Yielding

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In 2009 and 2010, I did a two-year ongoing group with Richard Farmer, my tai-chi teacher’s master. Our group met twice a year in Poulstone Court, an amazing retreat centre in the heart of Herefordshire in England. Each long week end was dedicated to one key tai-chi principle. Through various exercises which helped us to have a felt sense of those teachings, we dived in at the deep end.

One of those principles was yielding. When we studied that principle, Richard asked us to walk on the grass first.

‘Notice how grass yields to your feet. As soon as the pressure is off, it bounces back gradually. If you don’t yield and resist, you are more brittle and likely to snap,’ he said, while we had fun marching on the grass.

‘Now come and walk on this gravel,’ he said.

The fun was over straightaway. The small stones hurt my feet like hell, and I couldn’t wait to jump back onto the grass.

‘Relax, yield like that grass did. Let your feet soften around the stones. The more you resist, the more painful it gets.’

Believe it or not, once I managed to relax, it wasn’t painful at all. OK, I had to be slow and deliberate, stay present and relaxed, but it worked.

I was reminded of this teaching the other day when I was harvesting redcurrants in our garden. I was barefoot and standing on the grass was pleasant, but stepping on the dried up earth hurt my feet. So as I consciously relaxed my feet and let my feet yield to the dry earth, I wondered, what do I resist on my writing path? The thought that popped in concerned my academic writing. I haven’t had any of my academic writing published since 2013, when I left for my maternity leave with my son. Even though I know I’m a better writer now, it’s still daunting to write and publish an internationally excellent piece (it’s a requirement of my job to produce this quality). It’s been bugging me for a while: I’ve done the research, gathered what I need, read tons, need to read some more, and then sit down and do it. And I know once I get to that point, the writing part will be a lot easier than worrying about it.

Sometimes resistance hurts more than actually sitting down and doing something.

What about you, dear reader? What do you resist on your writing path to the point that it hurts? What is your biggest challenge?

38 thoughts on “Yielding

  1. I agree wholeheartedly with every sentiment you’ve expressed here, Gulara! I love the concept of yielding—and it’s not giving in or being too soft. It encompasses understanding, compassion, adaptation, and resilience. I think of it like a backbone compared to a brick wall—the backbone bends and sways, yet can still hold the body erect. And a brick wall is, well, a brick wall, and no one wants one of those running down their back!

    Liked by 3 people

    • What a beautiful analogy. Yes, exactly, there’s so much softness in yielding. And as to a brick wall, it’s surprising how many of us carry it around unconsciously. Or worse: keep running into it and wondering why they are not moving forward. Thank you for your comment, Louise. Lovely to connect.

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  2. Well, you’ve really got me thinking here Gulara!
    I think I resist writing the first draft sometimes in the fear that it’s going to be bad (which it always is, so why do I worry? First drafts are just that – the messiness of the very beginning!). I get scared that the awfulness of my initial attempt will make me lose faith altogether, so I procrastinate with housework or Facebook or calling someone. Sometimes easier to just have the idea of the great story you plan to write, rather than actually writing it!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Great awareness, Fiona, thank you so much for sharing it with me. Fear can stop us, for sure. And there are so many tools nowadays to release it. It’s the mind’s job to worry. When we know what the mind thinks, then we can do something about it. I post healing meditations on Thursdays. Give it a go? 🙂 No pressure, just an invitation. Have a wonderful week ahead.

      Liked by 1 person

    • 🙂 Yes, worrying takes up tons of energy. If I directed all the energy I waste on doing things – imagine that?! Anyway, thank you so much for stopping by. Look forward to reading your post.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I think I resist actually finishing anything and publishing it for other eyes to see. I suppose it’s about fear. If I don’t put it out there, no one can say it stinks, right? 🙂 But I need to fight past that – or maybe just yield and acknowledge the fear. Either way, it’s really time to start putting words in front of other eyes than my own.

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    • Thank you so much for your comment, Lisa. I know that resistance well. I realised I’ve been entering competitions as an avoidance tactic 🙂 Even though in some ways this strategy served me. Tomorrow, I’m going to publish a short healing meditation to release resistance. Perhaps worth giving it a go? No pressure. Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, no, competitions are great – they offer a deadline and incentive to revise. I meant entering book competitions 🙂 They are great too and helped a lot to get the book into a better shape but it’s time to find an agent and move forward with publication. They gave me a good boost and validation. It’s time to act.

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  4. I’ve been resisting writing a play, actually two, partly because I wonder what’s the point. I’m 81 and realize that theaters are more likely to accept a script from someone who has more years to write. But then I think I’m being lazy because I’ve written many things that I don’t send out. I just like writing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s great that you like writing, and I’m so glad you do. Whether you send them out or not, please write those plays. They want to come through you, and hopefully find a way to connect with the right audience. Many thanks for reading and commenting here.

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  5. Inspiring article, Gulara. I’m pretty open when it comes to my writing, realizing that no matter the list of Published Works, there is always room for improvement. Years back, though, taking suggestions from my writing group wasn’t so easy, so I resisted. Had to work on it, but I got to the point where I realized that listening closely to other’s opinion is part of the process.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Absolutely. It can be hard to listen though even when you know it’s a good idea and part of the process 🙂 I’m waiting for a manuscript assessment from a literary consultancy and I must admit it’s a mixture of excitement and dread 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting here. Hope all is well.

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  6. Gulara, I agree with Silvia as your article was inspiring. To add to it, in talking with my writing group here they all remarked that relocating and the caregiving I’m doing for my husband can block my thoughts. I realized that I’m used to being surrounded by nature as my desk has always been next to a window. Now, the arrangement of the apartment is such that I face a wall. Yes, I have pictures of my grandchildren surrounding me as well as affirmations and quotes that I love, but I have not adapted to the changes. I’m like you when you went from walking in the grass to walking on the gravel. I’m on the gravel now and I need to learn how to relax and adjust to my new writing quarters. So I have some practicing to do! Thanks for the GREAT example!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, Gwynn, our environment matters so much to our creativity. Please don’t let it stop you from being creative though. Perhaps, having a walk in nature before you write might be a compromise? Or maybe a short visualisation of walking in nature (because our brain can’t tell apart whether that’s actually happening or not). Just a thought. Your writing group sounds very supportive and insightful. Big hug.xx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Inspiring post dear Gulara and I also liked the comments above…
    I find myself overwhelmed with ideas to write about and the – in my mind- lack of time to write…and just a I sit down to write further on a piece, something in life happens and takes me away from my desk again.
    Going with the flow, it’s difficult, even when walking on grass 😉
    XxX

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, sure, I understand, Patty. It’s definitely worth exploring what’s under that overwhelm. Because my sense is you’ve got an important message. Your clarity, integrity and alignment with that message shine out clearly. Now the next step is to pour it all out on paper. What is the worst that might happen if you do? What is the best that might happen if you write that book? These questions are just an enquiry for you to take on your own if you wish. Sending much love. Walking on grass definitely helps, even if not straightaway 🙂 xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Honestly Gulara; I know I will cry and hurt over again as soon as I start writing my personal book, that’s ok. I’m afraid I will lose faith in humanity again and re-build a ‘wall’….I’m not sure it is worth it 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • But that’s great clarity, isn’t it, Patty. You are making conscious choice and that’s great. You don’t have to do it, AND you don’t have to torment yourself by the idea that ‘I should be writing’ while this is clearly not the right time. Big hug to you.xxx

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      • I’m also questioning myself at the same time, if I’m not writing my story because I don’t want to hurt the ones, who have hurt me…because my truth is different from theirs…
        So yes, you’re right..it’s not the right time. Thanks Gulara, big hug back!
        And let’s keep dancing together every now and then 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m always up for a dance, Patty 🙂 Count me in! And I know exactly what you mean. I resisted this for a looooong while, but I finally decided to call my work fiction based on true story, just because of the same issue. It’s exactly the same content but it takes that edge off. When the time is right, you’ll know.xx

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  8. That is a wonderful story, Gulara. And so poignant. I teach T’chi so I am always prepared yet never fully acceptant to change. Makes me laugh to admit that. Constant, adversity, such as walking on rocks, something we did readily as children, is a profound experience when we yield to the universe. I’m #39 on the IWSG list. Namaste.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for reading and being open about resistant to fully accept change. It’s very human thing to do, isn’t it 🙂 I know the principles yet I find myself resisting and pushing a lot… Walking on rocks and laughing at our human predicament is the best medicine. Thank you for stopping by and sharing so generously.

      Liked by 1 person

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