Day 1 – Writing Practice

Day 1 – Writing Practice

It’s 4pm and I am commencing my writing practice. In the lead up to sitting down a quiet voice in my head asks: “where do I start?”

I remember the wise words of Pema Chodron which have come to me a number of times over the last few days: “start where you are”… so I am.

And as I sit down to start typing, the heavens open, letting loose a very loud, very forceful downpour. I see everything as connected…this is a sign that I am on track. I smile… there is so much to say.

And now the noise is giving way to silence… the storm is quieting, the late afternoon sun shining through and casting my office in soft orange light… let’s begin… we’re now 10 minutes in…

It’s day one… so again in answer to “where do I start?” I am setting my intentions for this practice and working through the steps I teach: keep it Simple, Sustainable and Supported.


I do not know what will emerge each day to write. My intention is simply to write what comes and to share it through my blog.


The intention is to write daily at approximately 4pm (or an alternative time where appropriate/necessary).


I am supporting this practice with two other practices, a 10 minute sitting practice which I commenced last week and 20 minutes of morning pages from the Artists Way which I started this morning. These two practices are done in the morning in preparation for the day. If necessary the sitting practice can be repeated before writing.

In addition to publishing these posts I will also be e-mailing these posts to a few people.


I will check in and tweak this practice as necessary over the coming days, weeks and months.

Let’s begin.


Today I would like to share an observation about starting new practices

With all three practices mentioned here, I noted a lot of noise as I started. Last week I was on holiday and as I started to sit a loud conversation ensued outside my hotel room window and lasted for most of the 10 minutes. This morning as I sat down to the morning pages a number of unusual domestic activities started in our house and I was even called away for assistance. And now a storm!

This is not an unfamiliar occurrence, so through experience I hold this lightly and make it part of the practice… I liken it to stepping in and letting go of distractions in a Nia class, but prior to my knowledge of Nia I noted that whenever I start a new practice there is something that comes up to mark the start. Whether I experience it as the universe clapping indicating that I am on track or as a test of my resolve – ego pushing back at this desire to shift, it allows me to check whether I am really committed.

I am here and I have started.


Comment ( 1 )

  1. ReplyAndrew
    When I opened my email this morning, there it was. An email from a dear friend and associate. Tonia had delivered on our agreed commitment, to begin a daily practice of writing and sharing. She had delivered our first piece of collaborative writing.

    We had agreed to begin this project a few weeks ago. but since then, Tonia had been away on leave, and had asked for time to simply sit and relax rather than be committed to a shared practice. Of course, I had agreed, and had immediately let Tonia’s absence lull me into a false sense of security. That in fact is just a long winded way of saying that I had let my own fears skillfully find a dozen other things that were more important to attend to… I let procrastination get in the way. But now she was back, and she had served the first volley. My accountability partner had delivered.

    I tried to hold this all gently “front of mind” during my sitting practice this morning… There it was… The anxiety. The tightness of chest. How was I going to fit everything in? How would I attend to this sincerely, with my whole being? The “Fraud Police” came out in full force…

    But slowly, as I sat, an old poem that Tonia and I were introduced to back at coach school quietly emerged… David Whyte’s poem “Start Close In”. I sat in silence, and quietly mouthed the words…

    Start close in,
    don’t take the second step
    or the third,
    start with the first
    close in,
    the step
    you don’t want to take.

    I just obeyed.. I sat there, “close in” with myself, and fully immersed myself in what it felt like to be me. I sat with the amazing privilege of being involved in a process with someone I respect and treasure so much. But I also sat with a load of fear. Crushing fear. What if I can’t? What if it’s no good? What if I let her down? There it was… The tightness of chest, the quickening of breath. Uncomfortable enough to make me end my sitting. To get up and distract myself with something worldly and important. Like make tea. Wake the kids, and ready myself for a coaching session at 09h00 this morning…

    But I stayed. I started close in. I didn’t take the second step, or the third. And as I sat in silence, (actually, as I sat with the screaming in my mind), precious awareness began to bloom. Two tiny drops of awareness distilled out of the steam in my mind, ran down my forehead like drops of sweat, and dripped into a tiny precious challis of wisdom that carry with me everywhere… The drops were something like this:

    1. When I take that step close in, closer to myself, I actually take a step closer to everyone else. To all of humanity. How many of us have felt like this, felt this same fear, or lack of “being enough”? It’s likely my next client will have felt this somewhere in their lives. I began to imagine the relationships we could inhabit if we could include all of our aliveness and connection in our conversations, rather than locking so much of it away… Unless I learn to sit with this fear myself, how will I honestly sit with anyone else, and encourage them to stay the path?

    2. Whatever I was feeling in my heart was there anyway, unseen. Unacknowledged. Unheard. But it was there nonetheless. Quietly chipping away at me in the dark quiet times. Chipping away. Thieving my life-force. Turning my face away from it didn’t make it go away. Distracting myself with a busy to-do list just gave it the cover and space it needed to take root. Rather, by turning towards it, by acknowledging it, and inviting it to sit with me and participate in my being, I felt so much more empowered… Authentic. Alive.

    So it has begun.

    Start with the first
    close in,
    the step
    you don’t want to take.

What are your thoughts?