Sit down right now. Give me this moment. Write whatever’s running through you. You might start with “this moment” and end up writing about the gardenia you wore at your wedding seven years ago. That’s fine. Don’t try to control it. Stay present with whatever comes up, and keep your hand moving. — Natalie Goldberg

This post began when I took Goldberg’s advice.

This moment, I miss my mom. I miss Jansen. I miss Shelva. I miss so many people, but I’m not hollowed out by their absence anymore, not most days. My writing has filled me up.

My desk.

It used to be that I focused so much time and pain on what I didn’t have. I woke up thinking about the man who wasn’t in my life, the career I didn’t have, the farm I didn’t own — all of what God was withholding. I spent the day trying to control the situation to get what I wanted.

All the while, I was ignoring and avoiding that which I most loved – the chance to be at a page with words to spill out.

Once I surrendered, once I figured out that if I gave in and did what was before me to do, once that happened, what was missing became so small compared with what I had before me.

I slip up in this every day, every hour probably. I begin thinking about what I do not have and want. I fall back into the hollowness that I carve out of myself with my misplaced longing.

Then, I return to the cherry desk. I return to ink and paper, and I let it all go . . . to find myself filled again.

***
Today, I am filled up by
My desk that was my grandfather’s and now is aged with cat scratches and the bleach of the sun.
My journal, given to me by Caroline, who cut her own bangs this morning.
My mug, made by a student at Alfred University when my parents were first married.
A Uni-Ball Vision Elite bought by a man who loved me but just didn’t know how.
A wool blanket draped over a heater and my legs.
The images of friends and their children, a postcard of Carravagio’s St. Jerome, a photo of my great-grandparents.
A Highland Cow coaster brought from my roadtrip in Scotland with Melissa.
The opportunity to sit every day and write – “This moment . . . ” – and live from there.

What fills you up?