“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”
– Frederick Buechner, Now and Then
Sending my socially awkward kid off to high-school brings up everything unresolved in me from that time in my own life that I have trouble concentrating for hoping she can stay relaxed and find the fun where she can because it will be over so fast and being cool won’t matter anymore.
People often talk about writer’s block or writer’s anxiety. Writing is full of anxiety. Writing well is even more so because there’s the expectation of producing something good and worthwhile.
The payoff of any expectation is either fulfillment or disappointment. And most often, when the inner critic stands ready to judge what comes out, disappointment is the result.
The conscious mind is very limiting.
This is why to write at all, let alone well, you first have got to get out of your own way.
If you aren’t willing to fail, you aren’t going to get any creative work done.
You’ve got to get past perfection and let yourself pursue play and risk you might likely fail at and have to try again.
You’ve got to be persistent, stubborn, and believe you are here not to produce something beautiful but to learn to let go of your expectations so you can see the beauty in everything.
That way you never close off, never stop seeking to expand the relaxing comfort your heart truly wants, and the freedom you feel amongst your closest, safest friends. You will find safety and connection with them if you invite it and embrace it and don’t close off.
The world is too loud and dominating and the fight is too difficult not to keep seeking that relationship with God in all his many forms.
And to do this, we’ve got to be able to let go, but also to hold on to our specific grounding in the present moment.
That will release you from the anxiety so you can finally write what you’re able to hear that no one else can.
Remember, nothing is wasted….
After reminding myself of all this, I send off an email of dad-advice to Ellie, encouraging her to know how amazing she is and to always keep her smiley disposition. I let the anxiety push my better self to speak what I know. And the old fears don’t seem to hold the same power they used to anymore.
And no matter what, I think she’ll be okay.
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
– e.e. cummings