you are exactly where you need to be, in writing & in life.

Even if it doesn’t feel like it, even if things are dormant or chaotic or over-or-under-whelming: you are exactly where you need to be right now. As in your writing, as in your creative process, as in your life. I know this sounds *woo-woo*, please forgive me if for no other reason than at least you know that I am aware that it sounds that way.

Sometimes my dad will read my weekly posts (hi, dad!) and this makes me overjoyed because my dad is the gentlest, most intelligent, strongest, humblest, most humorous, clever kind person you could ever meet in the world ever. like, ever. And he recently said to me (some version of), “Al, you know what is cool about your newsletter is that what you say about writing is true about life.”

And that struck me because I believe that very earnestly. There is not one single thing writing has taught me that I haven’t been able to apply to my life in general. This is why I write these little Monday love notes, because I truly want all of us to stay connected to our creativity because that’s where all the really juicy secrets are hidden. Inside the process of making our beloved art.

One of those life lessons I’m learning right now on a deeper level is that wherever you are is exactly where you need to be. Here’s why. It’s not cosmic astroscience (is this a thing?) it’s just pure mindfulness. You are where you need to be in your process because that’s where you are in your process. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you relax into the flow. You are where you are supposed to be because there is no supposed to, not in truth. “Supposed to” is all made up, all those expectations are made up by you or someone you know who wants you to be something for them.

These past few months, I have been writing much less new poetry. Over the past five years I was writing so much poetry it made even my own head spin. It was a prolific time which yielded hundreds of blog posts, countless words, and two robust books of poetry. Right now, I am in a different place in my process.  It is a time of creative hibernation for me. I need this time because this, too, is part of the creative cycle. It is silent, it is slumbering, dreaming, crystallizing. Artists, humans, are not designed to flower in constant.

In a world which hammers us constantly about being prolific, productive, to crank out more, more, more, fresh content, the next book, the new video, poem, design, the next best most amazing thing — it takes a great deal of self-awareness to say, “No. Not now. Not yet.”

No. without apology or shame is a tremendous declaration of our own humanity. We are not machines. We are not assembly lines. We are creatures of mysterious, wondrous, complicated cycle and season.

Perhaps that is what makes truly beautiful art, and a truly joyous life. Our ability — one season, one day, one work of art, one poem, one book, one breath at a time — to cherish where we actually are. Without cluttering it with “supposed to” or impossible expectations. Without crushing our minds with angst or our hearts with regret or our precious creative hands with burden.

So wherever you are in your creative process, or in your life, right now, please know you are in exactly the right place to do the work that needs to be done. Whether it is flowering for all the world to see or nestling underneath the earth and growing your roots in the dark, it is right and good and lovely. You are a cycle and a season, and there is magic in every bit of that.

Until next time, I wish you a week of peace knowing you are exactly where you need to be. There is possibly no gentler way to hold yourself with care and truth and presence and holiness.

 

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