Thursday, April 5, 2012

Writing Prompt Thursday (#wpthu): 5 April 2012

If this is the first time you've heard of Writing Prompt Thursday, you'll want to visit the #wpthu page on Mindful Living Guide. There you'll quickly learn everything you need to know. In fact, everyone should start with the #wpthu page this week, as there's important information there that wasn't available before I created it and the #mlmon page this past weekend.

The page includes: 1) a brief introduction to the Writing Prompt Thursday online community, 2) two super-easy (email address only) subscription forms so that you're automatically kept abreast of all things #wpthu, and 3) information on how to get the embed code for the new #wpthu badge for your own blog or website.

And, it's quite exciting stuff! So, go read through that page, and I'll wait here for you to return. Remember, too, that you'll need to click on the two confirmation links to confirm your (free) subscriptions (more about these in the #wpthu page).


Okay, now that you're back, and your two subscriptions have been confirmed, let's get on with ...

Today's #wpthu prompt ...

A powerful way to awaken — or reawaken — our writing voice is to return to what really matters to us. Rather than to spin our wheels writing what we think we should be writing, we can, instead, take stock of what really matters to us, and write in response to these things.

So, today's prompt is to take take 10 minutes (or more) to put pen to paper and write in response to the question, What's important — what really matters — to me? If it helps you to cut to the marrow, perhaps cast yourself on your deathbed.

From that vantage point, what really and truly matters to you? Beyond the art of writing, this question can also lead us towards wisdom, helping us to consciously consider how we want to live our lives such that when our time is nearing its end we don't look back with regret at having frittered away precious time on less than foundational pursuits.

As always with #wpthu, write longhand (it's good to get away from the computer for a while, and to reawaken your writing hand). Nurture a sense of letting go of any creative burden, self-critical judgment, or comparison (with yourself in times past, or with others). Keep your pen moving. And honor, truly honor, whatever flows through you and onto the page. This is great practice in learning to trust in the process.

Roll Call: Are you going to participate in today's #wpthu? If so, and you have a Twitter account, please tweet your intention by clicking on the Retweet button in the below tweet. And if you haven't already done so, you can also Follow Mindful Living Guide:

— Let's get the conversation flowing in the comments below. Also, consider typing up your piece and posting it below, leaving out any personal particulars which you prefer not to share. And please help us spread word of Writing Prompt Thursday by clicking on any of the below social media share buttons. Thank you.


  1. How's it going today, folks?

    What's important — what really matters — to you?

    You're welcome to leave your thoughts, questions or the results of today's #wpthu piece here (even if you don't get round to posting it until tomorrow or thereafter).

    All comments are moderated, so just submit once, and I'll approve them soon thereafter.

    Thank you,


  2. Given the deliberately personal nature of yesterday's #wpthu prompt, it's not altogether surprising that no resulting pieces were posted on MLG.

    As noted on the #wpthu page (emphasis added):

    "As a Writing Prompt Thursday participant, you're welcome to share your thoughts, questions and/or resulting pieces of writing in the comments below that day's Mindful Living Guide post. However, there's never an obligation or expectation, as the focus is always on the writing itself."

    What's most important is the simple act of putting pen to paper. What we choose to post, if anything, is a secondary matter.

    Also, please keep in mind that the writing prompts are there to spur us on to write, and to inspire our writing to flow in fresh, new ways. Moreover, there's much we can learn by asking open-ended questions of ourselves, and then following the pen wherever it leads.

    I'd, therefore, encourage folk to try their hand at the writing prompt given. However, if any given writing prompt — for whatever reason — doesn't inspire you, I'd suggest making it your own such that it is meaningful to you. That, really, is what yesterday's #wpthu prompt was aiming at — identifying, and honoring, those things which are chockablock with meaning, which matter to you.

    So feel free to tweak, overhaul or entirely abandon a writing prompt, and write in response to what inspires you in that moment.

    In other words, there's no wrong way to approach a writing prompt. Folk in my classes have been convinced they're somehow bucking what I'm looking for by writing something other than what a writing prompt is suggesting. However, I'm never looking for anything from another's writing. My job is to help you find seeds of inspiration from within. So, if something else flowed from your pen which inspired you, then that's a perfect response.

    Make sense? Let me know if you have any questions, or if you'd like to discuss anything I've written here.

    With warm regards,


  3. You know I’ve thought about that a dozen times before. I suppose through the years this question has given back many different answers. All of them matter but then again none of them was true and real enough. They were and still are sentimental. I keep them, they are important to me, all these wishes and hopes.

    But to tell, I’ve been beat down and kicked hard by life a few times. Who hasn’t been? And still. I’m not to get into details; everyone has his own story, his own demons.

    Difference is that I chose to fight mine. I’ve always been a little too proud, never putting up with what brings me down. I simply want break out from this “enchanted circle” I’ve been caught in. I sure have seen dark days. But I am inclined to believe that can be changed.

    Eh, I’m scratching words here. It’s not easy to define what matters without being a bit selfish. Or a bit dull. No person can escape being a slave of life, death and faith. What I want is to be able to choose and control my own faith, life and then meet my death knowing that. I don’t want to be stopped by insane obstacles.

    This subject of what matters truly can be longer, deeper in sense and said in many other words. Which I think is pointless in some way.

    I narrow it down to this: That what matters to me right now, and what I hope will matter say on my deathbed is to make a difference for myself. To keep the promise I gave to myself and to people important to me years ago. It matters for me to be dynamic, not static, fight not sit and accept what was given and be done with it. It matters to me to remember that and make it real.


  4. Thank you, Cindy, for participating in this week's #wpthu, as well as for being so courageous and honest on the page and, then, sharing your above thoughtful piece with MLG readers.

    I really appreciate that, and no doubt other folk will as well.

    All for now ...

    With warm regards,


  5. Not so long ago I’d have had a really hard time responding to such a big question. I’d feel the pressure of searching my soul for the definitive answer — after all, I thought, if I am going to do justice to the question then surely I have to know, unequivocally, what, above all else, really matters to me. And of course I’d feel trapped by the prospect of limiting myself to that one response, knowing that there are many things that matter to me — some more than others in the morning or on the weekend, others when I’m working or out walking, and yet more when I’m spending time with other people or with myself.

    Yesterday (Thursday), Sean and I went to Brighton to visit the sea and, later, to meet a friend in a café. After arriving and eating ice creams, we each went off to do our own thing for a while, with Sean sitting himself down by the shore to make a video and me hanging around outside the Fishing Museum shooting Instagram pictures on my iPhone.

    Anyone who knows me knows I love taking pictures, and somewhere in the midst of this I realised that being free to follow my nose and my eye — going where I am drawn, capturing the images I see — is what really matters to me. At least in that Thursday-afternoon-in-Brighton moment.

    It was also confirmation that all we can ever do is respond in the moment, and that doing so doesn’t negate other possibilities from also being true. We are complex beings with myriad interests capable of a wide range of authentic responses that may, at times, appear contradictory, or limiting if viewed in isolation, but which nevertheless are wholly true.

    1. Thank you, Mufidah, for giving voice both to our day out yesterday as well as to the importance of recognizing that we needn't isolate any definitive answer when responding to such open-ended questions or writing prompts, that we need never delimit nor circumscribe any such truth from myriad others, all of which coexist but which, in the expressing, are necessarily limited by the finite nature of language.

      What you've written is an important reminder to us all, that we need never feel that any given piece of writing, penned in any given writing session, is the whole truth, but rather simply the truth of what arose, in that moment, when we considered a probing question and put pen to paper.

      Writing prompts should never artificially limit us, but, rather, inspire us to write freely, and to stumble upon answers which we might not have previously considered, new ways of thinking, and expressed in fresh, new ways.

      Thank you, again ...

      With love,


  6. What's important — what really matters — to me?

    Trying to live well, simply, and with dignity in a world which is willfully torn apart by those relative tiny few who will do anything — that's right, anything — to keep us at one another, divided — within and without — and, thereby, conquered.

    In a world which is chockablock with gratuitous violence, with propaganda which keeps us blind to the countless ways in which we've been anti-educated over the course of our lives (and over the course of countless generations) by a socio-economic-political system which despite the seen and unseen chains which bind us has the gall to declare itself a democracy, further, a beacon of light to those they murder en masse abroad and cripple mentally and physically at home.

    What's important — what really matters — to me is that I not live as a rat in a maze of social engineering.

    What's important to me is that I live with integrity, with honesty and that I minimize the harm I do to others and to this miracle of a world within which we live. Moreover, it matters to me that I somehow give back, somehow help others to begin to acknowledge the chains which Rousseau warned us long ago are everywhere around us.

    What's important to me is reminding folk of the Latin roots of the word education, that it is a drawing out of one's self — not a cramming in of so-called facts which keep us from seeing simple truths which would otherwise be plain to see, impossible not to acknowledge and, therefore, exceedingly difficult to do nothing about.

    Truths about the fraudulent fractional reserve central banking system which has for centuries kept the world enslaved, denied us all any semblance of home truths — political, societal and economic — and which has rendered "our" political systems a shameless sham, "our" educational (including our university) systems brainwashing institutions of the sort which would make those of Nazi Germany or the former Soviet Union seem homespun in comparison, and "our" so-called media a world-, nation-, community-, family- and soul-destroying propaganda machine which Hitler and Stalin would have given anything to have had at their disposal.

    A media system which is so effective that we keep ourselves connected to it, 24/7, like coma patients kept alive intravenously. A media system which delivers a ceaseless stream of mindrot and which spoon-feeds us "our" so-called news, which implants self-destructive cultural "norms", fashions and entertainments which we insist, or unconsciously assume, are indicative of our freedom.

    A media system which prepackages and delivers to us "our" very thoughts and our scientifically triggered emotions.

    What's important — what really matters — to me is resisting the social engineering which is everywhere in our midst, and living with self-respect and authenticity, while helping others to do the same, through the simple act of beginning to acknowledge truths which our bodies already know but that our minds have been trained to ignore, indeed, deny such that we live in a constant state of cognitive dissonance, a sordid one-world state of affairs.