Reflections of a week of Mindful Writing, by Satya Robyn

Listed on May 9, 2013 in Blogs!

Chateau Ventenac, overlooking the Canal du Midi

When work = joy.

This red-shuttered building is Chateau Ventenac in the south of France. Last week, it was my office.

Kaspa and I have just returned from teaching a week of mindful writing, graciously hosted by the lovely Julia. From our third floor bedroom we could see the diamond-like contours of the Pyrenees. The grand terraced garden is stuffed with sage, bay trees, lavender & rosemary. We were fed delicious food three times a day, and the pain au chocolat were plentiful. We worked with poems and small stones and went on slow walks around the village and listened to Rumi and explored and mused and cogitated and lay happily like beached whales in the hot sun.

So did I enjoy my work?

If I said no, you might hate me. Just as well that I can say that I did. But what made the week joyful? For me, the amazing surroundings were the icing on the cake, not the cake.

The cake was being able to do the work that is important to me. The cake was engaging with the world around me as it is, not as I want it to be. The cake was learning some difficult things about myself, and getting things wrong, and knowing that I’m acceptable just as I am nonetheless. The cake is my Buddhist faith, my faith in other people, my faith in nature, my faith in love.

Just in case you’ve got the wrong idea. Real life happens in the south of France, just as it does anywhere else. As well as the sun there was a lot of rain, illness, doubt, grumpiness, sunburn, boredom and all the rest. Especially, for me, during our second silent day. There was darkness as well as light.

But I returned home to Malvern feeling privileged that I can make my living through working with people in this way. Through writing blogs like this one and running mindful writing e-courses and sharing the stories of the characters in my novels. Work = Joy.