It took less than 24 hours to turn my walking meditation experiment into a purpose driven task. I searched for a story instead of enjoying Stanley Park. My brain tried to take control but my humorous heart responded by making me forget my pen and paper today. Nothing to do but walk and ponder.
Searching for a story is about digging up the truth, finding the answer and getting to the bottom of it all. The exact opposite of what I want to learn. There is no bottom.
Yesterday, I wrote that “I too believe that everybody has a story. I want to share their stories. I want to find the story in the ordinary.” Do I believe that everybody has a story? Yes, absolutely. Do I want to share their stories, their personal stories? Sometimes. But that doesn’t have to be all the time, every time. I do want to make a connection though. But a connection can happen in a few words. Was I really scared to chat with those people or did I just not want to, preferring to lose myself in my run? Do I want to find the big story in the ordinary? No. I simply want to tell the ordinary. The ordinary IS the story.
The four ordinary Bradley Cooper-esque men that were shoulder to shoulder across the width of the seawall today. Single-knotted cashmere scarves around their necks. Unzipped straight-cut leather jackets. Dark wool pants and … who-do-I-smile-at-I-want-them-all! And with nowhere to go, I stood in awe as a massive invisible butter knife spread delicious European men over me, and beyond.
Or the ordinary harbour seal that dined on a pink and white sea creature like a piece of taffy, while a seagull floated five feet away. “I would love to peak under the water,” said a woman who also paused to watch, “but the seagull makes a good marker to know where he’ll surface.”
Or my ordinary reaction during my rainy day solo run yesterday, when my gut crushed into a ball of sudden, intense joy as my eyes filled with tears while Love and Rockets’ Dog End of a Day Gone By played on my mp3.
Or the ordinary after-effects of spending two hours in my favorite place. How I could bang out two awesome webinar proposals, something I had been procrastinating for a month, and then receive immediate news that they’d been accepted by my professional trade association.
Do I want, or need, to know the in-depth back story of the creators of the beach chair? No. Their grins said it all. I just need practice writing what I see. And hear, taste and smell. And feel. Maybe I stopped asking questions because I did get the whole story.
Ernest Hemingway said, “My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.” My job is to practice, practice and practice. Write. Trust. Let go. Repeat. Or maybe: trust, let go, write. Repeat. Or even better: let go, write, trust. The audience who wants to hear my stories will find me.
It’s either that or me and that butter knife are moving to Europe.
Photo by Robert S. Donovan