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Passionate musings on yoga, writing, creativity, and self-love 

Write Yourself Alive - Day 1

leslie stjohn

Writing Prompt: Write your current self an email from your future self, 6 months from now, as you embark on this journey of creative self- recovery.

Hey you,

I see you there in a café, a bit jittery from the coffee but happy to be in poetry head—that place of amethyst light, collections of coins from Spain/Nicaragua/Canada, words with wings like gloaming or gossamer, and no sense of time. Time is a ribbon dancer’s cursive flick of the wrist. Time is the surface of a pond before morning breaks across its reflection. God, you love that space, don’t you? If lifts you from the mundane, helps you see what’s holy there. You feel most like yourself when writing…and moving your body, yes; and connecting with people in meaningful ways; and loving your man; and walking in a place called Victoria, another city of lights; yes, but writing, that’s the fountain head. You always knew this, but it was confirmed when you agreed to write yourself alive. More alive.

You were nervous then, committing to thirty, then sixty days of writing. You always say, Yes! Your heart is open, but then life crowds in, and you slink away. To be fair, not always.

You’ve finished many projects: You earned a BA and an MFA, completing an honors project on Gerard Manley Hopkins and a creative thesis, of which many poems went into your poetry chapbook, Beauty Like a Rope (another finished project); you completed certification for two yoga teacher trainings with exceptional teachers (500hrs); it took years and lots of “starts,” but you guided your students through the process of publishing their memoirs in the book, Unveiling Self. What a night! The audience crowded into Bello Mundo, listening to you, the students, their own hearts. You’ve successfully thrown memorable birthday celebrations, bridal showers, baby showers, and social gatherings. You even followed through on that spark of an idea for his birthday gift—he will never forget 44. You have moved across country. You have completed countless quarters as a teacher. Even this summer, you (mostly) finished a writing gig for an online Yoga and Ayurveda course. And if this doesn’t convince you that you can and WILL finished these 30 days, just remember every book you read. Last sentence…pause. Close the book. Done. The point is, I see you there writing. I see you finishing these 30 days and doing more and more because underneath fear of failure, fear of fraud, you LOVE writing.

From where I sit, across the café, six months down the line, I’m happy to share how your words are inspiring people. Not in that cheesy self-help, social-media-meme kind of way, but in that real talk, honest stories, beautiful sentences way. People are reading your blog. You’re publishing poems in reputable journals. You’re squirrelling away poems and essays and fragments that might just collage together as a poetic memoir. You tell your story slant. And it slips right into the cracks in people’s hearts, where they need it most. Love. Relatability. Beauty. Hope. You keep writing. You hit walls. You bring in the wrecking balls, or change rooms. You learn about your process—build the monolith, chip away until the form emerges—, and you learn about yourself. You love yourself more.

Believe it or not, you start to figure out a workflow—not a system or a ridged schedule—but a way of putting your soul on the calendar (Thanks, Danielle!) that prioritizes writing, self-care, relationship AND being a University professor. It’s a fucking miracle. And it doesn’t work every day, but it does some days—many days. How? I want you to discover it. I will say this, less social media, late-night Netflix, and comparison; more journaling, earlier mornings, and artist dates (Remember how you felt at the Albion Inn, surrounded by paintings, fine china, whimsical furniture? Delighted! Like you were inside a jewelry box of beautiful objects. You couldn’t wait to see what you’d discover in the next room, the next time you looked…. More like that.).  Stay flexible. Just keep writing.

One last thing. Remember that card you put in your wallet in 2013? I am in a loving, supportive relationship that allows me to branch out in my career. I AM comingling my passions—yoga, writing, teaching—to help others, especially young women, experience radical self-acceptance, self-worth, and love (they read my memoir)! You are. And the sankalpa you wrote in 2015. I offer my unique gifts to the public to inspire creative expression, physical health, and more self-love. You’re doing it. It’s happening.

This is your mantra: Write! Write! Write! (Thanks, Marina).

Your advocate,