I signed up for a “1,000 words of Summer” writing challenge. Today is day 8 which means I am 8,000 words behind and still trying to find a groove. It feels like nothing I have to say is meaningful. And maybe that’s precisely the thing I should be noticing …
I hiked again yesterday. Over 30 miles since last Friday and I still can’t think of anything to say. I hike, I think. I sometimes imagine I can walk my way into understanding, and sometimes that’s exactly how it happens. Other times, I hope only to walk myself into a silent state where there is less noise and distraction.
I need to find my beginners mind.
I was thinking about how I know what it is to be fearful in the world because I’m a woman. I know what it means to be fearful in the world because I’m gay. But neither of those truths move me any further down this particular path of understanding.. I do not know what it means to be a person of color trying to navigate these terrifying times. I don’t know how it feels to carry the enormity of that inside. This isn’t where the conversation should end. It’s where it should begin.
No one is looking to me for guidance or purpose. Nothing meaningful is likely to come from my unknowing mind. Instead of trying to turn up the noise, crank up the volume … I need to remember that the dial can be turned down too. Not down to silence, but to a place where I can be the most help. A place where I can listen.
I have a lot to learn. I will quit trying to find the right/clever/profound thing to say. I checked in with a friend the other day and shared that I really don’t know what to do or how to help. She is living these times much differently than I am. Her suggestion: use my art and my words, but listen. Listen to the stories. Listen for the pain and sadness. Listen for what my help might look like to those near me.
That much I can do.