This past Saturday was my last official reading at the Seattle Public Library with the Jack Straw Writers Program that I’ve been participating in all year. A few days before I was supposed to fly to Seattle, I came down with a sore throat that quickly transformed into a cold. Should I go? Should I stay home? I wasn’t deathly ill, I was even starting to feel better by the time the morning of my flight arrived but should I push myself to go or stay home?
To help me find clarity, I played a decision game that I had recently learned from Vicki Lind. I put my two hands in front of me and formed cups with each palm. In my left hand I put “not going” and felt how that felt. In my right hand I put “going” and felt how that felt.
I noticed that in my left hand, the “not going” felt heavy, constricted and no fun.
In my right hand, the “going” felt light, buoyant and joyful, like it just wanted to be tossed into the air.
I flew to Seattle.
I had written a new open to my memoir and read that. It didn’t matter that my voice was hoarse. Many of the writers in my group, who’ve heard me read different versions of the opening, told me how much they liked my latest draft. We went out to eat and I flew back home, exhausted but happy.
I’m still living off the good energy of our reading and astonished, once again, how encouragement from writers I admire is like jet fuel in my gas tank. The doubts and negativity that sometimes threaten to derail me, shrank to nothingness and my memoir revisions took precedence all week.
Try this exercise the next time you have a decision to make that you can’t bend your mind around. Put one decision in one hand and the other decision in the other hand. Feel the weight in each. See what you learn.
Photo by Milada Vigerova