I have started several blog posts over the last few days and find myself not knowing what or how to write. My thoughts are jumbled. Lately i am torn about how much i would like to share about my life. It was never my intention to share all of my intimate details here, and yet sometimes there are things that beg to be shared. The last two weeks i have felt such a range of emotions for the happenings in my life. Days of excitment and dreaming, nights of fear and agitation,
“It was one of those nights when your perceptions are much grander than you want to indulge; instead of having a succession of idle thoughts ending in sleep you are unbalanced, nearly punished, by images with all the logic of snow flurries in the mind.” -Jim Harrison
For a long time now I have felt that I have wanted to do more with my writing, go deeper into my truth. My favourite writers are those who are able to put their truth out on a table no matter how ugly, embarrassing, or incriminating. It takes a lot of courage to walk naked amongst a crowd of people. I remember reading passages from Anne Lammott’s “Traveling Mercies” and gasping. How can she write those things about herself, her honestly floored me again and again.
Lately I am learning just how deep my caring about what other people think is. It seems to touch every aspect of my life in some way. And the universe is now challenging me on this front. I am trying to sit with it, hold it up in front of me and look at it more closely. Where does it come from, this need to make other’s happy, the need to protect people, the need for approval? I haven’t yet found the answer to that question, but I do know that this trait is no longer serving me.
Over the last few months I have dealt with many situations in which people are questioning my choices, received unsolicited (anonymous) critiques of my life/work, and sometimes malicious judgement of my actions. I am reminded of being in art school and having to go through grueling critiques, sometimes for many hours. Looking back and remembering the comments that were made I realize that they were all based on the personal experiences and background of the speaker. Everyone reacts to things based on their own experience, it is impossible not to. A piece that dealt with some kind of sexual abuse would always be critiqued heavily by the women in the class, many of whom were abused themselves, (to give an obvious example.) But there were also some personal agendas in play, the student who wanted to impress the teacher, the girl who said only nice things so people would like her, the girl who critiqued because she was afraid her own work was inadequate, the joker who got off on making fun of others because of his own insecurities. The point being that none of the critiques of a work had anything to do with the life or experience of the creator. And though sometimes hearing opinions and critques from others is painful, it bears no relation and cannot be allowed to affect your life experience or your process as an individual.
And so I have started the process of letting it go. And what that really means is that in order to speak our truth one has to be willing to let other people have their own reactions no matter what they are. Sometimes it can be ugly, angry or painful. I do not like having people upset with me. But I now know that I don’t have to take on their emotions, i can just let them be. In the past I would have tried to fix things, make the person happy somehow, defend my ideas or decisions. It never worked really, I thought it did, but it was only like a coloured bandaid, a distraction from the real issue.
My process is my own. It is up to me to take hold of it. Own it.
Even if you have heard this quote before it bears repeating:
“There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time this expression is unique. and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it! It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open…” -Martha Graham