The Unrelenting Nature of Kindness {getting to the end}

The Unrelenting Nature of Kindness {getting to the end}

This year has been the most soul-bearing time of my life. I wrote and published a novel.

I couldn’t imagine anything topping the sense of empowerment that flooded my awareness the day I gave myself permission to start. That was only the beginning.

The subsequent emotional cycle of getting to the end was a spiral of aeons within centuries within decades within years, well—you get the picture. It felt like vast amounts of time stuffed into my minuscule pocket of imagination that was suddenly too insignificant to conceive of the next word, let alone a whole story.

I’m all for new beginnings; the only problem is they always have endings attached. My experience these past twelve months has taught me in the kindest and most unrelenting way that embracing the cycle of beginnings and endings is a learned behaviour. It’s an attitude of facing into the wind of imagined failure and being thrilled by the way it blows hair out of your eyes clearing your vision for farsighted inspiration.

This adventure has been an astonishing paring away of old patterns, notions and long-held beliefs about myself and my world. Writing a novel has been the container of more effective personal growth than the other paths of self-inquiry I’ve trod.

Beginnings are my way of skipping over endings. It’s an illusion, of course, but as a measure of self-protection, it works a treat! If I don’t end, you can’t judge me. Like many creativists, my psyche is wound around and through my creations so that to see one is to see the other. That’s scary stuff.

If you want a challenge, practise being kind to yourself. The more skilled I became with showing myself kindness, the more ruthless I was about getting my backside into the chair and my fingers on the keyboard.

Scared about being too stupid to start writing? Write a letter to yourself in the voice of your perfect manifestation of kindness. The language She will use will shock you! The kindest encouragement looks nothing like you think it will. It makes no effort to blow smoke into any orifice.

Sure that your draft manuscript is utter rubbish? Send it to your editor. If you are lucky like me, your editor’s voice is very similar to your perfect imagined manifestation of kindness. My greatest surprise was that upon receiving critique from my editor, I was excited, enthused, hungry for more!

When I get curious about my core motivations and sink into vulnerability—that’s when my work flows; my words capture the story in my imagination and splat it onto the page with glorious abandon.

Failure is a construct of your psyche. It is the way you keep yourself safe based on all the events of your life (real and imagined). Guess what? It’s actually like a slobbery dog in a dragon costume. Just writing that makes me shudder, but that could be due to my bone-deep aversion to slobber.

Visualise what your success looks like.

Now, visualise what your failure looks like. Scratch that—you already have that picture engraved in your mind.

Do you see? They are both figments of your imagination.

This has not been a lonely year. I have surrounded myself with a community of kindred spirits. Never has my place in the universe, my connection with everything been more palpable.  (Can you tell that I write Magical Realism?)

My best takeaway from this year as I sit here basking in the glow of a newly-published novel is this: embrace the endings with as much enthusiasm as you feel in the beginnings. How did I manage this? I nibbled my way through the cycles. I focused on the next breadcrumb on the path. Step by step, nibble by nibble.

The never-ending endings of living a life.

Do you feel like a fake?

Do you feel like a fake?

The flow of my life since becoming an indie author has been clean, clear, and exhilarating.

Consequently, my heels are digging in.

Their current attempt to slow my momentum is not as enthusiastic as previous episodes have been. Those older ones used to throw me right over the guardrail and into the bushes.

I’ve been working for a year to create a wide base from which my publishing house, Goddess Kindled Universe, can continue to grow. Though, it would not be a lie to say I’ve been building up a store of knowledge with which to achieve it, my whole life.

Has it really only been one year?

Spring is around the corner, crocuses are spearing into the world, and ancient oak trees are swelling with new buds. They never wonder if it’s time to move through the cycle, or what’s holding them back from taking the next step.

Here is a selection of the old soundtracks that have sparked up in my mind this week:

“Worthwhile things don’t come this easily.”
“You don’t earn enough money.”
“Your work’s not as good as you think it is.”
“You need to learn more about that before you can write about it.”

All of these ties keep looping over my psyche, feels like my body, too, trying to stop me from going too far. All the old ways that I’ve kept myself safe from potential failure. But, who knows if I would have failed, or not. Maybe. My heart is thumping at the thought of failure, but there is curiosity and excitement inside the beats, now.

I’m forty-four; maybe I’ve lived enough life to do the scary things, regardless.

Some of the scary things:
The last few chapters of my first novel’s first draft are staring at me.
I’m sitting on the advisory board of an editing company I truly admire.
I’m moderating the Studio space of The Creativist Club with Orna Ross, and about to go through the entire process of creativism with her, live recorded for her podcast, The Go Creative! Show.

That last one is terrifying, because it will plunge me into the middle of all the concepts I have around “financial”. Raw and vulnerable teaching moments? Tick!

I asked my girlfriend why I keep hesitating, even though I’m exactly where I wanted to be (and more quickly than I imagined was possible). Her answer?

“You think you don’t know enough.”

And, as simple as that — with soft words, spoken kindly. I started breathing, again.

Face to the sun

Face to the sun

When I’m in the middle of the devastation feeling like nothing I create is worth noticing, and I’m caught in the trance of crushing any pretentious notions of worthy endeavour I dared to dream into existence yesterday, I know it is a temporary state of being.

It has only taken me forty years to get here.

And, even though I know in my head that the cycle will continue — tomorrow, I will turn into the next phase of my particular creative flowstate; even though I have learnt the skill of pulling backwards just half a step in order to observe, to not be utterly consumed by the emotional vortex — I don’t entirely believe it.

My heart resists. My softest places whimper.

Yet, here I am, inside the tomorrow that yesterday, I was certain would be filled with the proof of my sly iniquity. The day that everyone would see through my clever disguise, which is absolute truth by the time I get to the other side of the circle.

The other side of the circle is where every awesome sparkle of my being sings with delight.

Mine is kind of a lop-sided circle, more of an oval, really. Most of the time, the awesome sauce is slathered all over my skin and I slide around inside the wonder of it all, marvelling at the magic of the universe.

Or, maybe, it is more of an infinity symbol, with the parts that make me cringe living inside the smaller loop. Yes, that feels a more apt description.

Today is one of the cusp days. The first day since mid-winter that the light and dark of the world shift in favour of the sun.

Perfect.

The reality of love

The reality of love

I don’t want to write a blog post today. The world makes less and less sense. This especially comes up when I happen to see a news headline, or a post shared on Facebook or some other social media site that slams the “real” world into my world. Does that mean I don’t live in the real world? I’m okay with that.

I’m happy to live in a world of my own creation where people love themselves and that flows out to everyone they communicate with and think about. If my purpose is constantly to drop pebbles into the wellspring of my own love, sending ripples of it out into the world, mine is a worthy existence. This is the why of my writing and storytelling.

What if you woke up tomorrow and didn’t read any news headlines telling you how many horrible events had occurred all over this tiny globe of ours while you were sleeping. What if everyone did that?

Millions of people are constantly walking through their lives, imagining the worst things that could happen. I am not immune to the dis-ease. I give the movies in my mind a terrifying soundtrack and feel the reverberation of unnamed fears shudder through my being. Would the horrors still be real to me if I had not read the instigating headline, or seen the graphic video? I don’t see how they could.

I don’t seem to be strong enough to allow the real world to flow over and around me, without grabbing onto it and making sure I am pounded senseless by its attack. That is changing, though. The last time a bomb killed many people, one of my Facebook friends was kind enough to share the news. My sadness cracked open and that was a new thing. I was not numb. I cried, mourning for a world where this is real.

This morning over my breakfast coffee, I was shown the latest reporting of reality from France. And, I am not numb.

So, I send out this tiny ripple of questioning and my gift of love. As it moves through the web and weaves its own way, I wonder … If everyone dropped just one pebble every morning, would the splashes wash reality clean.

Criticism and compliments

Criticism and compliments

Even though the feedback was excellent and the delivery of the feedback was supportive and kind, I am feeling the hit of “not good enough” today. I must do more study before I can continue with my work. I knew it! See! I have to know everything about the thing before I begin doing it. That is what the little voice in my head is saying to me while nodding “I told you so”. If you go back to my first blog post, I wrote about the flip side of this thing I’m experiencing today.

This particular “I told you so” stuff is especially effective at finding the cracks in my creator self. This gift of comment gathers up things I know are weak points in my writing. Each mention lands a seed of doubt in already softened and watered soil.

Everything is a journey. That is the main theme of my writing. The healing aspect of each journey is the supporting thread that adds colour to the cloth. Today, I’m swinging on the thread playing Tarzan. I’ve swung out of my word processor jungle and into the wide moor of instructional information. The blooming plants that stretch out over the landscape have flowers that look a lot like YouTube, teaching website, and podcast logos.

There are so many perfect flowers everywhere I look today! Each one of them better than the blooms in my home garden that appear lopsided and straggly.

It is interesting that I have made the part of my work that would benefit with tweaking the focus of this article. There were some wonderful compliments given and appreciation for other aspects of my writing expressed. Why didn’t I write about that?

Because it’s easy to shrug off success as an undeserved accident and familiar to wrap up in self-doubt. If I had written this article last night, immediately after receiving the critique, I would have made the title “The Gift of Comment” instead of “Criticism and Compliments”.

Life is a process.

“Anticipation of the journey suggests you have yet to realise that it began ages ago. You will. Healing magic is like that.” Sondra Ann 2016

Are you wise?

Are you wise?

I have been toying with ideas for this week’s blog post, specifically the feelings that create uncertainty in me. But isn’t that the case with so much of my every day? Deciding how vulnerable to allow myself to become in a given situation underlies everything. And that is normal, much of it pretty instinctive. But is it wise? Can I grow, if at every opportunity to experience growth, I pull down all shields and dig in to strengthen my defences? Defending against life is an exhausting way to live (she says exhaustedly).

Fearlessness is not the same as invulnerability, although they share some surface qualities. One has me walking, breasts thrust forward into the world, regardless of experience. The other has me head above heart, heart above pelvis, open to the experience. One feels so much safer than the other. Can you guess which one is which?

Though on the surface vulnerability appears fragile, the strength required to dive into its depth has only come to me after dealing with the fallout of many fearless encounters. I am learning how to plunge into the invulnerable parts of me; the strongest places.

This week I have been wise enough to be vulnerable. I want to understand where my natural flair for writing shines, and where I need to buff the hell out of it. I have submitted a section of my first novel for live critique by two experienced editors.

My work will appear on the Writership podcast in two weeks time. I’ve linked my previous sentence to the episode on Stitcher, to make it knee-shakingly easy for you to click over and look for it from July 6, 2016.

See you next week, I have to go now and amend my shopping list to include some polishing compound.

The Fear

The Fear

Today I have to do a thing that scares me. ‘Have to’ is a strong phrase. It pushes a number of my buttons, even without pairing it with the scary stuff. Immediately my stubborn face whips around and stares at it belligerently. And the standoff begins. Because of course I don’t HAVE to do this thing — but I really WANT to. That is the loop, the lesson, the glitch in my matrix which prompts my inner bully to notice.

Told you you weren’t up to it, you aren’t good enough yet.

My eyes burn and my throat constricts while I search for the words to explain, because creating this article brings me closer to the doing of the scary thing. It feels like the world will crack open if I go ahead. And that is true. A world indeed is about to crack open. It’s going to hurt someone, and in the process someone else is going to appear cruel and despicable. And I am going to push it even further past the line of what I find acceptable and good.

Putting myself into the bodies and minds of the characters I write is excruciating relief. Secret therapy and pacts between us fill my days as we lead, point, chase, coax, push, and drag each other through the pages of our story.

Most crippling to me is the idea that everyone will discover things about me. Every eye will read and re-read the neon letters that highlight those particular moments of the tale. In cracking open my characters, everyone will know the softest places in me to aim their cruel jibes. My bully is a charismatic fifteen year old. She is very convincing.

I have to shake my head, because not even I know which parts are me. Maybe all of it? What a fascinating person I am. My bully is also arrogant.

If feelings of fear are always greatest right before taking action, today promises to be an astonishing roller coaster ride through brightly lit humps and falls. And right there — allowing it to claim some wonder in the word ‘astonishing’, it doesn’t feel so terrifying.

Magic is like that.