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.
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.
Time is like a handful of water slipping through your fingers. One moment your hand is full, and the next, it’s gone. Fleeting though it is, its touch is familiar, and curiosity gets the better of you. You watch it for awhile, eluding you. Feel it, cool, trickling over your skin. Listen to the tinkling of it dripping into the sink, the pond, the ocean. Only reluctantly do you turn away and return to the task of living.
I am alive
and sometimes, being alive sucks.
Being alive means painful feelings,
unhappy endings, stupid decisions,
and days where you just want to curl up in bed and call it quits.
But who ever said being alive felt good?
You know those times when people say
“I feel so alive?”
That’s the adrenaline talking.
And it’s only pumping in their veins
because they took a risk
and are two steps away from either falling flat on their face
or crowing in triumph.
Sometimes being alive means eating ice cream even though it’s bad for you,
or listening to someone because their story moves you
even though you’re exhausted and would much rather climb into bed.
It means days where you think “I can’t do this,”
but somehow you make it through the day
even though you doubted yourself the whole time.
It’s being with people who may drive you crazy
but who are there for you in a heartbeat.
It’s that moment when your heart is breaking
and it hurts to breathe but somehow
you look at the sun and you are broken but okay
that you know you are in the middle of a really good story.
(I wrote this in five minutes while eating a scoop of ice cream that my rational self told me not to eat but my alive self said stop that car right now and get some ice cream and sit down and breathe.
So I did.)
Love is a safe harbor
a refuge for the grieving
a shelter for the windworn
a steadfast tree in a storm.
Too often we think that love should be a whirlwind
of desires long unfulfilled
a reflecting pool
of our deepest
most secret wishes.
Love is more a steady beating
a slow but sure walk home
a light leading through fog and dark.
Do not get lost in dreams of not enough.
Listen instead for the familiar greeting
of another weary traveler returning home.
when your heavy bones
wish to sink to the depths
go now to the quiet place
where the world cannot
all of these things will pass.
all will dissolve someday
replaced only by light.
your decision lies
in the dissolving.
will you cling bitterly
to sinking stones
or will you swim
flailing & gasping
to break the sunlit surface
& let that which does not serve you fall?
it is always our choice
yours and mine.
this is our power.
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.