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  • Writer's pictureElisa Juarez

Bones, Breath, & Heart

October 1, 2021

Jazz music is playing as I sit at my kitchen table surrounded by books, pens, and notepad. I pulled a few of my mother’s writing books off the shelf for inspiration: Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg and Writing from the Heart by Nancy Slonim Aronie. Bones and heart. The stuff of which we’re made, and the carriers of life experience. I read in The Right to Write that our ancestors and ancestral wisdom live in our blood and in our bones. Julia Cameron says that we store memories in our bodies, as well as passion, heartache, joy, and moments of transcendent peace. “Entering our bodies, we enter our hearts. ‘Heart’ is where ‘art’ is.” Physical movement, exercise, and sensory experience tap our creative energy. Sometimes we need new scenery, a good sweat, fresh air, and footsteps on pavement. We need to breathe deeply and lift our eyes to the big, wide sky. Walking is a great way to ground ourselves, connecting our breath and bones with the air and earth. As blood flow increases to the brain and every cell, we feel our life force, the source of creation. “Just as walking aerobicizes the physical body, producing a flow of endorphins and good feelings, writing seems to alter the chemical balance of the soul itself, restoring balance and equilibrium when we are out of sorts, bringing clarity, a sense of right action, a feeling of purpose to a rudderless day” (Julia Cameron, The Right to Write). It helps me to find solid ground when the world around me is spinning. Landing on the page is like dropping an anchor into the turbulent sea. It steadies me and fills me with a sense of calm and contentment. Somehow my humanity finds the inner compass of my divinity. We write and create best when we are fully present in our bones, breath, and heart. When you can feel someone else’s writing, when it touches you and moves you, that is because it was felt by the writer. It came from the universal soil of humanity, our common ground. “Naming our experience accurately and intimately, we claim it as our own. It becomes our territory, somewhere we really were, someplace we have feelings about. Once we contact the flow of deeper feelings under the skein of details, we have a chance at writing that touches something deeper than the surface in us and in those who read” (Julia Cameron, The Right to Write). Natalie Goldberg says that writing is a communal act, that we build on what came before us. We learn from other writers, incorporating their wit, wisdom, and perspective into our own experience. Stories enrich our humanity by increasing empathy and understanding; therefore, they need to be shared. “It’s much better to be a tribal writer, writing for all people and reflecting many voices through us, than to be a cloistered being trying to find one peanut of truth in our own individual mind. Become big and write with the whole world in your arms” (Writing Down the Bones). This is how we create a rich and colorful life – open, connected, and present. Read, write, walk, and wonder. Listen to music, stories, and conversations. Grow bigger in spirit. Let your voice be heard and your passion be felt. Connect to the wisdom and love that hold together your heart, bones, and soul. Live and create from the inside out, grounded in the present and open to the big, wide sky. Grace & Gladness, ej Elisa J. Juarez

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