I use quotes a lot. When I wrote my Backyard Pearls book, I started each chapter with a quote. I read quotes in my writing process teleclasses. I have whole files of quotes categorized by topic on my computer.
So when I started creating the schedule for my next writing retreat, of course I began looking for quotes for just that dash of inspiration.
Only this time, a strange thing happened. The more I tried to find someone to authoritatively and poetically capture what I wanted to say, the more I found myself getting a headache, feeling stressed out, and floating farther and farther away from the process.
As I stuffed my brain with words, I moved out of my flowing creative mode and into driven research mode.
Suddenly, looking through past notes, I found it. The perfect quote. Who had written this gem, I wondered. It didn’t have a name beside it? As I scanned the page to find the author, suddenly I realized who it was. Me.
This quote was simply an “aha” I had had and typed on a page along with a lot of other thoughts. That’s when it hit me. I had been so busy looking for other people’s wisdom, I hadn’t stopped to hear my own.
Author Parker J. Palmer talks about how at workshops, we take the most notes on what the leader says, and few if any on what we ourselves are thinking or saying. Somehow we see the speaker as knowing the answers, yet in reality it is in listening to our own souls speak that we find our clearest truth.
Recently I was at a fundraiser gala where I ran into an old friend who works at a hospice center. She said she had been preparing an inspirational prayer every week for the employees, and that she typically read passages from favorite books. But then she decided to try something new. For the past month, she had been writing the prayers herself. She shared that it had been more time consuming, but that her feeling of joy and self-satisfaction far outweighed the lost time. She was hooked… on expressing her own words.
This is a pivotal step for all of us. To hear what others say… but to listen even more deeply to what we say. To hang onto our every word as if a great expert were speaking, which she is…
Questions for Reflection:
- Find something that you’ve written, choose a few sentences, and put quotation marks around them. Then, add your name to the end. How does that feel? What thoughts come up?
- Where have you chosen to listen to others wisdom where you’d be better served listening to your own?
I’d love to hear your comments on the article, what pearls you notice when you begin reflecting. Please share your thoughts below in the Reply box …
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Carolyn Scarborough is a professionally trained creativity and writing coach. As founder of Backyard Pearls, LLC, she helps coaches and heart-based entrepreneurs to unblock their creativity so they can connect with and express what’s deeply meaningful to them. She leads retreats, telecourses and does private coaching with new writers, experienced writers, and those who simply need a creativity boost to launch business and writing projects. She is the author of “Backyard Pearls: Cultivating Wisdom and Joy in Everyday Life,” and is an award-winning magazine writer who has published more than 500 articles in publications around the world.
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