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Zen Peacekeeper.

Change-Maker.

Story-Teller.

Yoga-Guide.

Action-Amplifier.

Courage-Cultivator.

Story-Teller.

Honour thy teacher. Honour thyself.

Thursday, August 15, 2013 by Marianne Elliott

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When your teacher asks: Have you been writing? Tell her the truth.

Tell you have been writing. Finally, despite the resistance and the struggle, you have been writing.

And then, if you are brave, tell her that your writing is still as bad as it ever was.

If you are really brave, admit that the reason the writing still stinks is because you are still skirting around the edges of your practice. Still starting and stopping, and starting again. Still unsure of the point of it all. Still waiting for millions of people to buy your book and thereby prove that you have something worth writing about.

Tell her that what finally got you writing again was the memory of sitting in the zendo with her. The burst of fear you felt every time she said ‘Ten minutes, go!’ and the exhilaration, frustration or agony that followed, as you moved your pen over paper. As you wrote your way to the centre.

Or don’t say any of that.

Talk to her about death, instead. About the moment you realised you were ready to die, and how everything changed after that.

Or talk to her about love, family, the church, therapy. Talk about your parents and about hers.

In the end it doesn’t matter what you talk about.

What matters is that seeing her reminds you why you write.

What matters is that you write.

What matters is that you do whatever it is that brings you home – over and over again – to the clearer view of yourself, of the world, of the human heart.

What matters is that you do whatever it is that gives you the courage to keep going.

To keep the faith. To honour thy teacher. To honour thyself.

With thanks to my many teachers, and especially, today to Natalie

Marianne and Natalie Goldberg, photo by Kevin Moul

 Photo by Kevin S Moul 

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