The November 2008 issue of Shambhala Sun has an article written by Anne Donovan called “Through the Looking Glass,” which explores the practice of “finding clarity through story.” Donovan discusses the ability to be “intensely in the moment” that we tend to lose as adults, but can rediscover through not only reading fiction, but writing it. It was refreshing to read her take on the act of what I so often hear referred to as ‘losing oneself’ in writing. If anything, what may appear on the outside as my being lost in writing, on the inside feels like the exact opposite – I feel more that I ‘find myself’ in writing.
I felt a strong connection with Donovan’s reflection on the practice of being in the moment: “As a writer I regularly experience the strange paradox of being in the moment, fully aware, utterly engaged, yet dealing with people and situations that are not real. In fact there are few occasions in my life when I am more mindful than when I am writing. I find it hard to reconcile this with most of the teachings I have read or heard about mindfulness but I venture to propose that what makes it work is the consciousness of stepping into that other world, of accepting it in the way that one can mindfully accept stepping out into rain or sun without judgment. When I look up from my computer and see the trees outside my window, I know I am in two worlds, the ne outside nd the one inside. I step between them as I step between my own life and that of my character. I am not daydreaming in order to escape reality but to experience a different form of reality.”