Eleven Practices

May 22, 2010

CHOOSE ONE THING to concentrate on; keep it small: one symbol, one aspect, one archetypal facet, one aspect of a dream, etc. That is your portal. Keep it. Return to it daily.

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

I have had two weeks off… TWO WHOLE WEEKS… and in that time, much has been accomplished… and surprisingly, I have taken a lot of naps, zoned out while weeding and realized I was not weeding anymore – just sitting, rocked for hours and hours staring at the embers of a fire, and also just sat still, very still for long periods. Plants have been transplanted, meals prepared, laundry done, the sacred and the mundane of life woven together in such a way that I am surprised when it is midnight and another day is done and I am still awake.

I have been intensely focused for three full years – with a small break last summer – but other than that, I have been on a straight path where side paths beckoned, paths with no path called me, and yet to reach this internal goal, I had to keep feet on the path and butt in the seat… and now… suddenly, it is over, and I stand at the threshold and instead of leaping out the door, I am hesitant. My feet are now accustomed to walking on the path, and they are not sure how and where to step.

Prior to this particular journey, I had several daily practices of writing and creating and art making and processing and one by one they fell away as the PATH demanded more and more and more of me… and now I find myself wondering which, what, how, and if to reclaim any of those daily practices and what they will look like.

To complicate and enrich this quandary is the enormous slug of new material from Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Her Mother Night series is now out on CD. Her Dangerous Old Woman opus first round will soon follow. And between those two works, there must be something like more than twenty hours of oral tradition… dense with meaning… and so filled with possibility that is almost feels paralyzing.

Which brings me to this teaching from dr. e. Choose one thing. I haven’t decided what the one thing is or if I will choose one thing… but just knowing that there is some way of ordering and containing the abundance feels valuable right now.

And you – if you chose one thing? what would it be?



  1. I’m not good at choosing one thing. Too many things beckon. I don’t know how to order and contain the abundance! I truly wish I did.

  2. Me too Laurie! I have often prided myself on having seventy zillion projects going on at the same time… and I love the energy and synergy and activity… and yet there is this little sprig of something that is asking me what it would be like to do the work seventy zillion ways around *one* thing… to be an apprentice to one idea – instead of letting it all in to wash over me and overwhelm me.

    This is definitely something that has been chewing on me for awhile – the both/and of diversity and singularity.

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