She introduced me to a world of wild mind and free writing and Zen and spiritual engagement and arty-hippy Taos and living with great presence and freedom.
To my burgeoning suburban teen self, this was a huge eye- and mind- and heart-opener. It changed my form.
It’s interesting reading her most recent book, The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life with Language. She has clearly grown, matured, stripped down, and settled over the years, deep in her dual practices of writing and Zen. So have I in my own way, so reading this book feels like Natalie and I are old friends meeting in a different place.
Here is a one-page chapter I keep coming back to:
“Seven Attitudes of Mindfulness”
“Mindfulness means to be aware, awake. To be alive, attentive, receiving as we move through our day. Not brittle, blind, disjointed, out-of-touch, stressed, nervous, excited – or at least aware of these states and even having a bit of compassion for ourselves. This list is a reminder of another way to be in the world – really a relief, a way out of distress.
3. Beginner’s mind
7. Letting go
“These seven attributes are the state of mind advantageous for writing, sitting, walking. Also for approaching your employees, your boss, friend, lover, enemy. A way to carry yourself. And we can so easily forget. Put the list on your refrigerator.”
I haven’t printed it for the fridge yet, but I think I will. How about you?