“Real calmness should be found in activity itself.”
Shunryu Suzuki-roshi – Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
“Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.”
Sun Tzu – The Art of War
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Last night someone upset me and I thought about what Byron Katie said, “All war belongs on paper.” There are two wars I fight, the war with others and the war within myself. The war within myself is the struggle against unchecked anger, lasting resentment, bitterness, pettiness, or fear. If I can win this war, the other one is much easier. In fact, I may not have to fight with others at all. What do I want from my war? I want victory. What does victory look like?
· I am peaceful.
· I have forgiven the person or people who upset me.
· I am compassionate because I know the other person is hurting too, or the attack would not have occurred.
· I am not repeatedly reliving the event in my mind.
· I am able to calmly and lovingly address the issue if necessary.
· I can sever the relationship if I choose, not from a desire to punish or hurt, but to protect myself.
So I thought I should take the war here, on paper, on my blog on a computer screen actually, before I do or say something I might regret. Besides, doing something physical, like writing helps me. It calms me down. Writing is not just what I do, it is who I am, or at least who I want to be. I cannot express enough the gratitude I feel every time I sit down to write. This is another kind of victory. It’s two victories, actually. First, by being grateful, truly grateful, I am being victorious, because my mind doesn’t have time to focus on negative emotions.
The other victory is in the writing I’m doing. Every time I sit down to write I am accomplishing something, even if no one reads it. When I write, I am doing the following:
· I am clearing my mind.
· I am leaving a legacy.
· I am being my truest, most peaceful, most loving self, or at least creating the potential to be.
· I am engaged in an activity that is physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
Activity is important, too. Not just mindless activity, (although sometimes even that can be useful), but something that aligns with my purpose. Sometimes the physicality of letting my fingers hit the keyboard or letting my pen move across the paper is quite powerful. Granted, it’s not as demanding as most physical activities, but it does require energy. It also returns it. I know that physicists say that energy cannot be created, but something is being created when I write. Perhaps I’m just accessing the energy that was already available. I’m still amazed at how different I feel before and after writing. I go from being tired, discouraged and lost to being full of vitality, courage and a sense of direction for the day.
Writing hasn’t always done this for me. I learned that to get the most power from my writing, I needed to do the following:
· I needed to be completely honest, even if that meant addressing a fear. Sometimes I wasn’t ready to address that fear, but when I did, my writing flowed. For example, in my fourth year of teaching elementary school, I knew I no longer wanted to do that. That was such a huge fear for me because I had only been in the profession a few years. It brought up questions I didn’t know how to answer. Once I realized and admitted that I wanted to leave, my writing and my life were more satisfying.
· I needed to not use my writing to feel sorry for myself. Yes, I needed to address problems, but self-pity is a form of avoidance. Self-pity is also a form of dishonesty. The lie is that I am absolutely powerless to change my situation or address my problems. I need either a functioning mind or a functioning body to create change and growth. I have both.
· I needed to stay focused and finish my work. This has often been a difficult one because I am so easily distracted, but when I can concentrate, I get so much more joy from the work.
· I needed to write consistently. What else can I say about this? The same time every day is best, but every day is sufficient.
Again, I am grateful to be writing. I am also in awe of the miracle of creativity. After more than 175 blogs, I still approach each new blog with the fear that I have nothing left to say. Each time I am proven wrong. What a miracle!
One more thing: one of the purposes of these blogs is to encourage you, the reader, in your own Purpose. If writing is not part of your Purpose, change the word “writing” for your Purpose. Then Get Started and Keep Going…and have a victory.