It is in stillness that we hear ourselves, but as I found out today during the Warm Yin Class, it isn’t just ourselves we hear…it’s our characters.
Holding such intense postures and submitting to them isn’t easy. As my body was put under pressure, aches and pains in joints crying out, I battled to remain in the stillness of the practice because it is in that place that our body heals itself. So today, I really was surprised to be so struck by a set of images and scenes for some upcoming chapters of Gaia’s Revenge, my current WIP and the second in The Earth Chronicles series. Having no paper and pen to hand, I clung to the image and quietly repeated it to myself so I wouldn’t forget, because writers and indeed all creatives, can be struck at any time with ideas that they are desperate not to forget. Philip Pullman once said:
I don’t know where my ideas come from, but I know where they come to. They come to my desk, and if I’m not there, they go away again.
I imagine a few of your are nodding right now.
I think this is something writers experience a lot. Correct me if I’m wrong, but perhaps you have been doing something completely unrelated to writing and have suddenly felt a lightning rod of inspiration but not been able to jot it down or fire up the laptop to get the words down on the page. For me, I think some of my best ideas come to me when I am doing other things, but often in a place of calmness, for example, when I used to walk my dog, go running, or now, during the middle of a yoga posture!
I hadn’t expected it because I was listening to my body, but Hannah saw an opportunity, I guess, and took it. Having my character there with me, entering my place of stillness was actually comforting and I left the class feeling inspired. Luckily, I had my note book in my car and was on my way then to a creative meeting with my illustrator, Darran.
It was only after I left the class and began writing that I realised and understood why Hannah had emerged during the class, the stillness, the quiet. You see, for me, I am on a path of discovery and hopefully metamorphosis – I am avoiding using the hackneyed and clichéd “j” word – but so is Hannah. I envisioned her in a period of transition as she begins to discover more about her destiny and what lies ahead for her.
I too am at the beginning of a transition period and we all know January stirs those feelings of renewal, change and challenge in us all. I imagine you, yourself may be doing the same. Maybe it is dedicating more time to write, more time to exercise, more time to paint, or more time to eat well and cook. Whatever it is for you, those first steps on a new path are great, but it is when consistency kicks in that you build up new habits and when repeated often enough, they become part of your routine and even part of who you are. A new routine is something I am searching for and plotting out at the moment, as I adjust to life without visiting my Dad. Such is part of the grieving process – allowing a new normal to develop and accepting it.
What is so interesting about yoga, the postures and the practise of these, is the discovery you make as you work out which you love and feel great at, which are a challenge and those that feel downright odd. Personally, I can equate it to building characters, which you love writing and words flow like rivers for them, those which are challenging but absolutely worth striving for and holding on to, and then there are those characters you write, and wonder if you will ever make sense of them at all. But together they create something incredible. Your story.
My chapter this year, as I have stated, is to prioritise my health and I truly believe that my yoga practise will have such a positive influence on me as a writer and, in particular, the development of Hannah as her character continues to emerge from the chrysalis. I have already penned her with having a strong sense of interiority, something required for yoga, that ability to look inward not outward.
Personally, my aim is to emerge from 2019 a calmer, happier, leaner and lighter individual whose personal choices, personal investments and dedications allow me to unfold my wings and fly. Maybe now, take this time to reaffirm yours.
And as for Hannah…well you’ll just have to wait and see…
Next week, I will commence a two-part blog on gut health and diet and my battles with intolerances. It was due this week, but Hannah demanded my attention. And rightly so, for she is my heroine.