Monday, May 15, 2006

I said in one of the comments that I'd post an exercise from John Lee's Writing From the Body, so here goes. The book is divided into chapters such as Fearless Writing, The Dance of Trust and Timing, Taming the Critic or Lighten Up!, Answers from your Body, which all end with writing exercises or meditations. This one is from the chapter called Inspiration: The Breath and The Word. In the chapter, Lee talks about how as writers we should be aware of how we are breathing when we sit down to write. If we start with a tight chest, and not thinking of our breathing, our writing will suffer. 'We must fully reclaim the breath,' Lee says, 'because without it the body withers and so does our writing. The message written by the tight chest, the stilted body, carries no duende, no darkness, no belly stretched wide by the breath. Such writing is a mere whistle. It rises up like a ghost, substanceless, with a mask for a face, and we do not believe it.' Since reading this, I've tried to breathe deeply before I start writing, and really open up my body. It's a way of reclaiming space too. Here's the end exercise:
Breath exercise: Sit quietly in a straight-backed chair, feet planted firmly on the floor, hands resting in your lap. Take full, deep breaths, filling up your lower abdomen with life-giving air and letting your attention sink down out of your head and deep into the rest of you. Let your attention connect to your breath, and let that breath be like a diving bell as you descent deeper and deeper into your body. Taking full, deep breaths, allow your attention to go down to meet whatever feeling, memory, smell, sight or sound is trying to rise to meet your descending attention. Taking full breaths, you may begin to experience a little lightheadedness - this is normal. Breathing fully, continue to watch whatever arises within you. Staying in your bodily awareness, continue to breathe deeply and fully as you pick up a pen to write what you are experiencing.

1 comment:

patricia said...

Wonderful! Thank you.

I must confess that very often I notice that I'm wound up pretty tight when I'm writing something which I consider to be of great importance to me. I'd love to figure out how to relax.