Think about it.
We humans like very much to point the finger outwards when things in our lives aren’t going exactly as we’d like.
Have you noticed that?
You’re getting fat because your job is stressful and doesn’t allow time for any kind of physical activity. It has nothing to do with shoving piles of restaurant food in your mouth and driving to the corner store. No, no! It’s out….there.
Your relationship busted up because your ex is emotionally stunted and refused to do anything to help the relationship. It had nothing to do with your sitting, glazed-eyed, in front of the TV for hours playing video games instead of helping a bit with the housework. No, no! Again, out…there.
You have no friends. Nobody calls you or asks you to do things. You’re so alone. Of course it has nothing to do with your refusal to reach out to others, or that you’re a compulsively negative, unpleasant human being. No, no! Go ahead, guess where. You’ve got it! Out….there.
How many of us actually stop and take a cold, hard look at what we’re doing to help create the painful situations in our lives? How many of us actually have the courage to look truthfully and admit to our contributions when we see them? Acknowledging that you have a large part to play in your own misery feels like a heart-stopping, stomach-clenching shot in the face with a pail full of cold water, but is has to be done, folks, if any real change can take place in your life.
Go ahead, take a look.
Trust me, it only gets better from here.
My real work began the day the light turned on in my head and I realized that I was an abusive partner. I was using the circumstances of my life as a (weak) excuse for my horrid behaviour. I was dealing with my own abuse history. My Dad was chronically emotionally unavailable. I suffered from depression. I thought I might be gay. Blah, blah, blah. Admittedly, all very stressful things to contend with, but as an excuse to use my partner as an emotional punching bag? About as useful as saying, “I shot the guy because I didn’t like the weather.” There was no valid excuse for my behaviour. True, I was acting unconsciously up until the time consciousness smacked me in the face. Then there was no going back. It was a terrifying and nauseating feeling to realize I had been as abusive as my own abuser, only in a different way, and it was the best thing to ever happen to me.
If, according to you, your life sucks right now, I encourage you to take a deep breath, grab that mirror, sit down and have a hard look at yourself. What are you doing to contribute to the muck?
Here are some of the muck-stories I’ve heard:
1) There are no good available wo/men to date. Really? Is this true? Beyond the very easy question of ”Have you put yourself out there,” I encourage you to dig a little deeper. How available are you? Are you clear and open to the possibility of love, or are you still hung up on, and bitter about, all the things you believe your ex did to you? If you’re even a little bit hung up, my friends, you are not yet single and available. You are still dating the ghost of your past partners. Break up. Don’t you think it’s about time?
More interestingly, ask yourself if you stand in this world as a quality partner. If you were a stranger looking in on you, would you want to date yourself? Do you have the kind of personality and attitude that draws people in, or repels them? If you wouldn’t date yourself, you’ve got some work to do. Become the partner you wish for. Develop and harbour those qualities within yourself.
2) I wish I had a friend to hang out with, but no one calls me or asks me to go places. The friends I do have are all into games; nobody communicates. When was the last time you asked someone out for a coffee, or invited them over to your place just to chat? Have you initiated contact with someone in your life just to see how they’re doing? Are you playing games with the people in your life, dropping little emotional bombs on their doorsteps and then running away? Are you communicating with your friends? Honestly, are you?
As you did before, ask yourself if you would have yourself as a friend. Are you the kind of person others would like to befriend? Are you warm, approachable and engaging? Do people feel safe and energized in your presence? Are you able to reach out, to communicate, to give? If not, and again, you have some work to do.
3) I can’t stand drama, but I have so much of it in my life. :) Do you really hate drama? I mean REALLY? I used to have a good deal of drama in my life, although I lamented that I couldn’t stand it. It took some doing, some gluing myself to the spot until I could see that I sucked drama towards me just as powerfully as my lungs suck air. I used drama as an excuse, as a cover-up. I used drama to hide my fear of doing the work I wanted to be doing. I used it as a way to avoid the painful reality that I was dissatisfied with the quality of the relationships in my life. I created a whirlwind of drama when I felt bored or stagnated in my life instead of creating art. I used it as an antidote to depression instead of working to figure out the root cause of my depression. I used drama like a drug to anaesthetize myself, to numb me out so I didn’t have to actually make any changes in my life.
So, from one who has been there, I ask: For what purpose are you using drama? I’ll bet the farm that you’re at the centre of that maelstrom, conjuring up the forces to keep you from seeing something you don’t really want to see, or to get in the way of your doing something constructive about an uncomfortable situation.
What are you avoiding?
4) My life would be so much better if… Would it? If you sincerely looked into yourself right now, is your internal environment receptive, even slightly, to things that are good, or are you committed to seeing nothing but the dark side of life? Because, let me tell you, if you are hanging strong to the idea that the glass is perpetually half empty, there could be a conga line of good fortune parading in front of you, and you will smack it away as if it was an annoying insect.
Try this instead: My life would be so much better if I realized how good my life is right now. My life would be so much better if I realized how much I actually have. My life would be so much better if I learned how to say thank you for simple wonders and small mercies. My life would be so much better if I realized I’m here because of the decisions I’ve made so, if I don’t like it, I can choose differently and create change. My life would be so much better if I allowed my life to be so much better.
It hurts to take an honest look at yourself, to see where and how you create your own misery, but it’s the only way to freedom. To skitter around trying to change external circumstances, things over which you have no control, is positively futile and will only lead to exhaustion and collapse. You cannot change the world; you are not that powerful. And the world owes you nothing. But you can change yourself, and maybe you owe yourself a little bit of peace. The only way to do that is to look deep into the looking glass and to fall in. There is magic in that space and your world will never again be the same. You wanted change, right?
Believing in your ability to float,
It was a year ago, April 1, that I made the difficult decision to drop one day of work at the office and to, instead, devote that day to my writing. The plan was very clear: create pieces, enter them into contests and work to get them published. I can say with pride that, but for a few days here and there, Wednesdays have become my writing days. My loved ones have made the transition with me (Thank you so much!) and now support the time I spend locked away in my room. While I may have “lost” a day’s pay at the office, I gained an extra teaching day and have managed to essentially fill my weekday classes; therefore, nothing, really, was lost. After a relatively short time, I got to spend more time in my life getting paid to do what I love. Amen.
Today another one of my pieces was rejected. That makes for a 100% rejection rate. One year later, not one single piece that I consciously put out into the world has been accepted by an outside source. And still I write on. I remember sitting with my teacher in a private session as I began the process. She was questioning how I thought I would manage any rejection of my work. I recall saying, with absolute calm and certainty, that I would be okay. I knew that, just because some judge in a contest did not choose my work, did not mean my work was crap. There are all sorts of reasons for a rejection and, so long as no one was nasty to me, I would be just fine. One year later I can honestly say that all really is well.
The whole experience has been very interesting and has provided me with a number of learning experiences. I was approached by an online publication to submit poetry on a regular basis. In questioning one of their policies, I discovered I was not particularly fond of their philosophy nor their style of communication. That experience allowed me the wonderful opportunity to tell a publication that their product was not a good match for my work–I got to reject them…and it was fun. I have also learned that the whole process of submission destroys a bit of something for me. Adding an element of competition to my creative life gets me feeling like a crab in a bucket filled with other crabs dragging each other down as they try to reach the top. That’s not why I started doing this. I started because I needed to, because, without feeding my relationship with the written word, I go a bit nuts and nobody likes that much. I do it for the sheer joy of creating word-pictures, and for the challenge of taking the complex mess that’s in my head and straightening it out with words. I do it because I love it, but the competition was killing that so, I’m glad it’s gone. I feel no further need to compete. I have my glorious little blog-home and, for now, that’s perfectly good enough.
If I could say something to the writers out there it would be this: Don’t let anything get in the way of your love affair with words. Don’t let the rejections stop you. Don’t let silence stop you. Don’t let others’ opinions stop you. If you need to write, write. If you love it, commit to it as you would a loving relationship. Fight for it. Nurture it. Romance it. Just don’t let it go. If you need to write, write, no matter what. And if you need to share your voice with the world, start a blog, leave notes on public benches, slip a poem inside a book in the library, just do something. You don’t need the outside sources to make your voice be heard. The establishment writers once relied upon is gone. If you need to share, self-publish, baby. Go all the way! ;)
In honour of my one year anniversary, and of all the things I’ve learned thus far, I offer the very first poem I created back in April, 2012.
Many blessings, much love, and all the support in the world for your creative ventures,
to water to wind.
stamp –presses down
– a tender pool of waves.
Wind-whisked water, warmed by sun,
nourishes the earth.
is my soul.
At the depths,
wind finds a crack and enters, filling me
Dropping to open, I
– liquid gold.