Thursday, January 6, 2011

'Write into the New Year', and our own New Year goings-on ...

Dear Friends,

Firstly, a Happy New Year to you all.  For Mufidah and myself, it was a time to be together in simplicity, to recommit to living deliberately, to continue to cultivate ourselves and work towards our goals with consistency.  We wrote together, asking ourselves such questions as "How do I/we want to live?", and then writing in response and sharing with the other what flowed through us and onto the page.  Just exactly as we do in class, in wholehearted presence.

We already knew that we want to live reverentially, in grace, in gratitude, and in peace, and to live and work creatively.  But we have been asking ourselves how, specifically, within the muck and mire of everyday life can we literally awaken into this space, individually and together?  Our writing in response to these questions has helped beyond words in inspiring us to make some simultaneously radical and yet simple, enlivening adjustments to our days, such as awakening each morning in warm, loving silence as we enter into the stream of our day.  And, after an intensive three-and-a-half-month foray into the worlds of Facebook and Twitter — and becoming in the process what one of my student-friends called "a multimedia cyberpunk" — I decided to pull the plug on these social-networking sites just as 2010 came to a close.

All this in a move towards lightening my load, living more simply, and focusing my time and creative energies elsewhere.

And we have been returning to the Chinese classics, notably the I Ching or the Book of Changes, as well as Deng Ming-Dao's contemporary classic 365 Tao.  But we have also been reading together most evenings from Meister Eckhart's early-fourteenth-century treatises and sermons.  Eckhart Tolle changed his name, as some of you may know, to reflect the influence which Meister Eckhart had on him, and one can easily detect in Tolle's writings the inspiration of the Dominican theologian-philosopher-mystic's ideas.  I've continued to read and reread Chekhov's short stories in a splendid volume which Mufidah gave to me for my birthday back in November, and quickly worked through my 91-year-old friend Martin's copy of M. Scott Peck's The Road Less Travelled, having plucked it from Martin's bookshelf, thumbing through the table of contents and then seeing that the later chapters in particular might inspire, and they did.

This, and walking, and preparing scrumptious meals together is the sort of the thing which we did over the holidays.  And we are inspired to carry into the new year these various sources of inspiration as we begin to traverse these first few days and weeks of 2011.

Writing will, of course, continue to play a key role in our creative and spiritual endeavors.

I am, therefore, looking forward to the upcoming 6-week creative writing course which begins in Lewes on Wednesday, 12 January (through 16 February).  As always, we'll meet from 10 a.m. to 12 noon in the lovely Upper Hall of the Subud Centre, located at 26a Station St.  The course fee presently remains £75 although we've been feeling inflationary pressures to consider raising this.  If so, however, the courses will continue to provide excellent value over the six weeks, or twelve hours, which we spend writing, reading and discussing our work together.

To register, please click here.  As I have a growing number of new students who are responding to my posters in and around Lewes — and as I know that several folk from the December course were interested in joining us again in January — I would recommend sending in your cheque and registration materials as quickly as possible in order to secure a place in the course.

I look forward to seeing those of you who'd like to join us on Wednesday morning.  And, in closing, may 2011 be a year which brings us all closer to what matters most to each of us ...

As always, with warm regards,


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