And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.
— Wendell Berry
And now, we must take a big, deep breath. It’s time to prepare for Reading Deprivation Week. Did you know this was coming? I’ve maybe mentioned it. It was the hardest part of the whole journey for me, the first time I did this. Every fiber of my being was horrified, stubbornly sure I would just skip this part, thanks very much.
But the more I read what Julia wrote about it, and the more I considered the deep ways that trusting her guidance had already created tsunamis of change for me, the more I realized I needed to at least try this.
So, yes.. I know. And I am going to give us all a bit of leeway, and not begin until after Memorial Day on Monday. That way, we can have our holiday, and read to our hearts’ content before going cold turkey. And that way, too, I can bring you my Card of the Week, as well as find out who is going to be wanting a reading for my World Tarot Day offer.
Still, you might be tempted to slam out of the room, never to come back here again. So let me explain what Reading Deprivation is about. You know those six exercises we just did? Did any of those activities seriously tempt you, if only you had a little more time?
Julia reveals, “This [exercise] will teach you enormous amounts about yourself – as well as giving you some free time in which to pursue the interests you just listed.”
But besides giving you the gift of time, reading deprivation is a powerful break from the words, thoughts, and views of others speaking into your head via reading. If you will take the plunge and do this, in the name of your holy growth and magical rebirth, I promise you, you will be blessed with astonishing clarity and a quantum leap in your creativity. The absolute rock-bottom point of this is that you will hear, maybe for the first time in your adult life, the clear, true voice of your Being.
Julia explains, “For most artists, words are like tiny tranquillizers. We have a daily quota of media chat that we swallow up. Like greasy food, it clogs our system. Too much of it and we feel, yes, fried.
“It is a paradox that by emptying our lives of distractions we are actually filling [the creative] well. Without distractions, we are once again thrust into the sensory world. With no newspaper to shield us, a train becomes a viewing gallery. With no novel to sink into (and no television to numb us out) an evening becomes a vast savannah in which furniture – and other assumptions – get rearranged.
“Reading deprivation casts us into our inner silence… we will be rewarded for our reading deprivation with embarrassing speed. Our reward will be a new outflow. Our own art, our own thoughts and feelings, will begin to nudge aside the sludge of blockage, to loosen it and move it upward and outward until once again our well is running freely…
“Reading deprivation is a very powerful tool – and a very frightening one. Even thinking about it can bring up enormous rage. For most blocked creatives, reading is an addiction. We gobble the words of others rather than digest our own thoughts and feelings, rather than cook up something of our own.”
So please, go ahead and ask. Rant. Let’s discuss. I’ll have more to say tomorrow, but then, on Tuesday, I am offline, books closed, Twitter silent. Frankly, it is giving me the shakes to think about it.
But I can tell you from experience, it is worth every precious moment.