Last summer my wife and I honeymooned in Sydney, Australia. Her version of the story is I honeymooned while she worked. True. Still we were there for two weeks and got to go around together on her days off. And truly the Opera House is as picturesque as it appears in photographs or on TV. While Kathy worked, I wrote, explored the city’s botanical gardens, museums and Aquarium. In general I soaked in the energy, astrosphere, the interesting blend of people and the culture. In Sydney essays burst through my hands out my fingers and onto the pages of my notebook. From outdoor cafes I look out to Sydney and it fed me back energy to which I’d scribe for hours. And in those moments, and now as I reflect back, no negative thoughts hovered in my mind, looking for entry eating away at my peace. The negative voices never spoke to me; I stayed in a hopeful productive space with regards to my writing and my writing future. Dreaming and living in Technicolor became my motto though at the time I hadn’t considered it.
Without trying, I’d reconnected to the beginner’s mind in Sydney. And without the sights and sounds of the city I live in I innocently open myself to something new. This newness sparked my brain, fired up my synapses to simply write without a past and unfettered by the future.
Recapturing the beginner’s mind has been one tool I now use to stay positively connected to my writing life. I am a little more fearless with coaching perhaps because I am a beginner. In my neighborhood there is a rose garden that I’ve always loved. Roses of all colors and sizes reside there. After Sydney I adopted the Rose Garden as my personal botanical garden where I’d often take walks, jog and photograph the landscape, sometimes recording the changes that occur. A month ago a huge tree fell and over the course of it lying on its side, I photographed its stunning grace and its ultimate removal. Something about recording the progress of that tree and my movements in the rose garden has taken me back to Sydney. I’m learning even walks in my neighborhood can clear out the negative self-talk. And in a way I’ve decided to make friends with those voices. When they say we can’t do this or that I take them for a walk in the Rose Garden, to photograph flowers, to see how the sun light create shadows through the trees in the late evening hours. Sometimes a single picture can combat a hundred negative thoughts.
Creativity has many voices.
The Oakland Rose Garden
Sydney's Opera House