Soon after 2020 dawned, I embarked on what Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, calls “creative recovery.”
I began jotting some stream-of-consciousness thoughts in longhand. Not every day. And these short essays were not always very good. That’s not the point. The point is to write, to break through whatever is stopping you from creating — whether it’s procrastination, fear or laziness.
With all of our lives dramatically changed in recent weeks with the worldwide spread of the coronavirus, I revisited my journal. The opening entry suddenly held more meaning. Here’s an excerpt:
To be able to stop time, to freeze moments, what a gift that would be. But as the years race by, the inevitable truths emerge in indelible ink, like “your permanent record” we joke about. Here’s what I know to be true:
1. So much of life is out of your control. The driver swerves in front of you. The health scare of a bad mammogram. The unkindness of others. A tornado that uproots trees and lives.
2. When you feel a lilt in your heart, savor the moment. A pure moment of happiness. A connection, a deeply human connection with another person, is magical — and perhaps the best gift life can ever bring.
3. People will alternately fill your heart and break it.
4. The only person you can change is yourself. Accept that. Don’t just give it lip service.
5. When you ask for help, the universe answers, to paraphrase my favorite author Anne Lamott. There is a God. Prayers, deeply expressed prayers, help us through the unknown.
6. Children are spontaneous, not afraid to take risks. They ask you to push them higher and higher on the swing, never afraid of tumbling out. With age, we lose our courage, and it’s a quest to regain part of whatever made us first feel carefree.
7. There’s a time to be practical, and a time to throw reason to the wind. The trick is to instinctively know the difference.
8. Life is for the living — and every day is a gift.
9. True friendships buoy the spirit and are worth more than anything you can buy. Friendship is priceless. It’s to be cherished.
10. We all need a support system. We are deeply flawed people, living life with new hope at the dawn of each day.
— Teri Rizvi
Teri Rizvi directs the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop at the University of Dayton, where she also serves as executive director of strategic communications.