By Tammy Stone Takahashi
They say that when the student is ready, the master will appear.
I think this is true not only of the student/master relationship, but of our relationship with everything we dream of manifesting in this world.
Five years ago, I had recently moved to Japan after a few years of travel in Southeast Asia and India with my then-new husband. While I had been writing all my life, one thing that had crystallized for me during this time, when I chose to—and was forced to—shed so many of my traditional identity markers, was that I am a writer, and that I shouldn’t be afraid to identify in this way. I no longer wanted to be a person/woman/editor/film programmer/even spiritual seeker who wrote, but a writer who is also all of those things.
Writing, I know now, has always been my vocation even as I embrace other passions and vocations.
It took me a long time to become comfortable with knowing this, for allowing so many aspects of self to sit comfortably within the tapestry of my writerly self, for feeling all this in my bones. And we can’t pursue anything with drive and confidence until it is lodged in there, right in the bones, the very stuff of who we are.
So what did this change? Nothing—and everything.
No, the skies did not open up amid a clap of thunder, to lavishly drop a book contract into my writerly lap amid a roar of “Go forth, Tammy. You are a writer!” It did, though, give me the…confidence? Sense of purpose? … to review my writings of late, find with surprise that poetry has become an important part of my expressive self, and seek out a publisher for my first collection of poems. This eventually did lead to a modest contract that helped me put this first book into the world.
Identifying as a writer shifted my perception in several ways.
I started writing daily poems on Facebook, a “morning meditation” of sorts that I’ve come to intimately associate with my spiritual self and my writerly craft. I also noticed that I was even approaching being on Facebook in a different way. As we know, the logarithms of Facebook are not unlike how the brain itself works, according to the adage of: neurons that fire together, wire together.”
I was suddenly in writer groups, meditation groups, groups devoted to spiritual practice, spending more time with like-minded people, all in this virtual space. Despite the new decade and our exceedingly advanced technology, this feels like a miracle.
Soon I was contributing to and even co-editing books of poetry for women writers. I was meeting fierce and wondrous humans from all over the globe, and finding affinities and compassion (what solace in these difficult times!) everywhere. And I happened to be in the right place and right time when The Tattooed Buddha was announced as a new website/blog/portal for people interested in exploring, through the window of Buddhism, what it means to be alive as a conscious, awakening, and also flawed and relatable being. It was magical. It was perfect.
I never felt anything other than welcomed and embraced by The Tattooed Buddha, and especially by its cofounder and fearless leader, Dana, in my efforts to publish my poetry as well as various articles with which I was trying to make sense of the many questions and observations running through me at this time in my life. Reading the brilliant articles of others, similarly searching, similarly observing, allowed me to connect with my own path in such a special way, as well as learn from so many perspectives I’ve never considered or been exposed to before.
It felt like coming home.
And all we want, in the end, is to feel at home where we are, in our skin, with our sangha, or community, right? I want to thank TTB, with all my heart, for being such a warm-hearted and well-intentioned shelter for me on my still ongoing journey home.
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