Those who’ve been following this book from the beginning will notice that initially I published frequently – often more than once a week. But over time, my entries became more sporadic, concluding with me not publishing at all for over 10 weeks. As I explained in the previous chapter, restructuring my arts business, reworking my professional space, ramping up my life coaching practice, immersing myself in my coach certification program, hosting holiday house guests and handling the various vagaries of life made it difficult to sit down at the keyboard for a few quiet hours during which I could write without pressure to my heart’s content. But I know that we find time for the things that matter to us, no matter what. And publishing, sharing with you, means a great deal to me. So I began to get an itchy feeling that there was something else going on other than being too busy to write. Then the data disaster drove me to publish again. (Good news about the data recovery effort will make its way to you soon, along with the additional lessons I’ve learned on that leg of my Journey.)
The continued unfolding of dramatic changes in my life and the feeling of living each day on the brink without data, caused me to take a hard look at many areas of my life, including publishing the book online. I found that the decline in my rate of publishing had little to do with busyness. And it had nothing to do with having nothing to say or caring less about my readers. If anything, the reminder of the fragility of our connection to things we hold precious, only deepened my compassion for all beings and taught me more that I wanted to share. What I discovered, when I took a hard look at my relationship to publishing was something Julia Cameron writes about with regularity. My EGO was getting in the way. And so I decided I would find a way to make writing feel less monumental to encourage me to write more frequently, because connecting with humanity through my writing is an important way in which I realize my purpose on this earth.
So last weekend I got the bright idea to launch an additional blog (Love and Curiosity – Gems for the Journey) with the intention of publishing on that site daily. My initial plan was to use the daily meditations from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way Every Day – one of the books I read from each morning to feed my written mediation practice – to create a very brief Deborah-and-Julia sort of experience. I’d expound briefly on one of Julia’s many inspiring thoughts thereby sharing the inspiration with my readers, with the possibility that they might choose to purchase Julia’s book and read along with me. It was a lovely possibility for deeper connection with all humanity that warmed my soul. Julia’s an amazing writer. With Julia providing guaranteed structure and inspiration, I’d have tons of material to work with. Combined with the intentional brevity of my entries, I would leap gracefully over my writing resistance hurdle, publishing little Gems for the Journey each and every day, no pain, no sweat. Because, after all, I love writing and know that I’m an excellent writer. The day I found my voice again and began publishing this book online was a day of great gratitude and rejoicing for me. Now I had another cool idea for an easier and briefer blog. This should only multiply my publishing bliss, right?
I just neglected to consider one itsy bitsy teeny weeny HUMONGOUS factor. MY EGO. I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter that MY EGO was getting in the way of my publishing with the regularity that my heart desired. And while this new plan is clever and mechanically sound – it could have produced the desired result – the fact is, it didn’t. That’s because it didn’t do anything to deal with the very real issue of MY EGO (ok, I’m going to stop the all caps now because it slows my typing, but hear it in caps every time you read it). Briefer it was. Easy it was not.
Here are the many ways my ego showed up. First, my best-creative-girlfriend Julia, the partner I was depending on for this escapade, totally let me down. I’ve read everything she’s ever written. She has never failed to inspire through any of her works. And yet, she chose the day after I announced my big decision to publish daily on the new site, to become a lackluster writer. I’d read her daily entry, and say, “That’s it? THAT’S IT? You expect me to inspire them with that? You had to pick now to become a crappy writer?” (Somewhere I know Julia is laughing along with you and me.) Realizing that it was risky to depend so completely on such an obviously capricious genius, I decided I needed to call on the other inspiring teachers and writers in my life if I was going to get through this. And that got me through an entry or two.
But over the course of the six entries I published on the new site, I found that while all of my teachers inspired me on a daily basis, I still couldn’t get that feeling out of my head onto the page. And that my friends is because feelings don’t come out of our heads. They come from our hearts. I was reminded of this last week during a session with my own Life Coach (smart coaches have coaches) during which we were discussing my resistance to publishing, which I kept insisting was not a problem (Hah!). My most excellent Coach Tina Robbins (www.openroadscoaching.com), observed that in the first 45 minutes of our 60-minute session, each time she asked how I felt, I replied, “Intellectually, I think…” Gotcha!
Like Jacob wrestling with the Old Testament Angel, I wrestled with my EGO every night. And we managed to publish for five nights (checking off that daily box) with some difficulty but no big drama. It wasn’t proving as easy as I expected, but maybe I just needed time to get used to it. (Are you counting the number of times I’ve used think, thought or a synonym? Big clue that I still didn’t have a clue.)
Which brings us Day Six, Thursday, February 10th, 2011. I awoke with many reasons to feel grateful for how my life was unfolding. Blessings continued to abound. Synchronicity without measure. And yet, it was a harbinger of the day’s events that I began with a “pep talk” from the nasty voice in my head (think Glenn Close as Cruella DeVil in the Power in Pinstripes Business suit from the remake of 101 Dalmatians). “Well, darling, Love and Curiosity is a cute little writing effort. But it is clearly Blog Lite compared to your other site. Less taste and less filling. Less effort, less prose, less inspiring, just … well … less. I’ll grant you that, in some cases, maybe less can be more (although I personally find that a lot more is always so much more). And we both know if you would just buckle down and be a serious business woman again, you could do so much more with your life. Clients used to pay your consulting firms $750 for an hour of your advice. I just find it so sad that this pitiful effort is what you’ve come to.”
I have a Disney Cruella DeVil doll dressed in the fabulous Power in Pinstripes suit in my office. She’s there as a physical reminder of the constant presence of the dark side of my driven, perfectionist, performer personality. I recognized my arch nemesis (the other me) the moment she opened her mouth (in my head) and told her to shut up and get back in her box. When she’s really bitchy, I tell her I’ll put her box in the closet and shut the door if she can’t zip it. Works like a charm. But remembering that she is really just part of me, I know that even when she doesn’t make a sound, she’s always with me. It’s no wonder I spent much of my day listening to Pema Chödrön lectures to counteract Cruella’s constant subliminal nagging.
I sat down to write at 10:30pm (it had gotten later every day). I was fresh off the exhilaration trail of listening to eight hours of Pema lecturing on Buddhism. She is brilliant, touching and so very real. Her way of teaching Buddhist practice has helped make those practices core to my life. I had even made notes during the day to make writing that night a piece of cake. I had 90 minutes to channel Pema in 300 to 500 words and transmit to all humanity the essence of Buddhism and how Buddhist practice had transformed my life. Piece of cake – NOT. Because I will be sharing with you in later chapters the content of all six entries on the short-lived sister site (yes, one of my conclusions is that I should merge the content from that site back into this one and go forward with one integrated site), I won’t tell you everything that happened that night. I will share that in addition to what you’ll read in that entry, when the frustration level became unbearable, I considered ever more horrifying options, such as just copying and pasting a few cool quotes from another site, declare it a blog, check off the daily box and call it a day. Executed that cheap little solution right up to the step before pushing the “publish” button, when I pulled myself back from the brink in horror. Next I sat weighing the ethical ramifications of plagiarizing my own writing from this site, pulling a clever paragraph from one of my blogs, pasting it, signing it, calling it a blog, checking the box, going to bed. No dice on that one either. At one point I was so enraged with myself that I considered obliterating the five existing entries and launching the site into blog oblivion (no issues with suppressed anger here). Pulled myself back from the brink on that one as well. I know that whenever I create this much drama in my life, big stuff is happening. Stuff I need to pay attention to. The clock was running down. I had a little over 60 minutes before not publishing my daily blog daily would reveal me for the sham, the charlatan, the lightweight writer that I really am (so much for confidence in my writing abilities). All I had to do was convey the poignancy of Pema and the essence of Buddhism in 300 words. How hard could that be? Turns out it was quite hard if I wanted to use only my head, not my heart, to do it.
I leave the conclusion of that encounter to the actual blog entry. Because, it turned out to be one of the most real and moving pieces I’ve ever written. I will close now by sharing the lessons I learned on this latest leg of my adventure:
- I write this blog book to touch people’s lives. I believe that sharing my vulnerability and growth can inspire hope and courage for others.
- I don’t have to publish lengthy chapters to touch lives. I write from my heart, not from a production schedule based on elapsed time and volume.
- I am the Distribution Channel not the Manufacturer of my art. My role is to stay tuned to the Universal Frequency of my Great Creative Source and distribute what I am sent.
I love you all and have missed you. The next entries will be the six from Love and Curiosity – Gems for the Journey. Then I’ll bring you up to date on the success of the data recovery. And then, I hope, the long-awaited remaining chapters in how I lost the 75 pounds (balancing the ten senses). Unless the Universe has another plan. Which it often does. In that case, I will have to go with the Universal Flow.
Be gentle with yourselves, my Dear Sisters and Brothers. Treat yourself and others with Compassion. When you have the choice to be right or be kind, always choose kind. When you approach life with Love and Curiosity, there are endless opportunities for good. Namaste.