Memory Catcher

Braiding memory and imagination to craft your story.

Be in Your Body and Write From the Heart

A Heart Meditation Shows Where I End and You Begin

Lub dub. Lub dub. Through a stethoscope, I hear the onomopoetic beat. But sitting quietly alone, it is more a feeling than a sound. A steady pulsing in my chest, in and out, in and out, the rhythm of my life.

I am practicing being in my body. It’s not always easy for a writer who spends so much time in her head. It’s easier to locate my reader in time and space than it is to locate myself.

I stand and notice the weight on my feet. Is there more weight on the left side or right, on the ball or heel, on the inside or outside of the foot? I feel my pelvis, my hips, my knees. I don’t follow my breath — I feel it. Inhale, exhale. I notice a pause at the end of the exhale, before breath and life come back into my body. I feel my arms and legs. Can I feel the shape of my skin? Eyes closed, I hear birds and a neighbor’s dog. The sweet scent of lilacs takes me back to my childhood garden.

I’m becoming fluid inside my body.

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“The greatest thing you can do for yourself is to get to know yourself,” a teacher says. To know where I end and you begin and what’s in the space between us.

“Now listen to your heart,” she suggests. I feel fear at the thought. What if it’s erratic? What will be revealed if I listen to my heart?

Good writing is about connecting emotionally with our readers. Call it inspiration (breathing in, being alive). Call it intuition. This is the place I want to write from. This is the heart of the matter.

Copyright © 2012 by Laura Deutsch

Laura Deutsch is a San Francisco-based writer. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and More magazine, among others.

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