I’m here because of a swift kick in the spiritual rear. I didn’t consciously set a 2020 goal to become a writer, but here I am, typing word after word, telling myself I have to submit a submission in this writing contest by midnight tonight to become a professional writer. I think my rationale thinks that if people read this, and there is a chance for publication, I’ve met the major requisites for going textually pro. I’m not sure I 100% agree with this logic, but at the same time I don’t really feel like it’s my decision to make. So, I’m going to tell this story, meet this deadline, and go from there. Here’s the deal…
A dream to write has lay not-so dormant in my psyche for most of my life. Dormant because I’ve not done much with it, but not-so dormant as it resurfaces with the fervency of a suppressed sea monkey time and time again. Something to dream about and fear at the same time, I’d see it, acknowledge it, and then utterly obliterate it with a vacillating totter between thinking it a dream to good to be true, or with grandiose certainty that I would write the next best-selling novel. This nothing less or nothing at all approach made obsolete my potential to take any reasonable step towards realizing my dream. I know what it takes to get many a job done - I have become well versed in life bringing many a dream to come true - but how to do this one, this dream worth too much, alluded me up until now, 3 hours before the New Year bell tolls.
Steven Pressfield would label this self-imploding blockage “Resistance” - the ego’s preferred weapon of mass destruction. Residing a little too close for comfort to the soul, my ego wants nothing to do with dreams growing in reality, and instead favors the fantasy land where all his dreams come true and mine get mired with distraction and uncertainty. At first, I thought his talk was the source of my motivation, as the thought of writing a best seller fueled my heart with emphatic delight. This is how I think the not-so dormant suppression mechanism came to be. I would be content living my daily life of planning, organizing, teaching, and mothering everyone around, until my soul felt suffocated and would relay its kismet, writing desire as an SOS of inspiration. It would rise to the surface, and in response I would write an insightful poem, a perfectly navigated letter, or a covertly wise short story, all while feeling I hadn’t been the one writing at all. As I would sit and ponder the words on the page, before even having the chance to rest in the work’s beauty, my ego would grasp the heads of my thoughts, adorn them in superfluous fanfare, and send them back on their way to my consciousness. The ego knows of my no-fear, headfirst approach to life, so he knew I would soak up these flashy, addicting lines such as…
“You don’t need to work as a writer!”
“You’re too talented to do anything other than write a best seller!”
“Skip the work of working and just dream all day of what happens when you make it BIGGGG!”
…like a child knowing no better.
And this has been, up until this point really, my internal war, the vicious see-saw tipping back and forth between my souls’ spittled blazes and the ego’s false fanning… a fire that grows so fast it burns out quicker than it starts. It’s exhausting to follow the highs and lows of such a wild ride, but I’ve willingly hopped on every time an inspiration surfaced, now realizing the ego knew all along, this was (and still is) the carrot I would (and still will) forever follow.
Part of me does believe ego’s manipulation as reason for my creative immobility: nipping my small moves in the bud with overwhelming fantasy makes some sense, and I can see Pressfield’s plea to be conceivably true. But sometimes I wonder if what feels like procrastination or denial has more to do with time. Like, maybe it wasn’t time, until now, to start using my voice this way. Maybe it wasn’t time, until now, for people to want to hear my voice anyway? Time has always been my partner in accountability, but only when controlled by me via TTD lists and self-imposed deadlines and organized planners. I’ve somehow managed to create a fascinating, adventurous life within the framework of practical time management, and up until recently I’ve been giving my time management skills all the credit for my accomplishments. But as life continues (ie. read as: I got married, had kids, am maturing, ie. read as: I now recognize other players in life creating their own vibrant realities in ways that happen to be as effective - if not moreso - than my own), I’m starting to question all the control I thought I once had; in particular, to the timing of events in my life. My concept of time is starting to take a curvy turn away from the strict, right-angled function I so revered until now. Time is starting to feel not so linear, and instead more expansive and buoyant: greater than my small self but one that includes me in its bigger picture. I’ve been having this vision lately, an image of myself sitting in the center of a big round clock in the sky. Unlike a regular clock, the hands are not straight lines drawn from me to the tick-tocking of time passing, but are instead fluid tickertapes, where the beginnings are anchored in my soul and the ends are seized wistfully by the planets. And they all swirl around me in their own personal styles, as if I’m the maypole and they different players in my community’s seasonal get togethers. And what’s interesting is that I’ve looked at my stars, more recently in fact and it seems as though these players have all gathered ‘round my maypole to manifest their own victories via my actions. Mars steams through my house of creativity with a take-no-prisoners attitude, while aimed for the betterment of all. Mercury swims assuredly in a sea of concepts, scooping out the ones she feels must be brought to light. And Saturn sits as taskmaster in my house of careers, declaring with blatancy, “You’re a good writer, you just need to write.” And the whole thing, the entire show, is run by Jupiter, imbuing the arena with the purest of her luck, and smiling through it all.
So here I sit, a garbled blend of recovering ego addict and humble babe, centered in the celestial womb of time, typing on my computer words for all the world to see. Maybe this shift from ego-centric to geo-centric was all that was needed to kindle a sustainable flame from the soul? Or maybe my ego is in cahoots with the universe; a madman proxy sent to help the stars live out their wishes through my soul; poking and prodding, just enough and in just the right way, so I’m incited to act only when it’s meant to be, and only in perfect timing.
Speaking of timing, there’s only an hour left before the clock strikes 12, and I’m going to make it; I’m submitting this story about “scrambling to finish a goal in the last few hours of the new year”. To be ruefully honest, I wouldn’t label this experience as a scramble, but moreso a divine procrastination. Between the ego’s manipulations and my map of the stars, I have landed here without rush, finally ready and willing to do my soul’s bidding. It’s time for us to ring out 2020, and bring in 2021 with her universal desire leading the way.