I was sitting down with Winkie yesterday on a writing assignment. There was a subject theme and a writing focused on it. And I knew right from the start what a big challenge it was going to be.
One, me and writing have been friends for awhile. And I've always said about how I am writing in my head all the time. So give me a theme and I am in heaven. Which makes it that much more hard to sit down to guide Winkie along in his writing. To hold back and not jump in. To guide and not gravitate him towards a path I think he should take. To use his own words and not give him clues to mine. Its wretchedly hard.
But one breath at a time, I think I managed it. I kept asking him questions and with the words he came up in answer, we used that in his writing, trying for form, for clarity and a direction. I would take deep breaths every few minutes to keep that balance going and be patient as he struggled his way through...getting over writer's block and struggling with synonymous words that were more descriptive and for rhymes, for it was a poem that we were doing.
And then came the biggest hurdle of all. It was the final line and the final thought and in my head, it had to be big and full of bang and reach a crescendo of thought and heart. I kept giving him little prods to keep the thinking wheel turning....but he struggled and struggled and I was running every risk of jumping in headlong with the closure. But by a stroke of miracle, I stopped. Instead, I turned his paper around and said....
Write all the words you can possibly think of in this context. Don't think....just write and fill up the page.
This was easier for him to do. From the simple to the overstated, from fun to fanciful, from silly to superfluous to soulful, he wrote words in a flurry of mental activity. And then I circled the ones from his list as a suggestion and starred the one that was my favorite word on his page. Connection.
He smiled at me. And we thought some more on how to use it to wind down his poem with. And by this point, reining back while still being involved was an art I had learned at least a little. We finished it. And he was spent. And so was I.
But I was also riding on the crest of a wave of a beautiful recognition of Love in the process. How much I loved my son, within the selfish parameters of a mother and also the more selfless parameters of it. How much I wanted him to succeed in his endeavour. But more than anything else, how much I wanted it to be about the journey of self expression....of thinking, feeling, struggling, finding, using, enjoying and exhilarating in the process and the end result. And because of how deeply I wanted this for him, I was willing to struggle through my own tendencies to interfere and instruct. To bite back on my own compulsions so he can taste the victory that would be sweetest from his own cup, and from his own pouring of it into the cup....clumsy as it may have been at first, but how much of focus and concentration and peace and mindfulness it would have afforded him in the process??!!
And oh! How God loves us in this very same way. And in a way that is even more profound, pure and patient. This whole life has been afforded to us as an experience....our very very own. We can do what we want with it. We can stumble, we can fall, we can rise, we can walk. We can repeat them in many cycles of recovery and we can take our time with it. There is no 'one hour' to finish the assignment. He has given us several thousand lifetimes. There is not just a few words to choose from, but an entire vocabulary of it. There is not just one person to sit with you and guide you, there are several countless souls who have been instituted to aid in your experience, and abet the mystery of riddling you into thinking they were a foe, when it was friendship, and a friendship when they actually couldn't have your back anymore. And leaving when they should have stayed, and hovering in the background the entire while when you thought it was your loneliest time on the planet.
And there is not just a pencil and a paper, but a range of tools....each one at the tip of your finger, to be called forth and employed at will and in the blink of an eye. A song, a ballad, a painting, chanting, graffiti on the wall, tantra, whispered longings and
fervent prayers, a conversation of heart to heart and the confessions in a box, the silence of being with a soul mate, the laughter that is in abandon....and every emotion and experience that points the path to your heart.
And there is not just one word he will choose and give back to you as a favorite, in a shortcut. Nay. You have free will, even if it comes with the weight of pre-programmed compulsions. The choice to choose is always upon us, in every situation. Only, it is not an easy one to make. But nothing easy has lasted long. And nothing hard has ever left you, but with a beautiful imprint on your own evolution. This is a breathless, timeless, endless Love that can never be fully understood or paid back. But pay it forward....we most certainly can, perpetuating the cycle and the season of love. And it can begin with or be in the middle of....a mother, helping her son write his poem...