When I woke out of an unremembered dream this morning, the following phrase was in my head: “All you need is two words.”
“OK,” I said to myself, “What two words are we talking about here?”
Since I began the Word of the Day Practice, I have gotten many clear messages seemingly out of nowhere that have helped me solve many problems, and besides, who doesn’t love a mystery? As Sherlock Holmes often said, “The game is afoot!”
”How hard can solving this be? I‘m a writer; I have a college degree.”
Of course, I immediately drew a blank. I fed my cat. I had coffee. I thought about the answer to the Riddle of the Sphinx. The question asked of Oedipus was, “What walks on four feet in the morning, two in the afternoon, and three in the evening?”
Oedipus correctly guessed that the answer was a human being. As a baby, we crawl; as we get older, we walk on two feet, and as an old person, we might use a cane. I thought that I was way off-topic, but as a mythology fan, I couldn’t resist finding out what happened to Oedipus. The answer was not good. His reward, if you can call it that, was winning the crown of the ancient city of Thebes and the hand of Jocasta, the widow of the previous king. As we all know, he later found out that Jocasta was his mother after they had four children together. Yikes. Had I gone down a blind alley? Maybe, but I still trusted my intuition and kept going on my quest to find the two words.
But now there was another question: why had my intuition steered me to the Riddle of the Sphinx?
Every weekday morning, I hold a half-hour Zoom meeting where we perform the Word of the Day Practice
As soon as I closed the meeting, the answer came suddenly. The two words were “thank” and “you.”
Aside from the obvious, what was I supposed to learn? I set a timer and created a Word of the Day cluster.
Once the timer went off, I circled the last word I had written and analyzed the cluster. I began at the top of the circle, so you’ll see that the first word is “God.” Then I went around the circle. When I got to the word “love,” I created a new sub-cluster around it. I noticed with amusement that my cat comes first, and I come last! There’s an old joke about dogs having masters and the cats having servants. So true!
The final word in my cluster before the timer went off was “clarity.” Everything that I believe about the path to success can be boiled down to that single word. I reviewed how I’m currently living my life and saw that everything I do is an attempt to gain clarity. I looked it up in the dictionary. One of the meanings is: “Clearness or lucidity as to perception or understanding.”
One of my morning affirmations declares that I am able to see life as it is, not as I am. However, clarity is a double-edged sword because once you see what’s really going on, it will shift how you do things. It will make it hard to stay in bad relationships; it will make it hard not to eat the right food, get enough exercise, and have a structured method of creation. I realized that for as much as I teach writers and other creators how to get their work done, some part of me wishes for a more rigid structure yet resists it. What to do? I decided to create another Word of the Day cluster.
I created a cluster around the word. “clarity.”
At the end of this, I circled the last word, which was “blueprint.”
And this is where the practice gets really fun. I asked myself, “What does blueprint have to do with clarity, which has to do with the phrase, ”Thank you?”
At this point in practice, I usually go into something else for five minutes to let all of this new information circulate. I made coffee. I petted my cat. I ordered something on Amazon. (Tip: Use a timer because hours can pass.)
Working backward, I realized that I have been trying to create a better blueprint for my life. I don’t feel that I am as efficient timewise as I could be, and creating a blueprint is a good metaphor for what I need to do. I will now work on building the “house “ of a better version of the life I already have.
As for the words Tarot, fortitude, and temperance, Tarot is a method of organized divination. Temperance and Fortitude are each cards in the Tarot deck and mean courage and moderation — two qualities that will help me achieve a better blueprint for my life!
Finally, I got the last piece of the puzzle. The reference to the Riddle of the Sphinx was about not the three ages of man, it was about the three parts of a day. That was where to create the new blueprint!
Wow. The Word of the Day Practice works!
- Draw a circle on the center of a page.
- Set your timer for two minutes.
- Write the word thank you in the center of the circle and cluster around it.
- When the timer goes off circle your last word and create a new circle on a new page.
- Set a timer for two minutes and cluster again around the word you circled from the first page. Circle the last word in this cluster.
Then ask yourself, “How do these words relate to each other?” Then go and do something mindless for five minutes, and then come back and write something. What I wrote was this:
“I can achieve better time management by using the qualities of courage and moderation to achieve clarity, which will bring me peace of mind.” I wrote this on the whiteboard and will stare at it for a couple of days until something else catches my attention.
Please let me know what your results are if you try this exercise!
All of us writers find this frustrating – sometimes you work for hours and only get a fraction of your goal written. Oh, how I’ve suffered!
There have been times when I just sat there until blood poured out of my ears (that’s a metaphor), so I decided I wouldn’t sit around and wait until inspiration arrived. I developed the Word of the Day Practice so I could create well every time I sat down to write…and it’s working!
It’s a short daily practice that will blow your mind. Everything you need is between your ears- you just need access, and that’s what I will be sharing in this webinar.
If you’d like to get control over your creativity and stop suffering, join me on Wednesday, October 18, from 7:00-8:30 pm EST via Zoom.
Professor Marilyn Horowitz