Tuesday, November 17, 2009

This blog will be closing...

Dear Ones,

It is with some regret but also necessary that I close 2 of my four blogs so that I am not spread too thin. My mother is about to pass in the next few days and when that happens my life is going to be drastically altered and past getting through the experience just ahead I will be moving. I will be leaving the blogs up for some time but will not be updating them, and the subject matter in those two blogs will be incorporated in the other 2 blogs.

My other two blogs, Maitri's Heart, and Life at Dragonfly Cottage will still run on, and I hope you will visit there.

I wish you all blessings, love and again, I thank you for your kind support.

Maitri Libellule

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wrong Turns and Right Directions and Not Being Afraid To Follow Your Heart...

Fellow Journeyers...

I've been thinking a lot about this entry for the last couple of weeks or so. Tried to start into it three different ways, and stopped. Something held me back, but then I realized it was just part of my process. You can't write about a thing until it has had its gestation period, until you have figured things out, and I've been on an odyssey of sorts these past weeks as my mother went on hospice, and, as I write, is near the end. So it was at this particular time, as you will read in the last entry, that I wrote with great gusto about doing NaNoWriMo, the month dedicated each year to an intensive writing period that turns out a small novel in a month. I really wanted to do it. I wrote nearly 2000 words the first day. I loved it and was excited, and I have saved it because it's a story that I can see myself writing one day. But not now, and I knew it by the second day.

The second day I kept putting it off, meaning to do my allotted writing for the day, but watching it, kind of like a paper sailboat that gets away from a child and floats downstream faster than they can catch it, moving swiftly away from me and I couldn't catch it, and then I realized it wasn't going to happen. We cannot escape reality, when someone close to us is dying, by trying to write a novel in 30 days. At least I can't. And I am certain I will return to it one day and have the ride of my life writing that novel, but now was not the time.

I wrote about this on my Maitri's Heart blog just after I'd stopped, and I was writing, there, more about the inner emotional journey. What I wanted to write about here is how often we have a dream, and if we start and it doesn't go bang off, running in the right direction at full speed, if we have second thoughts about it not being the right way to go, or that it isn't the right time in our lives, we often feel ashamed and embarrassed. I have learned over the years that those are useless emotions and detrimental to the overall journey we are taking.

Often, what feels like a wrong turn is actually taking us in the right direction, but not having gotten to the place that we did before the sharp curve ahead, we would never have made it this far and gone round the bend into just where we're supposed to be. There are no accidents, as they say, and there are no wrong turns in my book. Just changes in direction as we right ourselves on our course. It makes perfect sense to me.

I can't tell you how often, in my thirty plus years of life as a writer and artist, I have been chided by people close to me because I "started so many things I didn't finish." That is also in line with writing nearly a dozen novels over 3 decades that didn't sell amidst the many non-fiction works that I did sell. I never thought, really, that I wasn't cut out to be a novelist, in fact I feel inside of me that I will finish the novel I started with NaNoWriMo, but if I write it now it will be askew because I will be trying to write around the experience of my mother's dying, perhaps making it awkwardly funny and over-written in places because I'm trying to hide or escape from the inevitable pain ahead, or it could go the other way and get maudlin and melancholy in the parts that are meant to be the more serious and thoughtful passages because of the grief I am feeling. I am not a quitter, I simply know when I cannot do the work justice because of the current life circumstances that I cannot control. It's really not a big deal, as long as we don't let it freeze us. We have to keep moving forward, no matter how many bumps and twists and turns we encounter along the way.

Every single thing in my life that looked like it "wasn't finished" was a very important step along the path I needed to go. The things that we
don't do can be just as important as the things that we do do. We carry something with us from every experience we have. Every time I started a piece of art that I didn't finish, I was led down a different path that, while making something seemingly quite different, had it's roots in the work unfinished. I have learned to accept that as part of my process, nothing more, nothing less. I have unfinished projects all over the place, and some I look at fondly realizing that had I not started working on them I wouldn't have made the leap over into the work that I finished, sold, and took great pride in.

It's important to take risks and move forward. It is equally important to know that it's okay to stop, to set the thing we are trying to accomplish down, with no shame, with no guilt, with no apologies, and if the world laughs at you, or mocks you, or tells you they knew you would never finish "it," realize that you owe no one an explanation, because in doing so you will explain away the dream itself. I say, "Oh, I haven't quit, it's in a gestation period." Some people just shake their head, but I don't care, they couldn't possibly know my process and how I work and that I'm not afraid of the forks in the road that head me off in a different direction than the one I started. If I go with the flow everything I'm learning flows along with me and enriches the work just ahead.

I have learned to let go, to trust, to believe. Some of what I write here on this blog may sound contradictory, but no, our lives and our experiences, the path to our dreams intermixed with our everyday lives, will lead us down unexpected roads. It is all part of the whole, and every facet is true, even if some of them seem like polar opposites. Life is like that.

The hardest thing that we come up against is not other people's expectations of us, but the expectations we have of ourselves. I have no expectations. I know what I can do, I know what I'm good at and what I'm not and, in a larger sense, what direction my work will go, but it's all the little twists and turns from day to day that I cannot know or expect until I get to them that will be important in shaping me and the piece of work I am doing at the time, and they no longer "throw me off the horse," but give me a more interesting ride. It is even part of The Mystery. Why do these things happen? What will they mean to us in our journey to achieve our dreams? Really, it doesn't matter, just accept what is and keep on keepin' on.

So for the time being I will move forward with tender care as I move into the time ahead, to a place that we all must go, and many have already gone, in this lifetime. You cannot stave off grief, you have to live through it, you have to keep moving forward even if only inches at a time. And you and the ones still with you will help one another, and something inside will cause you to shapeshift, to grow, to deepen, so that when you return to what you were doing before you may have outgrown it completely, or you may find that you finally have the answers that you needed because you have come to a much deeper place inside yourself where you now understand things you couldn't possibly know before. Sometime the jagged painful edges we brush up against in life are the things that carry the deepest messages. Let go, and float downstream gently, and know that when you finish one phase and return again to head toward the goal you yearn for, and dream of, you won't have lost anything, you will have brought something with you that will change the outcome, and this is something to be grateful for.

Always be grateful for each moment as it comes, even the hard and the painful ones. They are inevitable, and yes, can be devastating, but they change us in ways nothing else could, and when we turn around on the road again and head back in the right direction, we can be forever grateful for the wrong turn, because it got us just where we needed to go.

Don't be afraid to trust your heart, and be very gentle with yourself as life has its way with you. It will all come out right in the end. If you believe that, you cannot fail, and no matter what the dream, you will always succeed.

Here's to the Journey...