Freefall

Apr 11, 2007

In January, 2005, six months before Kensington bought Passion, I took a writing course. A friend introduced me to a writing technique called Freefall.

Rather than my trying to explain what she told me, I will quote directly from the Freefall website:

FREEFALL is the technique of writing from the larger Self, beyond reach of the ego and its censors. . . .FREEFALL invokes the courage to fall without a parachute, into the words as they come, into the thoughts before they have fully formed in the mind, into the unplanned structures that take shape, without prompting, to contain them. . . . The moment when someone shifts into that deeper level is unmistakable. Everyone can hear it. As a result, in Coleridge’s phrase, “the wheels catch fire from their own motion.”

At the time, I had the push to do more than I had before, but I didn’t know what. I bought the domain name pfkozak.com in November, 2004, without a clue about what I would do with it. Being the trusting, and intuitive, soul that I am, I pay attention to these nudges as they come. The nudge to do Freefall actually felt more like a knock upside the head.

Group participation has never been my favorite thing. In fact, I avoid it whenever possible. I’m a loner, always have been. My imagination is much better company than I’ve found most people to be. The Freefall workshop required I spend three days in a very big, very old house with about a dozen other people (I don’t remember the exact head count!). I balked. But between the persistence of my friend, who happened to be one of the workshop sponsors, and my own inner head knocking from the universe at large, I caved. I said I would do it.

As luck, and the ever present synchronicity in my life, would have it, on January 22nd, 2005, New York had a blizzard. When the storm hit, we were already at the house. Effectively, the universe conspired to keep me there all weekend. We were snowed in! It’s probably a good thing. Otherwise, I may well have jumped ship.

The schedule seemed simple enough, get up, get dressed, have breakfast and write. We were not supposed to talk during that time. Staying silent sustained an inward focus, which facilitated the Freefall writing process. When we wrote, we were not to correct errors or go back and reread what we’d done. We were supposed to Freefall and not look back.

We wrote for several hours before breaking for lunch. Part of Freefall is the group dynamic critiquing the work. Our teacher and workshop leader, Barbara Turner-Vesselago, read selected pieces aloud during the afternoon. She never revealed who wrote each story. Then the group would comment on the work.

The point of the Freefall process is to break through internal barriers to get to what is hidden beyond the conscious mind. For me, this meant facing inhibitions about putting myself out there I didn’t know I had. The protective walls are torn down. If, in fact, the point of the exercise required I reveal who I am, then I had my work cut out for me.

Now, what happens when someone says, “Don’t think about a blue cow?” The first thing that pops into your head is a blue cow, right? Well, when we were instructed to step aside and let the inner voice speak, my blue cow popped into my head. I had hidden my intuition and psychic experiences from everyone except my closest friends. As I sat with my laptop in a house full of strangers, what started to come up and out were those experiences.

I panicked! There is no question that had we not been snowed in, I would have taken the first train home. But I couldn’t get to the train station. We were hip deep in snow! I took a deep breath and tried to calm down. I literally had to talk myself off of a psychological ledge. What’s the worst thing that could happen? They could think I’m crazy, or even worse, laugh at me!

Somewhere, from a place so deep I can’t define what it is, I started to type. I told my story. I wrote things no one except my husband knew. I typed until I had to stop.

When Barbara read my piece, I waited for the inevitable judgment from the group. Much to my utter astonishment, no one laughed, no one thought me crazy and no one ridiculed me. The comments were positive, and even complimentary. I couldn’t believe it! I had just revealed my deepest hidden secret to a group of strangers, and nothing bad had happened. In that moment, my fear burst like a soap bubble.

I don’t think I’ve ever spent a more utterly miserable weekend in my life! I know I’ve never spent a more important one! At the time, I had no way of knowing that six months later, I would sell my first book.

I frequently use the Freefall technique I learned that weekend in my writing. Allowing what’s hidden underneath to bubble to the surface has proven invaluable to me. I expect that’s how I will finish Take Me There. I will Freefall the end of the book.

The fear I broke through on that snowbound weekend has had deeper implications in my life. I am less fearful overall. I certainly wouldn’t be doing this blog if not for Freefall. I would be too inhibited and afraid to talk about myself this openly. Freefall isn’t for everybody, but it sure worked for me.

PF

P.F. Kozak – http://www.pfkozak.com


Add your message
(Inappropriate or spam posts will be removed)

Comments

  1. Dear P.F.,

    I am inspired by this story and thank you so much for telling it. Just getting out of the way and letting the writing come is how I created both my websites, www.ThisLushLife.com, and www.ACelebrationofCurves. com.

    Freefall: Writing Without A Parachute has been an extraordinary experience for me as well and I am certain that my writing would not be as strong without it.

    I love your books! Keep Freefalling!

    — corinna    Jun 13, 01:01 PM