A friend told me recently that what we do in Soul Writing has been serving them more deeply these days than coaching, therapy, meditation. They’ve been writing their way to insights that have been hard pressed to come through any other way.

Of course this isn’t true for everyone all the time; however, depending where we are in our lives, what we’re working through, and the way(s) we orient to the world, it can be quite the tool for transformation.

This moved me deeply, of course, and I suppose was in the background for me during my own writing the other morning, when I uncovered something big about a tendency of mine, unlocking a flood of compassion for both myself and my dead father. It was a day where I wrote my requisite two pages but didn’t feel finished, so I turned the page and kept going for another two. Here’s what came through.

I ran out of page but wasn’t done.

I ran out of life but wasn’t finished.

I find it impossible these days (always?) to end a piece. I have trouble saying goodbye. Ending a conversation. I’m learning boundaries but the hard stop still eludes me. Eyes always flicking to the clock to tell me when something is over because my body never would. My body gets absorbed into the moment, the person, the task. It’s either the time or what’s in front of me. Never both.

I’ve always been one of those people who is obnoxiously [to some; approvingly to others] prompt, and usually early. Pre-pandemic, when I used to go places, I would spend piles of minutes killing time waiting in the car, walking around, doing not much of anything but trying to fill the moments until the thing began, the door opened, the person was ready.

I grew up with a dad who’d have the car running in the driveway while I was still brushing my teeth; who was always itchy to depart, to get there, to depart again. We stayed on the move like grifters on the lam and yet somehow this was tied – in my mind and surely in his – to being responsible, dependable.

No, not in his! In his we were just moving, moving, getting through the day, on to the next. He woke early and slept early and through it al, like a shark, stayed in perpetual motion. In my mind doing the same meant I was doing it right. Only now do I wonder – what was pursuing him? Why did he need to keep moving? He was moved by danger; I inherited the shape but not the threat.  

Still, there is no “taking my time.” Never has been. In some pocket of my mind there is forever a beige Ford Explorer out in the driveway, exhaust emitting from the tailpipe, threatening to drive away without me at any moment. Whatever I am up to must be cut short. Whatever I need needs modification. Life moves fast and it’s on me to keep up. If not, I fail. If not, I’m left behind.

My pieces never have natural conclusions because the end comes too soon, always, and I’m never ready for it. Or I’m rushing the piece unnaturally. Get through it, get to the end, move on to the next thing. Wrap this up, even if you aren’t finished.

When have I fully occupied a piece of writing – or, for that matter, a room, a moment, a relationship, my own body?

The bottom of the page is near – another forced ending, coupled with the clock a few minutes away from my invented 7am deadline. I have no tidy conclusion, nor should I. At least I let myself go on a little longer this morning.