I have no other ambition.
I believe if it ever becomes real, it will look something like a book. I've been working on a novel, but it isn't yet the gift I want to give.
I need to talk about this work that isn't work. Finishing this novel has nothing to do with the professional task of putting together a coherent sequence of words. I could've done that five times over in the time I've been writing this novel if productivity were the only question.
What I need to talk about is my heart, because my heart is where the work happens. Whatever words I choose, whatever imaginings I chart, whatever story I unfurl, none of it will come to the gift I want this novel to be if it doesn't flow from a heart that wants to give and can give because it deserves to give because it is giving with love.
I say I am writing but I am working with my heart. If I am not writing, it's not inspiration that I'm waiting for--what I am working with is the orientation of my heart to the world. I can feel it. I can feel it when it's right. I could throw out an unending sequence of words, cut them into novels, fit them to the market, make a career of it for myself, and it would feel worse than nothing if it didn't come from the right heart.
I want to say that I know love when I feel it and I feel it when my heart is right.
There are so many ways to lose the feeling of love. The heart is never still, it is active and changing, and most importantly, it is responsive.
I am forever listening to my heart and hoping to understand what it needs. Sometimes I have to give it quiet. And when it changes and has had too much of the silence, I need to give it a friendly chat with a good friend over a beer. Maybe I need to read. It could be an episode of Northern Exposure. Sometimes my heart gets desperate for some rapturous excitement that carries me through an unexpected night. Music. Sometimes I need a lazy afternoon laying out and feeling sunshine on my skin. There are an infinite number of calibrations to be made, and they are ever changing. If it is music, there is the question of the song. I decide what novel I will read next the way a doctor decides what medicine to prescribe his patient.
There is nothing worse for the heart than to work for money. I become a dead-eyed, heartless, sleepwalking consumer, and once I reach that state, it requires tremendous effort to reawaken the human spark within myself. And lately, I have been working hours upon hours for money.
I knew where this would take me. Since I've had little free time, I've had to consciously choose how I would spend it, and so I've been meditating in my free evening hours before I go to sleep. My hope is only to keep my heart awake while I endure this period, and so when the freedom of summer finally arrives, I will be ready for it and will be able to quickly return my heart to the right alignment.
When my heart is right, the words that come are the right words, and it's only through my right heart that the words will come together in the right way and open up to allow that inspired gift I've been dreaming of giving to flow through the words and from the words into another person's heart.
Some days, it comes easily. Today, in the rain and the gloom, riding trams through this city just to arrive at a shopping center, surrounded by strangers and consumers, my heart clutched to a song, and I had to keep listening to it, again and again. There is something in the loop that my heart needs to feel. I must've listened to it ten times. The feeling came in waves that made me want to weep, not for sadness or for joy, but for the feeling of understanding what my heart needs.
This was it: