damned if i know


a few weeks ago, the amazing, engaging funny one called bindu wiles threw out an idea: c’mon everybody, she said, for the next 21 days, let’s do yoga and write 800 words at least 5 days of every week.

it was a mantra from the mantra fairy.

for about 2 years (times, oh i don’t know – 5 maybe), i’ve been fantasizing about doing that very thing. and the fantasies had whipped themselves into a veritable frenzy a mere 2 days before bindu revealed her idea. (that’s when i was SURE she loves me.)

i was all over it, sending out tweets encouraging others to jump on board. if you look at her site, you’ll see my name beside #6. it says something about how wholly jeanne is leaping, grand-jeteing, or maybe just jumping off the porch. i bought marianne’s yoga 4 writers and made sure it was on on my computer and my spanking new ipad. i researched writing apps for the ipad. i was ready. eager. frothing at the fingertips. i could hardly wait the 5 days or so till day one.

but here’s the embarrassing truth of it all: i watched the yoga video once. one single time. it’s wonderful – that has nothing at all to do with it. i just haven’t done it. i go to bed everything and see myself doing yoga on the deck as the sun rises. i took the ipad with me to the falls a couple of weeks ago, imagining how fantastic i was going to feel after doing yoga beside the falls.

and writing? oh my goodness, i’ve written way more than 800 words every day . . . if you count checks and emails and thank you notes and grocery lists. some days i’ve written 800 words . . . but only in my head. listen, i have a masters in transformational language arts, i lead writing workshops – i know better. i absolutely know better.

and when i think about where i would be if i had done these 2 smallish things every day for the past 21 days. shoot, when i think of how i’d feel and the size clothes i’d be wearing and how many books and plays i’d’ve finished by now if only i’d sat myself down 5 days a week for the past umpteen years that i’ve been thinking about doing it. some days a memory lights, and i ache to sit down and reread an old journal to refresh the details and see how i felt about it all . . . but there are no such journals because i’ve been doing everything else.

i have ideas, people. ideas. for plays (4), books (2), films (1 – book first, then film.) ( yes, i’m unabashedly milking it.) and i can see myself smiling uncontrollably at the thrill of having the spigot on full blast because we all know that creativity begets creativity. i’ve been carrying around the seeds for decades – and the good news is that they still intrigue me, but the bad news is: they’re still just seeds.

i tell a few people about my plans, about the book i’m working on, but i don’t tell them how i’m just piddling around. “how can i help you?” friends ask . . . friends who would do anything – anything, i tell you, to help me get these things written. but we all know that, as we say around here, can’t nobody do this but me.

then why don’t i do it? why don’t i avail myself of the marvelous yoga video and sit myself down at one of the numerous inviting (and never used) spots i’ve created here at home that beckon-to-the-point-of-begging me to stop and drop?

damned if i know.

and damned if i want to waste any more time trying to figure it out.


  1. Mrsmediocrity

    I so get where you are coming from, I have been there, and am still there on some things. For the past three years I have been saying that I want to take yoga, and still have not done it. That is just one of many things. But this year, the writing did become a priority, by accident really, I started the blue muse blog because I needed to promote my jewelry business, and mrsmediocrity because, well, I had no idea at the time, but here I am and I am writing everyday and I am loving it. I wrote about this very thing today at the blue muse. So you just hang in there because sometimes seeds just take a long time to sprout. And then they grow really, really fast.

  2. Square-Peg Karen

    Jeanne, or should I just call you Wholly? grin – I love you! You're a treasure — and maybe the seeds (I've got my own – was just wailing at Slightly-British Daughter as we rode along the river) we have had to get some time under their belts (do seeds wear belts?) – you know? like fine wine!

    You inspire people – girl – so there's THAT and that's a lot!! Look up – I think things are changing – I think it's our time!! Big hug

  3. Cristina

    Sometimes…. sometimes… we just plain ol' don't want to do things until we want to do 'em. And sometimes… sometimes… we get around to doing 'em when we really decide what's holding us back. It's like when couples fight about doing dishes and it's not really the dishes. Maybe it's not really about writing and yoga, you know? Maybe it's something else. I never finish anything I write because I am afraid to complete things. I'm afraid of 'wholeness'. Of having to do something with it. So I have tons and tons of partially written stuff.

    So you know, just 'be' for a while. It's okay. All your ideas will still be there when you're ready!

  4. julie daley

    I love you, darling.

  5. AlanaSheeren

    Oh can I relate to this. Oh boyohboyohboy can I relate to this. Except I have an ocean where you have the falls. And I don't lead writing workshops (how did I not know that's what you do?!). Julie said it so eloquently – I love you too.

  6. Sarah

    Okay, sticking my neck out — fear. FEAR. What if you can't do it? What if you give it everything and it isn't good? What if it serves your purposes to keep beating yourself on the head with not doing it? Avoidance: Put everything else in front of all your plans and feel bad.

    Maybe your task right now is to see how willing you are to avoid doing this thing, that you have talked the game but not played it. Let it be everything that it is to you — hurtful, defeating, embarrassing, frustrating, angering, puzzling, promising — whatever it is. Perhaps you will be able to allow yourself to see that range of emotions as just that .. a range of emotions playing out around this current set of conditions. Conditions. Whose conditions are these? Maybe the writing and the yoga are already there in you, or maybe it is something else just waiting for all this drama to play through, so you can start exploring your authentic expression of self and discover what is in there.

    No one else can really give you this assignment, not Bindu Wiles, nor anyone else… Not even your mind, all attached to outcome and product (success & acclaim) and such … Perhaps It is only your breath and your heart that will, after suffering long enough, open up to the possibilities there in you all along. Exploring that with compassion, you will find what really is there. And it will be amazing. And magnificent. No matter what you do or don't do.

    I wish I could wrap my arms around you and make you safe, but all I can do is send you love. My wish is that you take this being that you are and care for her. Give her what she needs. Allow her to breathe, and feel the earth below her feet, the air in every cell.

    Fear of who I might be nearly cost me everything about being who I am, and no matter who I am, it is better to be authentically me than to give up on being.

  7. Susan Reep

    You don't avail yourself of the marvelous yoga video because you don't want to. You just think you should want to. Just my opinion, of which there is usually no shortage. I hold it in more than I used to, but I feel like I can be completely myself with you.

  8. emma

    I don't know whether to laugh or cry, because I can SOOOO relate to this entire post (except the purchasing the yoga thing part – it's on my “to do” list, no joke)

    shit happens when it happens. that's it.

    more importantly, were you present and soaking up the beauty of the falls?


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