can chat about this!)

For today’s task, I will be asking you to write but if you want to take this in another direction, go for it!  Today I want you to write a bio of yourself – just a short paragraph or two – as if you are living the life that fits you the most.  I want you to write it as thought it were true now (so instead of saying Susie wants to be an expert in car mechanics, please say Susie is an expert in car mechanics).  And when you are done, I want you to feel like this fits you like a hand in glove.

Your bio doesn’t need to be strictly professional – it should describe you in your entirety.  If you love baking but don’t want to actually own a bakery or sell your products, you can still say in your bio Susie is famous in her neighbourhood for her apple pie; the smell of her pies cooling at her window draws friends and neighbours in for a cup of tea on any day of the week. 

It’s not about the grammar or anything like that.  Nobody’s going to read this but you (unless you want to share it, of course!)  So, just have fun with it.  The sky’s the limit so don’t think about what’s practical or logical.

Keep your bio and look at it from time to time.  I am certain that ideas will start trickling in, people will start showing up in your life, opportunities will start presenting themselves (say yes when they do, please!).  Your bio will be the proof you need that it all starts with a seed.  Your bio will keep your eyes open to all the synchronicity that you will be experiencing.

Have you tried something similar before?  What have your experiences been?  I’d love to hear from you in a comment below or you can contact me confidentially by email.

Have a great Tuesday!