Guided Writing Sessions

Guided Writing Session Directory

Below, you will find recordings for each Guided Writing Session dating back to August 2021 when the sessions were began.

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The Imaginal Portal

Does the imaginal world feel smaller, or is it that you are on your own?

I’ve got to start with the word “imaginal”.  That slight subtlety in meaning makes a big difference in my response.  Thanks for using it.  Once you say the word imaginal, smaller isn’t possible, only smallest, or biggest.   It’s inherently superlative.  Beyond measure.

My claim that collaborative creativity can feel larger than my solo literary efforts wasn’t made in reference to the imaginal world. I was referring to simple creativity.

The imaginal has its own energy, apart from me.  Its own presence. It’s the space of reveries and lucid-dreams, as well as certain meditative states.   There’s no controlling it, just opening to it.  In it’s own way, it’s a relationship.  Of me to something more than me.  It’s spiritual.

Whereas creativity is something that I do.  My ego’s involved—both in ownership and agency.  My creation, by active imagination, is my property.  It fits in the capitalistic world of my socialization.  The imaginal doesn’t, because it’s much larger than that construct.  The imaginal is beyond possession.

What I wrote in my Tuesday piece was “I ‘m operating on a scale that is both smaller in scope ( my own life) and also larger ( in its myriads of meaning).”  

So much of what I know, I’ve learned through others, sharing.  The social version of imaginal.  Relational knowledge.  During our session, I was thinking I’m precluded from including more than self in my writing.  Now, noticing the question’s term, I can recall the sense of connection that is” imaginal”.  It doesn’t require physicality for presence.

This connection dissolves my rules.  They aren't anymore.  All that matters is what feels true.  Right now, I think my writing during prompt-time was an amazing act of ventriloquism.  Probably performed by my subconscious, trying to talk to me.  It was about the feeling of being alone.  The existential kind, where experience comes solo.  

It was telling me, once again, to slow down and sense my now as emotion. I was ignoring my fears, whimpering for attention.  With all my exploration of my unprocessed feelings, I can lose perspective of this moment, lost.  Ahead of, or behind time. 

The day I wrote was one day before my oncologist appointment.  Results day.    I feel an existential terror each time I’m tested.  It's part of remembering I’m mortal.  

It’s been three years since my diagnosis.  The first two years, tests were quarterly.  Since last January, I’m down to twice a year.  I thought it might turn rote by now.  It hasn’t.  

I can frame having fears as  simply being in a state of engagement.  At least there’s aliveness in it.  Its feelings change,  unless  you snag them,  with resistance.  

I have my agenda.  Right now, it’s to remain alive.  It’s challenging to release this desire, so I can open to what is.  When I do, I see I’ve chosen to operate as a singularity, without a partner. Perhaps unwise? 

This choice felt easier when death wasn’t a factor.  When I could tell myself I have time.  But I don’t trust these reassurances now.  My contemporaries are now dying.

Would having a partner make facing death easier?  No guarantees.  I think it’s more important for me to be present for myself.  To join myself as my own company.  Integrating instead of splitting.  Child and adult me.

The people I saw at the hospital, with someone with them, needed an other to get them from here to there.   That isn’t me.  Not yet.

I have no control of others, except by asking for what I want.  I can pursue my own interests regardless of others’ dispositions.  If, doing this, I find companions, more’s the better.  If not, at least I’ll be having fun.

I wonder if my social circle is particularly bad at intimacy.  Only a few seem like they’re in good relationships.  Most seem to be in resignations.  Many are alone, like me. Most don’t mix with each other. 

Judy is almost the only non-family member I have in-person contact with.  We sit in my backyard, under the ancient pear tree that was once part of an orchard.  We sip wine, or iced ginger-tea  and play catch up.  Just in this one encounter, so many lives are intertwined.  It’s startling to think of all those intersections. 

I notice my internal interactions.  Even though I live alone, parts of me have acted the thug to other parts.   My socialization police obsess with order and commands.  My revolution shouts “freedom” and acts out.  We battle. I’m left in chaos.  Both sides of me lose.  Each sees the other as the enemy, trying to fortify its side. I feel fragmented.  

I can re-glue myself by focusing on my present with kindness.  I miss things.  Perhaps as self-protection..  Like my anxiety last Tuesday.  Usually I video-speak, but I felt like texting.  Did part of me know I was feeling vulnerable?  Probably.  It speaks as this writing.  

My new oncologist has proved himself to me.  He understands the importance of relationship in healing.    He’s comfortable in not knowing.  He listens.  I respect him.   Dr I, my surgeon, has trained him well.  

I had a good report from the CT scan.  I’ll worry again next February.  I’ve blocked time off on my calendar.  Planning ahead.  

Dr. P took the time to talk about my life, and living with Covid.  The complexities of coming up with one’s rules of contact.  Costs and benefits. 

Emma, my granddaughter, and I are mulling over living together, for a few months.  She’s looking for a part-time job.  She comes with her best-friend, who’s also taking a gap year, working. They’re inseparable.  Much depends on job location, and spatial creativity.

Dr P and I compared the progress of our gardens. Green tomatoes are getting scarcer.  Lettuce and kale are plentiful.  Time to plant more radishes again.  I didn’t feel rushed.  We had time. He was good company.  I was good company to me too.

— Devon B

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Deleted user

Dear Devon,

I'm glad to hear that you had a good report from the doctor.  And thanks for clearing up my misunderstanding about feeling "smaller" when being creative alone.  The imaginal realm is vast, as you point out; when we enter that door, others fall away in any case, as we enter the flow of what's ours to give.  I wonder how you differentiate between "relationships" and "resignations" (an interesting distinction), and why you state that you are "precluded from including more than self in my writing." Is that true? And if so, why?

Great to see you on Zoom!  Till next time, take good care,