I was ten-years-old when my dad first began to write Diet for a New America. It was the first book to expose the truth about factory farms, and the link between food and our planet, to a wide audience. In the five years after the book’s publication in 1987, beef consumption in the United States dropped by 25%, and my dad received more than 50,000 letters from readers, thanking him for changing their lives.
As we’ve seen in our family, sometimes writing can change the world.
We aren’t all destined to write million-copy bestsellers, of course. But we do all have a message to share, and our own unique way to share it.
I know intimately what thousands of my dad’s workshop participants have discovered. He isn’t just a great writer and social activist. He’s also brilliant at helping people to find their voice and to bring forth their creative spark. I’ve experienced and benefited from his mentorship countless times in my life. And now you can, too.
I asked my dad if he’d share an easy way to get your creative juices flowing. This was his suggestion.
Describe a “first.” You can write about your first kiss, your first spiritual experience, the first time you met someone who became important in your life — really your first anything that’s meaningful to you. You can write for five minutes or twenty minutes, or some other amount of time. You’ll know when you’re done for now.
And then, describe a “last.” You can write about the last time you saw someone, the last time you felt something, or the last time you did something that’s important to you — really your last anything that’s meaningful to you. Once again, you can write for as long as you want; you’ll know when you’re done for now.
When you’ve completed both of these writings, take a few minutes to sit with yourself, to breathe and feel and notice what you notice. Do you feel any more in touch with yourself? Are you more aware of yourself in some way?
This is also fun to do with friends or loved ones. The goal isn’t a polished piece of writing, but to spark creativity and release blocks to self expression.
Post your comments or share your experiences below. You can share what prompt you used, how it went for you, and what you learned. What’s the next frontier in your creative expression? Share in the comments below!
And if you want to go further, and take a nourishing weekend attuning to your body’s wisdom while developing your creative side, check out the Yoga and Creative Writing workshop my dad is leading with world renowned yoga teacher Katchie Ananda at Esalen Institute September 23-25. Get more info here.