Friday, January 15, 2010


here is my friend and my sweet patootie exerting themselves
with joy!

The fourth paramita is Exertion. Whenever it is spoken of in the texts it is connected to joy. It is not, therefore, the paramita of drudgery. When we are writing from an ego-bound place it is hard to feel the joy - we may feel pleasure and satisfaction and be filled with hope (and therefore fear which is always hope's companion) and somehow we forget that we have CHOSEN to write - no one has put a gun to our head. Though I have thought it would be great to hire someone to sit outside my writing room with a gun and a smile on their face "not coming out until you've finished" but I digress. When we start to put the practices together the exertion is natural and joyous. We wake up and say to ourselves that there aren't enough hours in the day for what we want to do.
To practice exertion, we must go beyond what we think we are capable of. When we do that with generosity, with discipline and with patience for our fits and starts - we will feel tremendous joy.
A cautionary note - please be advised that the paramitas don't come easy -they are practices and all of us will find some easier than others. Pay attention to those that are most difficult for you - that is fertile ground to plough. And don't disparage yourself as you practice. Just gently remind yourself of them from time to time. It is very helpful to write about them - have your characters struggle with them. We all do. And when you hit the zone or sweet spot with them, you will know because it is just like hitting the sweet spot on a ski hill or running a marathon or figuring out a math problem or putting a doll together and seeing it works - you will feel it in your body - grace!


Stacy Post said...

Deep thoughts, Jan! I practice yoga (originally for stress relief) and remember how the first few times I didn't "get" it, but then, I came to crave the silent meditation at the end. Cheers to the sweet spot! I'm always amazed at how fast the time passes when I exert joyfully. Namaste!

Galen Kindley--Author said...

I'm usually peaceful and comfortable when I write. It's kinda like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. A challenge, but fun. Like Stacy, I find time almost doesn't exist when truly, "in the zone," or, the sweet spot.

Best Wishes Galen.
Imagineering Fiction Blog

Helen Ginger said...

I do not need someone with a gun outside my door to make me keep writing. What I need is a maid out there cleaning house and cooking dinner.

Straight From Hel

Jan Morrison said...

Stacy -namaste back at ya! Yep, that's it all right.
Galen - I like the image of the jigsaw puzzle, I know exactly what you mean.
Helen - oh a maid! Like Neil Young sang " a (wo)man needs a maid" How I've longed for a wife in my life. A fifties wife who just wants everything to be calm and peaceful for her writing partner. Ah, yes. Or a guy with a smile and a gun. Either.

Elizabeth Bradley said...

This post reminds me to put more into my exercise routine. I need to put out more effort. Thanks.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I need Helen's maid!

I love this idea, Jan. The more exertion we put into something, the bigger the reward...of joy!

Mystery Writing is Murder
Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen

Jan Morrison said...

Well Elizabeth 1 - I wasn't thinking so much of that but what the hey!
and Elizabeth 2 - yes, we all need Helen's maid. Or our own maid - our own inner maid who we can just turn on a few times a day, pretend we are lolling about or working on our novels and zip around doing maid like things. When I lived alone for a longish time (sure seemed long) I would get up on a Saturday morning and rush out to buy a good coffee and the Saturday newspaper - rush back, get into bed and pretend someone had brought them to me. Seemed to work but I was addled with lonliness so who knows.