My closet on the other hand, is stuffed with clothes I no longer fit into. I go through them from time to time to decide what to get rid off, but somehow I hesitate to let these items go. I tell myself, I am going to lose that extra weight and will wear them again. Then I end up putting them back on the hanger, where they collect dust for another year.
Similarly my mind is stuffed with topics for my writing. I have a lot of ideas floating around my head. On top of that, I have a long list of writing prompts, I have collected over the years. They are meant to inspire my writing, when I need ideas. Still, there are times, I feel uninspired and the words don't flow.
Somehow, this got me thinking about the parable of the overflowing cup. I am sure you have heard the story:
The old Zen Master was serving tea to his new student. He set a cup in front of the student and started to pour tea into it. He kept pouring and pouring, even though the cup was already filled with tea. The tea spilled all over the table, and onto the student's clothing.
The student jumped up and looked at the master with astonishment: “Stop pouring!” He shouted, “Can't you see the cup is already overflowing with tea?” - “Indeed,” the master noted, “just like your mind is already overflowing with knowledge. I am unable to teach you until you let go of your preconceived knowledge and make room for new thoughts in your mind!”
If my writing feels stuck or unexciting, maybe the topics are like the old pair of jeans in my closet. Maybe they are not only outdated, but also don't fit anymore. So instead of pulling out the old list, it might be healthy to let go of them and make room for new ideas.
So I decided, I won't dust off the list of writing prompts. It is possible to free up mind space and allow for fresh ideas to inspire me. I am expanding my knowledge by doing new research. I learn new things.
When I sit and write from this open space, my mind tingles with ideas. The words flow like water onto the pages and I am again excited to write and share my stories.