(I’m on week five of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. This is what came from yesterday’s Morning Pages.)
Epiphany – the sudden clarity of thought that exposes the deeper truth. I have epiphanies as I’m sure you do as well. You may have been wrestling with a problem, a decision that had to be made but each solution or choice didn’t FEEL like the truth until one moment, a light bulb came on and suddenly, your path was clearly lit.
Why did I stop publishing my work? Why did I stop working on my existing manuscripts? Why wasn’t I excited to look for opportunities to do readings, to schedule workshops? Why had my annual sojourn to the MileHi stopped inducing that giddy feeling of anticipation or excitement? Why was I feeling blocked, cut off from my passion? Why was I procrastinating on or avoiding altogether the few activities I knew would move me toward some long standing, positive, goals?
Epiphany – because my efforts to that point hadn’t resulted in what I deemed to be other’s show of acceptance, love, or admiration that ultimately was what I was seeking. I wanted my books to garner lots of fans to the point where they’d help me market my work, they’d talk about and share my books to the point where word of mouth would sell my books (allowing me to hide); I would be invited to speak to groups, asked to conduct workshops (allowing me to hide). I’d be featured here and there, gaining some level of notoriety which would then “prove” to my dad that he was wrong for not spending more time with me, for not telling me he loved me, or thought I was beautiful. I would prove to the bullies and ex-boyfriends that they were wrong for calling me ugly names, teasing me, excluding me, using me, molesting or hitting me. I would show them all that I am worthy!
I mean, look at all the people who buy my books, and listen to me when I do readings, or attend my workshops. If all of that outside attention didn’t prove it then what would?
Well, that’s not how things work out. My workshops where hit and miss with attendance, so I lost my enthusiasm for them. My first book sold relatively well despite its issues, my next two books did okay, but I was losing my motivation to keep marketing the way I had been. I didn’t realize it at the time but hindsight, I wasn’t getting the response I wanted / craved, so I’d begun to retreat. The fourth book didn’t do as well as I’d hoped but by then, I’d stopped actively marketing my work. It felt too much like begging by then. My unrealistic expectation that other’s reactions to my books / workshops / coaching would “make” me worthy, wore me down. Each failure to sell, to raise the money, to save the money, to meet the deadline, to have people show up, highlighted (the lie) that I wasn’t worthy after all. I rushed into this or that scheme, plan, idea, in hopes that it would be The ONE. Each time I fell short, not taking the time to realize the level of fantasy my expectation had reached was never going to be met by reality.
So, what did I do. I blocked. I stopped writing; stopped going out; stopped taking my walking breaks; I stopped doing anything that would allow the voice of my Muse and my Divinity to be heard. They told the truth, They exposed the fantasy. They put the responsibility for my life back where it belonged (in my hands) and I didn’t want the responsibility. I wanted to blame my dad, the bullies, the folks who didn’t think my writing was the bomb. I filled up my time with activities that didn’t do squat to move me toward my desired feelings (that ultimately are my responsibility to generate). I spent hours watching YouTube videos, hours doing spreads in my BuJo that ultimately I ignored no sooner than they were done. I kept up the schemes and plans – throwing parties I knew wouldn’t be well attended; fitness challenges, the wedding, my Count Down to 50 and its accompanying group-site and list of activities NO ONE kept up with, including myself. I did any and everything to maintain that damn lie. To be unreliable, unworthy.
Epiphany – “Healing is as ugly as Healed is beautiful”, Danielle LaPorte. I began the healing process four years ago now. I’m feeling just about as ugly as I can. Scattered. Untethered. Unsure of what to do next. Emotionally all over the place but where I “should” be. But I am healing. So there’s that.
Please, bear with me a little longer. Please forgive me. Please breathe. We’re going to get through this and we will be better for it. Thank you, I love you.