I’ve had a cold since Friday and the stride I had going on The Guy Upstairs slowed to an L.A.-freeway, five-o’clock crawl. In other words, I’ve been picking away at chapter 11 for five days! (Even though I laid the ground work for chapter 12, chapter 11 is is like the two year-old who refuses to go to bed easily.)
It’s tempting … oh so tempting to move onto chapter 12. But it doesn’t feel right. Before you dismiss this as New Age hooey, let me say that I’m a big believer in listening to what my body tells me. This goes way back when I majored in dance through the School of Creative and Performing Arts at Chula Vista Middle (then Junior High) School. One of our teachers, I think it was Mr. Barnes, always said, “Listen to your body.” Imagine this, if you will: thirty self-conscious girls in braces and leotards sitting sitting cross-legged on the cold wood floor, eyes closed and hands over our hearts with instructions to listen to its beat. He’d tell us: “Listen to it when it tells you not to stretch too far. Listen to it when it says okay, I’ll do that jump. Listen to it tell you when it’s ready to shift weight.”
Of course, we thought it was a waste of time especially in the winter when the place was freezing. As much as I thought Mr. Barnes was kind of a jerk, he was right about tuning in to see what the old girl had to say. Whenever I ignore that twinge or moment of hesitation, I’ve either ended up with e.Coli or fallen down.
Author Laraine Herring writes in her book, Writing Begins With the Breath: “This skin, this body held everything I’d ever done. Through showing up on the mat, I learned to show up for my body. My ability, not just to listen, but to hear, surfaced. And as I learned how to hear, I learned how to write in a new way.”
As long as my body tells me, “Sit down, please and open chp11.doc,” I’ll show up and do it. Every pass shows me a different facet of the scene, or points out that Dori really feels this not that and that’s why the whole thing felt flat. My Ego, meanwhile, screams, “Get a move on; at this pace, you’ll never get the damn thing done!”
But I will. I know this from all the times I listened and didn’t listen to my body. By showing up in spite of that little nasty voice in the back of my head, progress of different kind is made.