Letting Go

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Soul knowledge sends you in the opposite direction from consumerism. It’s not addition that makes one holy but subtraction: stripping the illusions, letting go of the pretense, exposing the false self, breaking open the heart and the understanding, not taking my private self too seriously.

In a certain sense we are on the utterly wrong track. We are climbing while Jesus is descending, and I think in that we reflect the pride and the arrogance of Western civilization, always trying to accomplish, perform and achieve. We transferred all that to Christianity and became spiritual consumers. The ego is still in charge. When the self takes itself that seriously, there’s no room left for God.

All we can really do is get ourselves out of the way, and we can’t even do that.

Richard Rohr, Radical Grace: Daily Meditations, p. 46, day 49

I have spent the evening sorting and filing my writing-related stuff. This is a pretty big deal. I have not filed my writing stuff properly for, like, five years. I literally had a massive pile containing ripped-out articles from newspapers dating to 2004. The old-paper mustiness has given me a cloggy head.

Despite the clog, it's been fun going through all of these papers. There was a massive pile of printed-out how-to articles from the net, most of which I have ditched. These are from my CFS years, when reading stuff online exhausted me so very quickly that I couldn't stay online for longer than half an hour without needing to get up and have a break. Those were the days. And so I printed stuff out to read later, reams and reams and reams of which is now being incarnated into paper to write morning pages on. I have no need to keep most of these "how-to" articles anymore. So much of it seems almost basic knowledge now in some ways. I don't want the list of rules and regulations. I want to learn by writing.

The most interesting things I filed were the tons and tons of stories I have begun, containing a page, half a page. Most of them were pretty okay. First draft sort of stuff but still - potential. And yet the difference between those stories and the stuff that I came across that I have written while clustering was profound. Such a depth of maturity in the clustered stuff, depth and width and poetry. Some of it was so good I wondered if I had written it myself or if I had maybe copied it off someone else. I definitely want to continue with this sort of form of writing in the future.

Clustering is the practice of writing a write a word or an idea, and circling it. Then it's just a matter of freeflowing thinking, writing down whatever comes to mind about that word. A lot of the time I will be clustering ideas around a word, thinking, "What the hell do these things mean? None of this is related," my logical part of myself disbelieving the rhyme and reason. And then a few minutes later I'll get that coming into focus feeling, that sort of "a-ha" moment and I will realise that many of these pieces are linked, belong, and I wouldn't have been able to see them before. They come together and form a piece of writing that feels complete, and whole, even if it's small. It's really very cool. It's another form of letting go - the logical rational part of the brain standing aside and letting the other chaotic elements speak.

I have folders and folders literally of stuff I've pulled from the newspaper, things that I read in books, that inspire me so much that I copy them out by hand and stuff them away in folders for later on. I also have folders for fiction ideas and oh, some of those made me blush. Here is the one that made me blush the most, an idea for a story:

A family values-based story maybe. A Christian family who have their priorities right who are still finding it hard keeping their family together - outside influences, etc.

Apart from sounding boring as batshit, how didactic does that story sound? No wonder I didn't have the heart to write it. It would have limped itself out onto the page and died within three sentences. Who would want to live next door to that family, let alone read a story about them? You can just tell that that family will be all sweet and have that lovely "I have something I need to share with you, heathen" Amway sort of approach that creeps people right out the soles of their feet. Because you just know that living in that sort of us-and-them, "we need to sell you hyped-up inflatable Jesus" paradigm is just the sort of situation that will breed the delightfully dark carpet to shove daddy's porn addiction under, the daughter's bong-smoking after school.

Hmmm, it's starting to sound interesting, actually. Maybe I'll write it after all ;)

I know when I wrote this idea down. It was in my era of the closest-I-got-to-Pentecostalism years. It was my paranoid season of Christianity where everything was becoming scarily black and white in my worldview, a definite case of us and them. So much has been stripped away since then. Wow. So much.

Thank God. Thank you for stripping away the parts of me that were starting to turn me into a tosspot. Amen :)

PS: I love this blog template. It does irritate me though is its uneven line spacing between different paras. Luckily autumn is coming. Because a change of seasons means a change in clothing, and also a change in blog template. Of course :)


  1. i do "clustering" all of the time, but never heard it named and described quite like this. aha! :-)

  2. i thought i was the only one that kept files full of clippings, ideas etc!!!

    your re-take on the christian family story made me laugh


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