bridges

I've always liked railroad tracks
they're like a bridge
between worlds
romantic
anachronistic
hardly in use
anymore
like rainbows that stretch
from here to the sky
but you almost never see
where they begin
& end
in this place I call home
I see trees everywhere
except four places:
ocean
powerlines
highway
&
railroad tracks
all a means
of getting somewhere
all disappear
into a sort of vertigo
these are the only places
I see the horizon.

Images and words © Jenna Pope 2018

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write on

How lucky we are to be literate! Alive on paper! Free to scrawl, scribble, ink, jot, scratch, type! Writing is freedom. Literacy is liberty. To invent, to let the mind wander, to explore the last human freedom. Does your blood flow in ink? Does your heart beat in keystrokes? Does your speech only barely do justice to the sprawling wonderland behind your eyes? Write on, fellow writer. Write on.

self-discipline vs. fun

How do you balance adulting with what you love to do?

If you’re like me, your immediate association to the phrase “self-discipline” is “ugh.” And yet I’ve learned that without self-discipline, life is just plain harder than it needs to be.

Self-discipline should never involve punishing yourself or denying yourself something you love. But it does mean doing things you don’t want to do.

You do those things because you value the outcome.

Short term pain, long term gain.

And the more you’ve practiced, the less “pain” every time you do it.

This quote puts it perfectly:

“Do something every day that you don’t want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.” -Mark Twain

With practice, you can beat resistance. Work smarter, not harder. Break tasks up into small chunks! If you hate doing dishes, set a timer for ten minutes. Or five. Whatever you can stomach.

If you’re dreading going to work, remember you only have to get through today. One day at a time. You’ll deal with tomorrow when tomorrow comes.

Fulfilling responsibilities (“adulting”) and having fun have a special relationship: each makes the other possible. If you don’t go to work, clean your house, or care for your body, you won’t be able to do what you love. The momentum you build getting the adult things done helps get the fun things done, and vice versa.

Remember: we all have to “adult” when we don’t feel like it, and nobody does it perfectly. But the more you can break tasks up, reward yourself, and remember why you’re doing them in the first place, the easier it gets. I promise.

why I deleted my blog…and started again

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Four or five -ish years ago, I had the urge to start blogging.

One of those nagging longings that stuck around in the back of my mind so long, I knew I had to take action.

I found the perfect name scrawled in purple graffiti on a harbor pier and located its origin in the poet Rilke: Face to Face with the Sky.

I started a Tumbler.

It went nowhere.

A year later, I discovered Word Press, and launched Face to Face with the Sky again.

That also went nowhere.

My content sucked. It lacked focus. It lacked depth. I wasn’t sharing what was real and on my heart.

Another year went by, and my mental health, which I have struggled with all my life, was deteriorating.

Writing became my refuge, scribbling and typing my solace.

I started another blog, The Wishing Well, focused exclusively on mental health. In one year I had over 500 followers and lots of activity on the blog. The content was good. It was real. I was sharing what was on my heart.
So what do you think I did?

I deleted the whole thing.

Steven Pressfield wrote in his wonderful book Turning Pro about migrant workers who “rode the rods,” or stole away on trains across America. The migrant workers have a saying about abandoning one place and moving on to another: “pulling the pin.”

Train cars are attached by a single “pin” holding together their joined parts. Pull it out, and the car rolls away, no longer attached to the train.

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve “pulled the pin,” or completely bailed out of things in my life.

When it comes to writing, I don’t want to do that any more.

Fall seven times, get up eight.

Start a blog seven times, keep it up eight.