On Writing, prt. 2: Fear Still

Preparing to go write for the day. Yesterday went great and I got chapter 1 finished (19 pages). Great fear again today that I once again have to face somehow. The problem is that I sat down to read everything I have written so far and suddenly I’m not sure I like it. Any of it. Yesterday I thought it was amazing.

Bottom line: I can’t tell whether it’s good or not. I’m too close to it. Stare at yourself in the mirror for long enough and you won’t see your face any more — only everything that’s wrong with it.

The solution to all of this — start writing. Stop worrying.

Okay, the worrying part just comes with the territory to some degree. But I can write. I cannot control the outcome. The fate of this book will be decided by people other than me and that has always been the case. Move through doubt, through laziness, through procrastination, through anxiety and fear, through ANYTHING. JUST MOVE!

Embracing Powerlessness, prt. 2

In my previous post I tried to clearly show that the path to peace is to embrace powerlessness. I showed that we have very little power over most of the things we care most deeply about. The question is how do we actually embrace powerlessness? The answer is as common as it is profound: by acting powerless.

Gestalt Therapy uses a technique called “acting as if.” This is where the therapist tells the client to act as if he/she is already the person he/she wishes to be. If he struggles to speak to women, he should act for a while like men act who do not struggle to speak to women. If she struggles with confidence, she should act like women who have confidence. This is what is often called, “fake it ’til you make it.”

If what I wrote yesterday is true, and we actually are powerless over a great deal of our lives, then the sooner we embrace this the better. And the way we embrace powerlessness is by acting powerless.

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On Writing, prt. 1: Facing Fear

feet on edge of cliff overlooking river

Photo from Flickr used under Creative Commons license, by epSos.de

I had not planned on blogging at all during this time when I am supposed to be finishing up my book. However, just before I sat down today to begin writing in earnest, I became aware of deep feelings of fear. And I realized that this is part of the process. I never fear writing a blog post because so little is at stake. What if a post “fails”? Then it receives fewer hits than others. But what if my book fails, into which I have greatly invested myself, along with hopes and dreams that I cannot help but connect to it? If that fails, I have lost something, or it feels that way.

If I fail to blog about this process, I think my readers will lose out a great deal. We all have hopes and dreams which we deeply desire to see become reality, but which strike deep fears into us as well. They get to the heart of our insecurities somehow. So I will, from time to time, write a few words about how I am feeling as I sit down to write for the day. Today is nothing but intense fear. What if I fail? What if I write something terrible? Worse yet, what if I write something I know to be excellent, but no one (particularly an agent or publisher) accepts it? What if — well, all my fears begin with “what if.” And where have those what-ifs gotten me so far? Exactly to where I am currently with my writing. Which of course is nowhere.

And so I sit down to write today not because I have already conquered my fears, but because I am no longer going to allow my fears to conquer me. And if learning to face my deepest fears is ultimately all that comes from this process, I emerge the victor in the end. And not only in the end, but in each and every moment where I ignore my pounding heart and the swish of blood rushing in my ears to type one more letter, one more word, one more paragraph, one more page.

Question: What dreams of yours have you been afraid to pursue? Will you step forward with  me? Will you set your hand to the plow and do the work?

On Being a Non-Anxious Presence

Ultimately all you really have to give to another person is yourself. And that is enough. Presence is the most powerful force in the universe, humanly speaking. When I go to hospitals to visit sick and scared people, they already know I can’t fix them and they don’t expect  me to. What they really need is someone who refuses to succumb to fear. They and their family are likely lost in anxiety. Often their minds are darting everywhere, looking at every possibility, begging and bargaining with God, unable to get away from frightening possibilities at every turn.

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Lessons in love from Dexter and Breaking Bad, prt. 2

You are more like Dexter Morgan than you think.

In fact you are very, very much like Dexter, and like Walter White. They both have family that they care about, just like you. They both are struggling with who they are, just like you. They both are hiding something, just like you. They both fear that people will find out who they really are, just like you.

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