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Hello! I'm a writer from central New York who has bipolar disorder. Among other topics, I write about mental illness and writing. I have short stories published in Lynx Eye, Lost Coast Review, The Outrider Review, Sliver of Stone Magazine, The Mondegreen, The Linnet's Wings, Cobalt Review, Breath & Shadow, The Round Up, Postscripts to Darkness, and several other journals. I have essays about mental illness in The Ram Boutique and Amygdala Literary Magazine, and an essay in Parts Unbound: Narratives of Mental Illness & Health, a book that was published by Lime Hawk Literary Arts Collective. In December of 2016, The Mondegreen nominated my story "Santa Lucia" for a Pushcart Prize. I've written a novel entitled Purple Loosestrife and a novel entitled Hoping It Might Be So, both of which I am submitting to agents and publishers. I'm working on a novel called Dark and Bright as well as a book called Violets Are Blue: Essays About My Bipolar Life. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Buffalo and an M.A. in English from SUNY College at Brockport. I hope you enjoy your visit to my blog!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Meditation, Memory, and Writing

I started meditating several years ago and I've gotten to be pretty good at getting into the zone. I do mindful meditation because I find it impossible to turn off my brain and not let thoughts come in. So I let the thoughts come, but I think of them as a river flowing by--just thoughts moving along, no judgment about them, no angst, no concern. It's also like watching clouds drift through a blue sky with each cloud being a thought. It works for me, and I highly recommend learning about mindful meditation for anyone who can't turn his or her brain off completely but who would like to delve into meditation.


Recently I've developed the ability to "regress" while I'm meditating. I have an excellent memory (not to brag, but it's something of which I'm proud) and I can recall past events vividly and in great detail. So what I do while I'm meditating is tell myself to "go back" and concentrate on an event from the past. It can be anything--from a time when I was four and vividly recall pretending to make a chocolate cake for my mom and sister to eat, to a time in a college classroom, to something that may have happened fairly recently which I wish to recall and "relive". I can smell smells, see the events, hear sounds, feel the way I felt when the event took place, even taste something I may have eaten. It's quite an exciting experience, and it leaves me feeling relaxed, fulfilled, and happy.

It also leaves me ready to write. I'm calm and in touch after meditating, and if I've practiced this "regression", I feel that my imagination has come fully to attention and ideas are coming at me quickly. I don't necessarily write about the times I've regressed to. I may work on a current short story or my novel in progress, but whatever the case, I feel awake and alive and open.

So if you're interested in meditation, I recommend that you learn more about it and try it out. I can't offer any book titles or websites that have helped me specifically--I'm pretty much self-taught, plus I did take a brief course in mindfulness which included mindful meditation. But I'm sure there are good books and websites out there. A search on Amazon might be helpful, or just a Google or Bing search. Give it a try if you feel it might help you! It might not just help your writing, but you're whole sense of well-being. That's what it definitely does for me, and I'm grateful for it.

4 comments:

  1. Wow, I'm so jealous! I can barely stay grounded. I can see how regressing would be great for writing, never mind the calm, receptive state.

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    1. It is pretty neat, Rhea, and it definitely helps with my writing. You should see if you can get to know a little something about meditation! You might surprise yourself and find that you can do it and do it well! :)

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  2. Hi Emily, I totally agree that meditation is not only a great way of stilling (and focusing) the mind, but it has many benefits for creativity. When we're fully present, we see and understand more, and are more open to possibilities and change. I'm biased, of course, because I too meditate regularly.
    I scribbled something about it a little while ago - http://www.strictlywriting.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/no-place-like-om.html

    Derek

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    1. Thanks for your reply, Derek! I'll check out your blog. I think we're the lucky ones--those of us who meditate and incorporate it into our lives and writing.

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