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Thursday, August 27, 2009

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Notre Dames des Victoires, Quebec

Did you know there was a sequel to the Artist's Way, an "intermediate" course for people who are doing their art? Neither did I. It's called Walking in this World, and I'm listening to an abridged version from (Did you know about You should.) I hate abridgments, but I don't have time or attention span for the workbook right now, so I'll settle for the gist.

So far, it's reminding me of all kinds of things I'd sort of forgotten. Like the power of audacity, how the universe inclines itself toward daring like a satellite dish toward a clear and strong signal. I shouldn't need reminding. In the time since I began this blog, my life has been manifest evidence of that truth. I've been going back through my archives a lot in the shaping of this book and I come across posts that make me cringe. I've really put it out there sometimes: hope, hurt, fear, desire. Did I really put out an a.p.b. for my dream agent and editor? And did I really pray that I wouldn't have to go get a job, even as I was getting form rejection letters and our home was about to be foreclosed on?

Gah, says the inner critic. I can't believe you did that. Let's take it all down when the book comes out, and hope no one remembers what a dope you were.

But the dreams came true. The prayers were answered.

Well, don't push your luck.

I don't think it was luck.

The book could be a flop.

I know.

There are others who are more deserving of the opportunity.

Without a doubt.

And you're fat.

Thank you, that will be all.

I believe in the law of attraction, though not in the way The Secret describes. It's not as simple as cause and effect. But something shifts when you say what it is you really want. Things start happening. I'm beginning to think that the internet has a way of amplifying those signals. All around, I see people emboldened to "put it out there": plucky life lists, passionate opinions, audacious schemes. I think of these posts as little down payments. They leverage big dreams. And not just for one dreamer. Lives are being changed. It revises the idea of what is possible--what, really, is asking for too much?

I bet every one of those posts were composed while an inner critic shrieked "Don't you dare!" They dared. So should everyone dare to get behind their dreams. Why you? Why not you? To paraphrase the guy who paraphrased Goethe*, whatever it is you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. And maybe blog it.

*The full quote is "Whatever you do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it." Apparently, Goethe never wrote it. But as they say with regard to the authorship of Shakespeare, whoever did was a genius.

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Blogger Juliet said...

I love this and it's such a good reminder. Have been circling around "starting" something myself and haven't quite gotten to the point of movement yet. This just reminds me I need to just go for it.

Looking forward to the book coming out - can't wait to read it!

11:48 AM  
Blogger Jomama said...

I just read your referenced articles about the hard financial times you have survived. I've been there, when I took 5 years to build a business (not writing related) of my own. Much family and marital stress later, I licked my wounds and went back to corporate life. I've been happy with that decision, and my writing, crafting, other creative pursuits fit into the "spare" time when I can manage it.

I know how hard and how terrifying it can be to pursue and live a dream like that. God Bless you and always keep you in plenty. Faith should be rewarded.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Lindsay said...

Gahhh inner critics are such beeyotches. Totally chuckled at the obligatory 'and your fat' remark. Stupid inner critics. They all say that.

3:45 PM  
Blogger Loren Christie said...

Best wishes with your book. I just finished reading The Right to Write by Julie Cameron, who also wrote The Artist's Way. Great book about writing.

4:13 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Great post, and a deep, deep reminder for me. Thank you so much.

6:40 PM  
Blogger Jessica @ A Bushel and a Peck said...

This was a kick in the pants that I desperately needed. Off to plan my boldness. I can do it.

8:13 AM  
Blogger Rowena said...

Boldness. Yes. I think I have taken the steps to begin achieving what I want, but I have been too timid to really be bold in my goals. I back off once I start getting close. Afraid to be made a fool of. Afraid that people will know what I really want and have them watch me fail. Afraid that I won't be able to handle it once I get my dreams? Afraid of the power of my own dreams? What if they go beyond what I envisioned.

But fear is a block to boldness. Must learn to be BRAVE, to get beyond the fear to the other side of boldness, to the other side of living.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

When Kyran and I were involved in the high drama of our cross-continent early courtship and it was looking like things were falling apart for good, I came across a passage in a book I was reading:

"Fortune Favors The Bold"

That night, I did something bold, things turned around and here we are today.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Kyran said...

THAT was crazy. And I love you for it.

10:26 PM  
Blogger PtCakes said...

I'm always saying, "Be careful about what you pray for," for those words ring with truth time and time again.

After recently published my first novel, Forever Yours, I am continually surprised by how the line between novel and life blurs. Time and time again, I see events in the real world that plant me back in Sarah's world.

Life is full of surprises.

If you are interested in reading an excerpt here is the link.

Patty Hebert

1:48 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

This is a wonderful post! I feel encouraged and it comes at I time when I desperately need it. Thank you.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Laurie said...

You were an early inspiration to me, when you didn't know it. I agree with so much of what you've written here. I looked around this summer and realized that just by showing up I'd allowed some cool things into my life. I need to be mindful - there is a lot left to do yet, other things that I really need to visualize and help to come true.

Thanks for this again today. It helped a lot. I cannot wait to read this book.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Von said...

This is GOLD! I loved the inner critic dialogue - I think mine graduated from the same University of Undermining as yours. I am toying with the idea of just casually mentioning to people that I want to write to see if it starts to sound less preposterous. But then I might have to do something about it....hmmm. Wishing you less distraction and more joy in the process. Von

10:58 AM  
Blogger HaikuKelly said...

I love the image you've paired with these words. It's perfect.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

I really like this post. I live with chronic illness and even started a blog about it. But I find myself not wanting to write for THAT blog because I don't want to think about being sick. Maybe I should have started a health blog??? Anyway, your post encouraged me to dream more about healing and put it out there.

I also would love to write a book. It's been a dream (or a knowing) of mine since I was in high school. Not that I've ever been at a lack of fodder, but now I might have the right perspective for it. Congratulations on your book and looking forward to reading it.

10:00 PM  
Blogger Slurryoffagrape said...

Yup, there really is something in this..... I’ve committed to things in the past without knowing how to do it, where to get the materials, and sometimes without thinking about the costs. These were as often as not practical things, motorcycle rebuilds when I was young, had few tools, then practically rebuilding a house when I was young and married and penniless, (although the marriage didn’t survive that!) etc.

I can remember when I was banned from riding as a young man (motorcycles…… I was a very bad boy…. still am too). I rented a lock-up garage in the middle of Taunton (Somerset, in the UK) with no electricity, so no lights, and no power for even an electric drill. I used the time being ‘off the road’, back in the super-hot summer of ’76, to strip, rebuild and recondition the 850 Norton Commando I had back then.

I had to walk quite a way to work, then on to this garage after work for a few hours on the bike in this garage until dark, then miles back to my digs (lodgings), to repeat the whole lot again in the morning. I carried all the wood to make the bench across town on my back, and had hardly any tools to make the bench up. I also used to regularly walk and (usually unsuccessfully) hitch something like ten miles each way to see my fiancé at the time.

What I’m taking a long time to get to, is that my Father visited me fro Cornwall, and when I showed him the bike completely stripped, and with only a few weeks to get it back on the road before I had to be out of the garage, he was pretty unenthusiastic about the likelihood of me getting it finished in time. He was an aircraft airframe engineer, and had bikes himself, and therefore the experience to know that what I was doing was ‘impossible’. I was young and therefore didn’t know this, and so was just hurling myself at the problems as they occurred, and believe me there were many. There was no plan involved at any time whatsoever, just a bucketful of youthful optimism and energy.

You know what? Yup, you guessed it……….. I finished it with a day to spare. :o)

Completely finished and sparkling in the sun on the day I got my license back. Life, the Universe, the Cosmos, God, whatever you want to call it, just lined everything up that I needed to achieve this, and that happened with absolutely everything I ever did back then. Not that it wasn’t ever a struggle, quite the opposite, but nothing ever went wrong enough to make me fail in anything I attempted, and I was known for attempting more than most.

Nowadays I know many things are actually impossible, and so guess what?

Yup, I don’t even get started. I get defeated at the first hurdle, and generally am a shadow of what I was when I was young, or younger. Despite knowing I should just ‘go for it’ and to hell with the consequences, I don’t. It’s heartbreaking to write and admit this to the world, but it’s unfortunately it’s true.

There are other reasons besides knowing it’s often ‘impossible’ for being as beaten these days, and I won’t go into it all, but suffice to say, the stresses of work, and being at the mercy of horrible people there along the way, have taken their toll.

It’s product is called Depression. I call it being Broken.

Anyway, the point is that I know it’s true that there is great power in committing to things with no obvious or planned ‘get-out’, ……… if you have it in you still to launch yourself into projects that seem too difficult at first glance, and have the energy to do it………. then JUST DO IT!!! :o)

Things really will line up to somehow ‘help’ you achieve your goal once you’ve crossed a line and really committed and passed a point of easy return.

Strange but true.
Kevin. :o)

11:49 AM  

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