Writing for mindfulness
A few days ago, I pulled a tendon in my wrist while walking one of my dogs. Another pooch surprised him and he jerked toward it like a 4×4. Max has not long graduated from being a puppy and often forgets that, if he’s on the lead, we have to greet canine friends together if we want to play.
I’m fortunate to be semi-ambidextrous thanks to years training as a pianist but my left hand remains much slower than my right when handling a fountain pen or typing.
Because I am forced to write much slower, every word requiring more effort, I have to give each one greater thought. So long as I rest my right hand while I write, and am therefore in no pain, I experience a wonderful sense of mindfulness as I form words on the page.
We experience mindfulness whenever we are fully present in the moment, for example by paying attention to each breath when meditating or focusing on each step while walking in nature.
Mindful writing involves being fully present with every word.
Being present when you write enables you to bring together your inner and outer worlds, to embrace life as an ‘interbeing’ (a powerful concept identified by Thich Nhat Hanh) which involves bringing all that we are, all that we have experienced, have thought, felt and read, to the page as one.
We don’t just write, we live words in the moment. We write who we are.
Six ways to write mindfully
There are lots of ways to write mindfully without hurting your wrist (which, of course, I wouldn’t recommend). You could:
- Write with your non-dominant hand. Don’t worry if the words come out messy and shaky, if you blot ink or smear it. Focus on the experience itself.
- Have a go at calligraphy. The craft requires you to focus on the form of each letter. Thought must go into every stroke. Never tried it before? You can pick up some simple techniques in this calligraphy video.
- Express yourself with a haiku or write a limerick. These limited forms mean that every word counts and you must consider every one carefully.
- In up to 100 words or a page, write a story. It could be real or imagined. Immerse yourself in each event, each character, each sentence, each word.
- Write a letter or a postcard to someone special, someone who would benefit from some care or love. When writing a thoughtful message, we must be present and consider how each sentence will be received. Send them some treasure.
- You could even write a beautiful message as a Tweet. With just 280 characters to play with, every one matters. Find the kindest words you can, enjoy how they make you feel then send your light into the world.
Be present as you write today. Experience the wonder of every word.