Get writing! A simple enough command. One I say to myself often. And in essence, it’s a relatively straightforward process. You would think so…but…
…hours then tick by. Days. Weeks. Maybe even months.
For whatever reason, I have analysed myself, my writing, and more importantly perhaps, my writing process, into paralysis. There is an overabundance of questions to which I don’t have the answers. Or at least not answers I feel are adequate.
What exactly am I going to write about?
How much of myself do I wish to reveal/expose in this?
Will anyone even read it?
IF someone reads it, what will they think?
Do I care?
What if someone I know reads it?
What will they think of me then?
Do I want to go down that path?
Whilst I might be a fan of opinions and the debate that can result from having opinions, even if there is a difference of opinions that never reaches a clear conclusion or any agreement, I struggle with the potential for conflict. Whether that’s simply a personality glitch, a survival mechanism, upbringing, something else…I don’t know.
Certainly, when it came to growing up, the rule of the house, and especially my father, was that parents were right and kids did what they were told, no questions, even if the particular parent was wrong. I’m sure you all know the old saying: “Mother/Father knows best.” Disagreeing was talking back. Even saying no to a question was sometimes talking back, regardless of the truth in the response. My father once summed up both a key aspect of his own personality, and a core aspect of this entire topic with his response to a disagreement we once had when I was a teenager. “I’m your father. I’m always right. Even when I’m wrong.”
Whilst that response, and no doubt many others I can no longer remember, may have instilled a slight dislike and distrust of authority figures, it also, somehow, instilled a disinclination to argue, to be angry, to challenge in any meaningful way, and to feel that my own particular voice necessarily held any value, even if I was right on a given occasion. Those particular outcomes explain a great deal about my life that I won’t go into now, but they also hold significance for this particular blog.
When I compare myself to others out in the world, be they people I know, or people I don’t, I almost envy those of them who appear to have a single-minded sense of who they are and what their purpose in this life is. They pursue it with what appears to be a relative ease when compared with myself (and so many others). Me? I feel like I toil at every turn, confronted with one form of adversity or another, even if it’s simply the lack of support from those closest to me. At other times I feel like I do little more than stare blankly at the canvas of my life. Is that canvas waiting for nothing more than my first efforts at perhaps the broadest brushstrokes of colour to enliven it?
Perhaps such an appearance of ease within some of those more successful individuals is deceiving. Perhaps they are not nearly as clear within their mind as they’re able to project out to the world. But then, perhaps that is simply who they are. Life may have in fact dealt those individuals a particular hand, that, for whatever reason, enables them to walk, dance or charge through their life with a passion, a conviction, a self-assuredness, a steadfastness, and a consistency, that simply will not be swayed by the desires or intentions of others, be those others family, friends, partners, or some other form of authority figure.
Now, one may endeavour to attribute that to upbringing, education, karma, numerology, astrology, genes, some god or divine force. Take your pick. We each have our own interpretation of how forces both subtle and obvious impact our lives. We have all drawn our own particular conclusions as to what factors have the greatest influence on our own lives and the lives of others we encounter.
I personally consider them all to have some level of contribution, great or small, with it all woven together like some vast tapestry that represents, in its wholeness, an image of who we are and what we do. And I believe we come to this particular life we are in with all those aspects predetermined. Established. For a reason. For me, there is no good or bad about it. No punishment or reward.
To quote the great bard himself: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts…”. It is for me, a more inspired approach, one that combines well with a perspective found within A Course In Miracles, which, at least in my own interpretation of the work, guides one to be more focused on how one perceives their experience, than upon attempting to directly change their experience.
Not that change cannot be made. Not at all. More that the change made is perhaps made best when the guidance for it comes through you, from a higher/deeper source, rather than from you at your more reflexive, ego driven level. After all, how can any of us truly know what lies before us, what we are destined to experience at any given moment, what this script we call life has in store for us actors within our given parts? Better to pay more attention to the ‘director’ of this particular experience no? They’ve undoubtedly read the entire script and all the potential rewrites, so they’re bound to be in a better position for knowing what lies ahead. Better for us to not think that this life is who we are. Better instead to recognise who we are at our core, separate from the character we presently inhabit, as we fumble our way from one scene to the next in this unpredictable film we call life.
However, philosophising aside, none of that changes the fundamental appearance of some amongst us appearing far more adept at seizing the reins of life and harnessing whatever is presented them to suit their personal desires, as well as their expression in the world and upon the world.
Am I one of those? No. I can’t say that I have ever felt that sense of control over my life. I have never felt like the master of my fate, no matter how much I look at it from a multitude of perspectives. Whilst I may never be more or less than the subjective observer of my experience, that experience has never appeared as one I have been able to steer in the direction I would prefer it to go. My own life has, in its own particular way, felt like a faltering but determined process of stepping away from subconscious layerings of victimhood, from feeling and believing that life is being done TO me, rather than being lived and, more significantly perhaps, controlled, from moment to moment, BY me.
Which of course leads me inexorably back to my preceding comments. Maybe this is simply the path I walk, perhaps the path I MUST walk, to reach some particular outcome that I fail yet to see. I don’t always know what I’m doing. Hell, when I look really hard at my particular journey through this life, I almost NEVER know what I’m doing. I might sometimes make a relatively accurate guess. My choices might generate a generally acceptable progress in a particular direction for however long, offering a modicum of happiness, pleasant distraction, or agreeable focus.
I can also look back upon my life thus far and see that there have been, in a winding, twisty sort of way, progressive steps forward. No step has ever appeared like some great leap forward. Some steps have in fact appeared as steps backward. I have been as a blind man dropped within the middle of a forest, not knowing which way leads home.
Yet, if I’m not being too harsh on myself for just a moment, it is possible to see the progress. I am not the same person I was when I was growing up, when I moved out of home, when I ventured overseas. Not even the same person I was a year ago. The changes may not be externally visible, they may even be quite minor internally, but they are there nonetheless.
And they have all led me to this moment. They have all brought me to this particular blog I am now writing, where I question how much of myself I invest in this process, how much of my ‘character’ in this life I expose to the world, how vulnerable I allow myself to be in order that I might be able to take the next few steps. Will opening myself more fully to the potential scrutiny of others assist me in other aspects of this particular journey? Maybe it will. I really don’t know. Perhaps I need to apply a little faith in that part of me that is deeper/higher than my ego infused shell. Perhaps it is simply waiting for me to take this next step. I really don’t know.
‘Get writing!’ may seem like an easy enough demand. But it’s deciding how much of myself is in what I write that can be most difficult next step.