Business impact analysis slash team-building at Rizal broke camp on time. 1PM and Sir Romel and three other office mates were on-board an automatic transmission sedan, braving Saturday afternoon C5 traffic to Taguig. It was 2:30PM already but we were still just in Ortigas. I won’t make it on time, I told myself. I can’t throw tantrums at how slow we were going as Sir Romel was just too kind to drop me off at Kidzania. Carrying two bulky weekend backpacks, I managed to make it before 3PM at (The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf) CBTL writing workshop called “Word Walk: Writing Inspired by Walking” would be held.
I won a slot for this workshop, by the way. My entry was chosen by CBTL as one of the top 20 submissions. The mechanics was to “Just post any short writing that you created spontaneously, along with a photo on Facebook or Instagram. ” This is part of CBTL’s Brew Your Best Year campaign which I later on found out to be a community as well. I was so thrilled to have won a slot! This will go out as one of life’s little triumph, haha.
Lovey was the speaker of this CBTL Writing Workshop. I don’t have prior knowledge of her nor of the Art of Movement website she has built. I also didn’t know that she’s one half of a collaborative passion project, The Echoes, which already had its exhibit! But it doesn’t really matter. Who I needed to know was the Lovey in front of us at that moment and if inspiration is the name of the game, she definitely delivered.
It was an afternoon of a meeting of minds, anyway. Impressions that only mattered were the impressions made at that moment and there I was with my newly chopped ombre hair doubting what erred my mind and made me shell out thousands of bucks just to look intentionally-not-put-together. Then suddenly I was seated beside a red-head and across me was a lass with hair dyed in its full striking-blue glory and yet on another table is another confident blonde and tattooed woman. There I realized, awkwardness may not be necessary. I belong here. Definitely belong here.
Part I.Intro to Word Walk & Understanding Your Writing Style
Trust that the words will come. In between my enthusiasm in this new experience and of daydreaming and of still mourning whenever a slightest mention of “lover” is uttered (Lovey compared it to a light bulb), this advice repeatedly mentioned and purposely at that, struck me the most from the workshop’s Part 1.
And then we were asked, “Why do you write?” And volunteers willingly shared their own reasons for being. I answered in silence:
For clarity? You know those moments when you’re confused with lots of things going on in your head all at the same time? I’ve had that – a lot of times- and when I write my thoughts down, I can miraculously tell myself my answer, my own logic, my truth. I was surprised by this on the first few times until I reached the point that I had to grab pen and paper or my laptop whenever I am troubled and I don’t know what to do.
Why do I write?
Journal writing is a form of prayer for me,too. My deepest conversations are with the Lord. For now, let me just leave it at that.
Next question was, “How do you write?”
When we were asked to introduce ourselves at the start of the workshop, I mentioned that I write for two parish publications and as part of editorial brouhaha, articles have deadlines.
So how do I write?
I cannot force me. I can spend hours trying to pull the words but when inspiration strikes I cannot force it to go away as well. It has to be quiet as well. Or it can be noisy like in coffee shops just as long as I can feel like I am alone. My style is as my blog’s name, Journalyn, which is a mix of my plain name and journal after my journal-style of writing.
For the first activity of this CBTL writing workshop we were tasked to: Write about anything. We were first given 13 minutes, cut off to 10 as 13 proved to be long. Just let the words flow and following my take out, trust that the words will come.
And so I wrote on the brown notebook CBTL provided us:
I’m at awe! I’m now amongst people who are different from me, living different lives, having different jobs and yet they’re very similar to me, too. We love writing! It’s always nice to meet people you can relate to, people who doesn’t think being deep is a crime, and that you’re not really weird. Great to hear the speaker said that she always have mess inside her head because inside mine there’s a lot of clutter, too. And yes, I write for very deep, personal, and even spiritual reasons. Sometimes I write to put some sense into other people’s head. But sometimes I write to put sense to my own, too.
And it was true! 13 minutes is a long time. For the remaining and even exceeding time overlapping Part 2, I was still writing:
I’m gonna find a new place. I will walk away from that room where I cried the bitter-est of cries. I’m trying to rebuild myself and going back to that same bed, pillow, and walls every night just won’t help. I was able to find a better job. So I’m gonna find a new condo. Then I will find myself a new love.
Part II: Discovering the Concept Behind Wu-wei
Wu-wei is a state of mind and if ever we would have to answer exams someday, here are the key words: no trying, effortless, unself-conscious, in action, spontaneous, effective.
Youtube clips were played demonstrating wu-wei. Wu-wei is basically “non-doing”, an action that does not require struggle or excessive effort. Each artist has their own way of being in this state. Some undergo fasting and some like what we did that afternoon, use walking.
Wu-wei to me, then, is fearlessness. It’s throwing inhibitions away so you can collect your purest truth and let it be expressed through your writing or whatever artwork or whatever task worth doing. So it’s okay not to side on the perceived right? To sometimes be inaccurate if inaccuracy could tell more? To not play by the rules once you have learned to master them? To not be perfect? To not even think at all? Or shall I add, even if no one would appreciate? Even if it will be criticized? C-o-o-l!
Part III: Application of Word Walk- An Exercise on Walking and Writing
Rowie was my walking buddy. She’s an English teacher who successfully finished MA already and is deep into poetry. Together we walked around the Kidzania building along with other attendees then were asked to write about anything again, to see if walking will create a difference in fetching the words.
Here is my result.
The Right Path.
Which road should I walk on? It will for life be a question I would have to ask myself everyday and re-assess again and over again.
Maybe that question isn’t meant to be answered. I may choose to walk this direction one day, only to find myself lost, trying to make a u-turn, then set to go round and about, spend hours up to years wondering if I really got lost or I was already on the right track the first time.
Maybe there isn’t a destination after all. Maybe what we have to walk on is that road which will have no other purpose but to keep us on asking “why?”. Maybe it’s the same road which will lead us to our soul, to our self hidden but is with us all along.
Someday I’ll know what all the steps I took were for. For now, I’ll give myself the freedom to enter that state of mind, of trying not to try, walk through paths where the Lord guides and occasionally write to leave doubts and fears behind.
Past 6PM and the CBTL writing workshop had ended. This time I had to brave EDSA’s Saturday night rush. Inside the cab, with random thoughts running from my head to my android’s Memo, heeding Lovey’s advice to keep a handy notebook (in my case a cellphone) to jot down to whenever the words flow, I knew I was able to learn a lot. I went home inspired, less afraid of perfectionism, and mind-ready to brew the best years of my life with writing.