On What Wafts Up

I walk up the stairs in the low light of my quiet house. Outside it is not yet sunrise. In these early mornings, I feel my way through shadows, wander to my desk to write. Practice the ritual of eking out space for magic. Follow threads and share the process as it unravels.

This morning the Muse whispers, “Pull Bird by Bird from the shelf and flip to any page.”

I hear the silent prompting that reverberates from somewhere in my deep well, but I stave off suggestions. Let myself get distracted by ‘important’ practicals. Sort a drawer and tend to pending tasks. The sun begins to illuminate the day without a word to page.

Shadows shrink away and my writing room is brighter. Non-writing tasks complete, I turn to the book shelf to find Anne Lamott’s classic instructions on writing and life. Flip to any page. Share it here with you.

“You get your confidence and intuition back by trusting yourself, by being militantly on your own side. You need to trust yourself, especially on the first draft, where amid the anxiety and self-doubt, there should be a real sense of your imagination and your memories walking and woolgathering, tramping the hills, romping all over the place. Trust them. Don’t look at your feet to see if you are doing it right. Just dance.

You get your intuition back when you make space for it, when you stop the chattering of the rational mind. The rational mind doesn’t nourish you. You assume that it gives you the truth, because the rational mind is the golden calf that this culture worships, but this is not true. Rationality squeezes out much that is rich and juicy and fascinating.

Sometimes intuition needs coaxing, because intuition is a little shy. But if you try not to crowd it, intuition often wafts up from the soul or subconscious, and then becomes a tiny fitful little flame. It will be blown out by too much compulsion and manic attention, but will burn quietly when watched with gentle concentration.

So try to calm down, get quiet, breathe, and listen…”

~ Anne Lamott Bird by Bird


The Whispers

I follow the whispers.

Those, essentially, inaudible prompts that come from Who-Knows. Some say God. Guidance, Grace. The Higher Self.

Higher, lower, I’m somewhere- driving my car down the road, when the whisper comes urging me to turn right instead of going straight. Take a walk on this beach, not that one.

And because my life is currently in a semi-state of flux (we are moving and looking for a new home), and because I’m kind of like a little scientist experimenting (always seeking proof that intuition’s real), and because I have the time on this particular morning, I turn right on to that dirt road that leads to my favorite beach. The one I’ve deemed my temple.

I haven’t been to church lately. This natural cathedral entails a bit of a trek, which takes more time to get there. Time being something that’s seemed tight as of late. But with an extra forty-five minutes on this day, my soles set foot on the path to sacred sand and sea.

It’s not far into the first stretch of empty beach that I see it glowing in the sunlight. A bottle washed ashore, I guess. Though as it rests near the tide line, the shape seems more round than a bottle. And in the case of any treasure found, once I am upon it, there is a gasp, a skipping heart beat. A smile.

“No way!” I say to no one.

A glass fishing float is in my hands, having lapped up from that mystery place of Who-Knows.

This is a rare find.


Anywhere from forty to a hundred years old, this glass ball unleashed itself from some Japanese fishing net long ago, beginning a journey that bobbed through the Pacific until rolling up on this shore. Now, held in my hands.

It’s not the first time this temple/beach has gifted me a treasured gem. This place has granted me many a precious Sunrise shell (once, three in one morning). On one October afternoon here, a hefty, golden-hued coin embossed with the goddess Lakshmi washed up at my feet. Heck, this is the beach is where I met my husband. And the same place where he, subsequently, proposed.

In each of those instances, when some offering was bestowed upon me, what was it that had positioned me in that very place and time?

It was the whispers.

I’d been following a nudge. A quiet, but clear suggestion.

I would venture to say that these directives are possibly more reliable than a GPS. Certainly, more fun.