I am reading Geneen Roth’s Women Food and God in anticipation of our upcoming interview. In it she quotes a Buddhist teaching that says, “Find what you love and follow it all the way to the end.”
This seems like sound advice for anyone, particularly a writer. For what are we doing when telling a story but finding what we love (the beginning) and following it all the way to—well, the end? And the operative words in this teaching, as in all writing, are the verbs: find and follow.
You might see what you love as a path, or might see it as a kind of animal. Let’s say it’s a small dog. If it were a dog you loved, you would surely be tempted to hold it. Pleasant as this would be, you cannot follow a dog you are holding – you would merely stand together and eventually the feel of the dog’s heartbeat and friendly eyes wouldn’t calm you anymore because you would still be just where you were when you found him.
So you set him down and follow. Seems like such a passive way to live, and yet there are many other dogs roaming about, and the way gets tangled with deadwood and crossroads, and it takes your full attention to keep the dog in your view. It is a great discipline, the discipline of steady trust, and requires as much practice as a trapeze artist.
Perhaps more. If we love a story we often don’t want it to end, and yet the very best stories always have the very best endings. You must trust what you love to follow it all the way to its ending. That is where the true gift lies, because at the end of everything you love is the beginning of all life.
If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual and group conferencing.