20 Jun
Posted in: Travel, Writing
By    Comments Off on I Come From….

I Come From….

160607_cary_writing_retreat_1-2As most of you know, I’ve been at this little writing workshop in Italy, taught by a friend of mine — Cary Tennis — who now lives there. (The photo is of us at the workshop… Cary’s the one with the blue hat and I’m the one with the purple hair.)

The workshop is really just a chance to practice writing, in a group, in a beautiful location. The way it works is the leader gives a “prompt” and then we all write whatever comes into our mind in response to that prompt…for about 20 minutes, usually…then we read what we’re written aloud to the group (or not). Then there’s another prompt and we do it all over again.

The first prompt was: Begin with “I come from….”

Here’s what I wrote:
I come from happiness. Where else could I come from and still be alive? But why did I leave? Maybe I left happiness thinking — foolishly — that happiness was too simple, too tranquil, too uninteresting to give flavor and excitement to a life.

Maybe I went looking for conflict, to try to prove myself worthy of this happiness that had been given to me, this aliveness, this thing that I had not asked for, had not worked for, had not suffered for….and so thought it was not precious enough to honor by simply receiving, simply accepting, simply enjoying!

Maybe I went looking for happiness, not recognizing that happiness was the very air I was breathing, thinking instead that I needed something denser, more substantial, something I could hold in my hand or bite down on, something I could drink or swallow, or maybe drown in.

Maybe I couldn’t taste this happiness, this birthright, because its sweetness was too subtle. Maybe sourness called out to me. Maybe bitterness, saltiness, while the sweetness waited patiently, knowingly — lovingly — for the hunger to subside.

For some, I know, there is always the hunger.

That is what sadness is. That hunger. That thirsting. That longing for a taste of something…but never knowing what that something is.

Happiness is knowing. It is breathing. It is tasting whatever there is to taste. Letting the flavor arise. Then letting it pass. As it will. As it must. And then breathing again. Living. And knowing. And breathing again.


(photo by Kyoko Ide)

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