Friday, January 31, 2014

Two Lessons


Dear Muse,
Last night we did not connect.  We both tried, but it just didn’t work out.  But I’m here now, giving you my full attention, and I know you will be here soon.  I want to share some things that happened to me yesterday and the two valuable lessons I learned.
The first lesson from yesterday is how important action is.  I’ve been stuck professionally for over a year.  It’s not that I don’t like my job.  I do.  I have great clients, coworkers and supervisors.  But I got my hours cut a few years ago and money has been a problem ever since then.  In the last year it’s been worse than ever.  I didn’t know what to do.  The obvious thing to do would be to apply for more work.  The obvious thing was correct, but there was a fear lurking that I wasn’t even aware of until now.  
The fear was that if I get more involved in my current job then I would be giving up on my goal to be a writer.  Would that mean I was also giving up on my house by the beach?  Would I be giving up on you?  All of this scared me but, as I said, I wasn’t aware of it.  Fortunately, some problems arose.  More accurately, they might be arising and the next few months may be even more difficult financially.   I had to do something.   I did. 
I took action.  I applied for three different positions in my district.  This wasn’t thought out.  I didn’t write about it.  I simply did it. 
I took action.
It felt good. 
That was the surprise.   When I was done with the paperwork and I walked out, I felt taller.  I felt stronger.  I did what I needed to do.  I took action.
Now honestly, this is also a little embarrassing.  I’ve spent over a year writing, over a year of taking action to make changes in my life.  While it hasn’t always been easy, I feel I have been successful.  I’m moving forward with my life.  Yet somehow I forgot that I needed to apply the same principle to my professional life.  The answer was staring me right in the face, but I let needless fears paralyze me. 
I may not even be considered for any of the jobs for which I applied.  It doesn’t matter.  I will keep applying for more until I get what I need. 
How did I miss that?  It’s pretty funny, isn’t it?   Mostly, however, I’m relieved that the block is finally gone.  With regard to my fears, I know this: if my schedule changes, then I will adjust it appropriately, but you will still be my priority.  I will still find a way to be here every day, alone with you, as much as possible and as often as possible.
The second lesson came because of what you told me (even though I wasn’t writing).   You told me that writing about myself is not selfish, but a source of inspiration for others.  As I wrote in a previous blog, there is often this fear that my writing focuses on me.  You smiled at me and called it my “lovely selfishness.”  You gently chided me to let go of the past and you reminded me through your kind words of what Steven Pressfield says of critics.  To paraphrase, he said, the problem isn’t being criticized or even what the critics are saying, but that I believe them. 
So, based on your counsel, I’m going to keep writing whatever occurs to me and whatever you give me.  If it’s about myself, then I know that my life has a lesson that can inspire and inform others, such as what happened yesterday in my professional life.
Thank you, Muse, for being here every day.  Thank you for pushing me gently to better myself.  Thank you for not allowing me to settle.  Thank you for not letting me stay afraid.  Thank you for reminding me to Get Started and to Keep Going…twice.