Being a wordsmith, I’m always looking for “message” signs that enrich and inspire me. Just the other day, while running errands, I came across some intriguing advice on a sandwich board in front of a retail store. Emblazoned on it were these seven words:
“Breathe. Pause. Be Grateful. Reflect. Carry on.”
It struck me in a flash that these might be useful set of simple ideas to guide our creative day. Let’s see if we can harvest some practical wisdom from them:
Breathe: This reminds us to slow down, cultivate calmness, and center ourselves. So much of writing is mental and emotional, but we are also physical beings: Our bodies and minds are invisibly but intimately connected. Breathing slowly and deeply reminds us of this.
Pause: When we launch into a new writing session, it’s tempting to dive back in. But taking a little time to gather ourselves and quietly contemplate our day’s work and what we hope to accomplish can be a fruitful practice. Even if we are tackling a project that we’re intensely involved in, a “pause that refreshes” can open us to the world around us and all the creative opportunities it holds out to us. It gives us chance to listen to our inner voice.
Be Grateful: Bringing a grateful heart to our day’s work as we embark on it – what a simple yet powerful practice! I once heard a wise counselor say, “You can’t bring anything new into your life until you show gratitude for what you already have.” We have so much to be grateful for as creatives: time to dream and write, time to learn, our work space, our fruitful, inventive minds, and writing itself. How fortunate and blessed we are!
Reflect: Pausing opens us to possibilities and gives us a chance to listen. To my mind, reflecting carries this a step deeper by giving us the chance to actively embrace all we’ve learned and hope to share. It brings intention to our day’s writing journey. And intention engenders attention. It readies us for action and allows us to create from a place of quiet, poised alertness.
Carry on: Buoyed and emboldened by the simple steps we’ve taken, now we can move into our day’s work with quiet confidence. We have everything we need to dream – and do. We are travelers on the writing path equipped, not just with the physical tools of our trade, but with the invisible tools of head, heart, and hand.
And now, ready for action and for wherever our day’s journey takes us, let’s all write on!