The Bodhissatva Practice and Racial Equity

Recently I attended a workshop on mindfulness, the Bodhissatva practice, and it’s relationship to racial justice, and these were the prompts we were given, and my responses. I hope this gives some insight into my practice, and helps you , in some way, in this time.

Prompt:

What is it to live my bodhisattva practice wholeheartedly as a white person in today’s society?what if everything I do could arise from this intention – doing/responding to what life/alive calls for, moment by moment?imagine this possibility – what might it look like, how might it change things, release energy, bring joy?

Response:

I think it just starts with everyday action. Everything I do, say, or feel I direct toward love and kindness. I make mistakes, I stumble, but this is the goal I have always had. Now that I’m in a position where I can choose what to do, I feel like my Bodhissatva path is in writing. I want to make inclusive worlds for folks to dream in, together, in unison and peace, and with wonder in the world, both imaginary and real. I’ve been working on a novella that tries to bridge differences in this way, in order for me to elaborate futher, I need to write more, probe more deeply, and help realize peace.

Write with conpassion, let yourself dream. Do not be in fear, try to understand the way, in whatever you can. Dream boldly, let go of any concern about audience or economic impact. If you are truly being compassionate, you can write for everyone most strongly, and help to give voices their time, to hopefully change the world for the better.

Prompt:

What is one direction that you could move in? One thing/set of things that you could do to realize your Bodhisattva practice? Be as specific as you can.As you reflect on this action, how does it feel in your body?

Response:

Write. It feels solid.

Prompt:

What resources do you have, inner and outer, that will help you do that?

Response:

Imagination

Prompt:

What resources will you need to acquire?

Response:

Publisher

Prompt:

How might you stop yourself? What obstacles might you put in your way?

Responce:

Satisfaction, not advancement of the goal.

Prompt:

How will you move through or around these obstacles?

Responce:

Peaceful sound and equanimity.

Prompt:

What can you do in the next week, no matter how small the step, that will move you along this path?

Response:

Just write

Music and Writing

I don’t normally listen to music while writing, but in the last few days I’ve really started to understand the ability for music to guide the writing process that has been truly life changing for me. I’ve been listening a lot to the soundtrack to Spider Verse, which is truly incredible. It allowed me to become vulnerable and reach parts of my experiences that wouldn’t have been able to be expressed without listening deeply to the track “Sunflower.” While I believe that music and art are private experiences, this track was so emotional, so beautiful, that it broke me from my classical focus, even just for one day.

Music and language are so intertwined. I have often thought that great painting starts with poetry, and I think it’s also possible that writing can come from music itself. The arts are so intertwined. It’s all communication, and this experience really allowed me to reach deep inside myself, allow myself to accept vulnerability, even within it’s message of hope. I know talking about process can be boring, but wanted to share this track this morning. It’s tough out there, and I hope the new work brings some light into your morning.

I’m curled up with some tea on the couch in the apartment, finally back to work after about a week off. It was so worth it. I’m ready to go back to Ondolor, and I’ll have more to share this week as I work toward the second novella. The first one was about light, I think this one may be about reflections. I’ll share more this week!

Looking back at a month of writing.

A month and a half ago, I was lost. I had so little hope, yet something within me just said very plainly, write. Just write. What I discovered was that the worlds created in my mind while I wrote might have been the only place I could truly go, meet new parts of my mind and body that I hadn’t reached before, and touch points I haven’t felt in years. Writing has absolutely saved me at the beginning of the year, and as I’m wrapping up this intensive period of writing and dreaming I wanted to make note of it in this notebook. 

For me, these stories are not invention. They are thought records of emotional experiences I have as I write. My process may seem simple. I open a blank document and just start writing. Sometimes I will sit for days, daydreaming until I am ready to write things down, but most of the time it’s a journey I make while I am writing on the page. Whatever happens to the characters in Light Fields, Cloud and Camera, and Illsinore’s poem literally passed through every part of my consciousness as I wrote them. I truly hope they resonate. It’s the best gift I can give to my community right now, and I hope it helps you get through to your own imagination and hope through these stories. 

I’m confinded to a couch with a foot injury right now, a lockdown within a lockdown, and times can be so difficult, but I find hope in the imagination, the ability to go to new spaces, meet new people, make new discoveries, engage in the world, a mirror of our own. Imagination is boundless. As a final note about process, a family member asked me what my philosophy for writing these stories is. I thought for a moment, and offered: Light is beautiful, and love conquers all. There is hope in the imagination, and the promise of a new world is always within our reach.

Happy MLK day, and I hope to write more in the future, but for now, taking a break and getting back into study. These stories are just a beginning, one I can’t wait to expand on in the coming years. I hope everyone is having a wonderful morning, and peace to all today. 

Process

I absolutely had to write Light Fields, and I really like the new ending, I’d love to hear what you think about it. I think Light Fields may be the most important thing I’ve done in the last decade. It has so much of me in it. I feel like in a way I’m all of the characters. They’re so clear in my mind. I have vivid recollections of it. This story happened to me, I didn’t just write it. I experienced it as I was writing.

It was a truly magical and transcendental experience. It may be the start to something larger, but I may wait on that for a bit, but I absolutely have to write. It’s the most important thing I do, and what I’ve discovered here: my style, my flow, my process, my philosophies, all of it is a beginning. That’s why the characters at the end are looking at an abstract memory of birth. It’s the birth of the world I’m writing about. I hope the story has multiple layers. It’s not one thing or another, it’s intricate, and not by design, it just happened that way.

Working with my Editor on Light Fields

Well, the novel is with my editor at the moment, and I’m having such a difficult time focusing and not just pausing for a moment. I think the pause in work has been beneficial. It’s good to exhale after such a long period of writing has happened. Writing fiction is interesting. Even when pulling from reality it’s tiring to make the extension into the mind. Reaching through to the imagination is not a physical activity, but it can be just as exhausting. It takes every part of my mind to engage with it. I get lost in the world I’m making, and the feeling is transcendental. I can’t describe it well. It’s a place I never want to leave.

The world of Ondolor, where the story takes place, is one where the physics are constantly in flux, and I’m engrossed in each chapter finding new ways to envision the world where this is taking place. I won’t give too much away, but when I’m writing, I’m experiencing what the characters are experiencing. It’s like nothing else. I’ll never stop writing imaginative fiction. I found like I’ve found my true home in this process, and Ondolor is a treasured place for me. In the current pandemic, it’s almost like a chosen home I can return to at any time.

While the story in my novel is wrapped up, Ondolor is a place I always hope to return to, and bringing this story to our world is the most important thing I know how to do in this moment, it’s the only thing I can really offer to the world after all of the writing I’ve done in the last decade. So much writing practice: poetry, academic writing, short stories, all of it led to this moment, and I’m just waiting with rapt attention to receive any feedback I can. She’s encouraging, and has said that she really values the work, which I am grateful for. It’s the beginning of my writing career. I celebrated today with a rare latte, my favorite writing tool other than this computer. Until the next story, Ondolor is at rest. A drifting night where I can always return to and dream.

New Work: Light Fields

So, this is my first entry! I’ve been writing a novel for the last month and a half, and I’m really excited about it. Writing fiction is fairly new to me, and it’s been the greatest experience of my life in quite awhile. I dove into the imagination, along with research, and produced something I’m really proud of. Creating worlds is something I learned about in school, and it was absolutely wonderful to really develop the world that the story takes place in. I may develop it into a longer story, but for now, it’s with my editor, and we’re working on it.

Gaia II, a story I worked on in my thesis year at CCA may be the next project I tackle, and there is a lot of research I need to do about the world I’m developing for that work. Tolkein took 12 years to write Lord of the Rings, his follow up to the Hobbit, and I may use that timeline as my guide for this one. I have maps to make, deep history, and as the pandemic and ecological crisis is continuing, it may be one of the best ways for me to understand our world more.

So that’s my first post! Welcome to my journey!