4-24-16 Yesterday I caught up to the last chapter I written in my superhero novel. It was a scary moment, because now it means I have to start writing the rest of the book. One of the books I've been reading on writing, Ensouling Language, discusses the fear the writer feels at looking at a blank page, or in this case a partially completed chapter, because the writer is revealing something of their selves, but in my experience its also the fear of "will I have anything to write". And that's a tough fear to face down. I feel it every time I start to write. And then I actually write and that fear melts into the writing along with the other emotions and writing is created. I'll admit in this case the fear is can I write fiction again after so long. The only way to find out is to start writing.
4-27-16 I just finished reading a YA book, Life by Committee. I found it quite interesting because the main character basically joins a website where other people come up with assignments for her to do, based on secrets she shares. I suppose what struck me about it was that in some ways it was an abdication of responsibility for her actions, because someone else was making the decisions.
Speaking of that I've decided to write a relationship contract for myself. I realize just how much my relationships are shaped by other influences and a friend suggested that I consider writing a relationship contract....really making a conscious decision on how relationships of any type will look and what my role in them is. I figure its a good idea to try this and see what I come up with from a place of intention.
4-28-16 When you compromise yourself, you compromise everything coming from you, because it has the burden of what you did on it, until such a time as that is changed or resolved. I wrote that today on Facebook, but I'm also writing it here. I have compromised myself sometimes and whenever I have, I've noticed my creativity goes down and I'm not as happy or focused, or anything else I could be. It's a reminder to stay true to myself, stay true to the art, writing and magic and to the people who are important in my life, because when I compromise I'm not showing up for any of that in the way I want. We all do it at one time or another but how much do we give away...more I think than any of us realize and whatever we've gotten in return isn't worth because it is temporary at best.
5-4-16 Sometimes my experience of stillness is the experience of inertia, of nothing moving no matter what you do. The temptation is to give in and stop trying and that may even be justified in the short term, but in the long term it leads to stasis, which I suppose is the ultimate form of stillness. But this is all about finding balance, so that form of stillness doesn't really work in the long run, because there is no balance in stasis.
5-6-16 Occasionally I get into conversations with new acquaintances where they tell me how my work has stood out to them or influenced them. It always surprises me, not the least because for the most part its not something I hear often. I guess I have been hearing it a bit more often though and it's kind of gratifying to hear from someone who says, your work moved me. My work has always been on the fringe of magic and Paganism, not traditional enough for most people, and it took me a long time to accept that. But stick around long enough and I suppose it comes around.
5-7-16 I got into a conversation with my brother yesterday about anger and parenting. What stood out to me about the conversation was hearing how my dad had admitted how unhealthy his anger issues had been for us, but also recognizing a familial history around anger. My dad's anger has always been volcanic...it just erupts. I learned early on to suppress my anger and rage because if I expressed it I got punished for it, but this in turn lead to volcanic eruptions for me with anger, for a long time. I've gotten much better about it over the years because of the internal work I've done around anger, emptiness and other related emotions, but it really stood out to me that I have a similar expression of anger as my brother and my dad have, and this makes me think that my dad must've had similar experiences as a kid, where his dad would have a volcanic anger eruption and my dad would have to keep his feelings to himself. I don't know if that's true, but it likely is, and this gets me thinking about my great-grandfather, his father and so on and so forth. People don't typically think of the family history of an emotion and how it's handled (in no small part because even with today's standards of life span we usually don't meet people in the family more than 3 generations back). But there is a history to such emotions and while I can't have a chat with my grandfather or great-grandfather or his father to discover how they handled anger, I can make an educated guess.
Now you might wonder why I would even bother. Why is this relevant at all? I think it's relevant because if you want to change behavior it's worth understanding where that behavior comes from and not just in terms of where it originates from you, but also where it originates from in your family. I don't know for sure if every male ancestor from my father's side had volcanic eruptions of anger, but recognizing the pattern in myself, my brother and my dad says there's something there and how that helps me is knowing that this pattern of behavior doesn't come from a void. It has a history and origins and that makes it easier to understand and work with. There is so much that informs our identities and I think we often ignore a lot of it because of the shortness of our lives. We don't take the long view, when perhaps we would benefit from at least trying to.
5-14-16 On the rare occasions I run into someone I don't like, I've been using my stillness work to recognize my dislike and then just be still. Today I ran into someone I didn't like and I just stilled myself and let it go. He was just a person I briefly had to deal with and then my day continued on. I like that approach. It's something I'll need to use a couple times in the next couple of months and giving it a test drive today was useful.
5-15-16 I think that some of the biggest challenges I've had with Stillness has really been around maintaining that sense of Stillness. The last few months has been so busy for me and as a result I've felt really challenged to be still or to settle into stillness. Yet I think that challenge has been really appropriate because life doesn't stand still, so if you want to cultivate stillness you've got to be willing to do it while also experiencing life. It's hard work, but its also realistic work.
5-19-16 It's been a crazy week. Kat was sick and as a result my own schedule went upside down. Nothing unmanageable, but it was a lesson in just letting go. I had to let go of my usual schedule and also just put some projects on hold to focus on what was most important: Helping her get back to a place of health and taking care of the rest of the family as well. It was an exercise in Stillness, in its own right, because I just had to accept the situation and work with it. Stillness is about acceptance. You accept the situation. And in that acceptance you actually open yourself to the possibilities in the situation and make it into what it can be.
5-21-16 Kat and I've been watching 12 Monkeys, the TV series, and at one point the father of the main character says "You only fail when you give up." Wise words. I pondered those words a few times this week, thinking about how important it is to never give up on what you are called to do. What being still has provided me is the depth of clarity about why I'm called to do what I do. It's provided me a deeper acceptance about where I am and what I'm doing and helping me not stress about what is or isn't working. And at the same time I've still got to work my process and make things happen. I think I'm beginning to figure out this balance between stillness and doing, being and moving. There is place for being still and yet still doing something...you just have to be patient in figuring out how it works. The beauty of it is that there is so much benefit once you figure that relationship out, because you are able to be still and yet move in a way that works for you.