|I love his smile...|
It's been one week, one 3 day weekend, and one headachy week since my last confession.
I am feeling better today. There is a point when one realizes that life happens and we can go running into the streets cursing at the sky for being too blue, or we can sit on our porch and agree we have a lot to be thankful for.
I must say, coming to the chapter "Finding Your Passion" in Cecile Andrew's The Circle of Simplicity: Return to the Good Life could not have better timing. I have been reread this book yearly since 1998 and honestly, it's like having my own personal therapist on my nightstand who "gets it," who gets what I'm trying to do in my life.
But before I go any further, we might as well make this official.
To the confessional--
Being a Writer During a Recession:
I confess this section of the book is underlined in many different colored pens and has stars everywhere.
Last night, I restarred this line (spoken by another artist):
When the economy collapses, it's not going to make much difference to the artists. We're the cockroaches of society, and we an survive anything.
Now while I'd replace the word "cockroaches" with the word "stones," I get what s/he is saying. We can live well in a recession because we're always in a recession.
Someone once asked me if it was hard keeping a literary journal (Crab Creek Review) going during a recession and I replied, "Literary journals are always in a recession." But that's the beauty, our donations and the orders to our journal have not gone done after the housing market crashed, after stocks plummeted. The people who support us, support us no matter what the economy is doing.
I feel the same way about poetry readers and poets and writers. And I am thankful for those who keep their priorities straight-- books before _______________ (fill in the blank). I know I may not have enough money for the new fashion item of the season, but I always have enough for a book.
On Finding Your Passion--
I confess I love this paragraph:
Living your passion means finding something that you love to do, committing yourself to it, believing in it, and persevering, no matter what the financial rewards. It is something that is an authentic expression of who you really are. You get energy from it, you feel alive when you do it.
page 84, The Circle of Simplicity
I am always interested when people say, "But I don't know what my passion is..."
I tend to think they know, I always respond, It's the one thing you'd still be doing EVEN if no one paid you for it...
But that's the problem many times. We live in a culture that puts monetary wealth over what brings us joy. We want to do what brings us money even if it doesn't bring us joy. We believe in equals: money = happiness. And while I believe we need a certain amount to make sure our key needs are met-- food, warmth, housing (and for me, time to write), I have always agreed with Forrest Gump, "Now, Momma said there's only so much fortune a man really needs and the rest is just for showing off."
How Writing Helps the Suck-Factor
When you are doing what you love, you feel more magnanimous, more kindly, less resentful and envious.
I confess when I had what felt like such a sucky time last week, it was writing that brought me back to myself.
Being lost in revising a poem or writing something new is equal or greater to most everything I might want to do in a life, in a day.
It reminded me that while we have to pay for something that is sadly, more than we can afford, that does not affect my writing life. Yes, there will be sacrifices, a loan, a new monthly payment, but I am still a writer.
The library did not close. The books were not stolen from my shelves. No one took my laptop or internet connection. My paper and pens are still on my desk. I still have a home. My family still hugs me. My cats still break things and are loved for their cuteness. My golden retriever still wants to lick the whipped cream can. In essence, all is the same except my entire life's financial amount has decreased, so what. No one was putting that on my gravestone anyway.
I can still write. And I do.
I confess I made a list to see what I really needed to bring me happiness. Here is part of it---
1) my family
2) my good friends
3) a comfy bed, enough light to read and a book
4) warm feet
5) hot showers
6) writing and my laptop
7) a good internet connection
8) playing Boggle with my family
9) having good food to eat
10) my pets
11) a tidy house
13) allergy medicine in the spring through August
14) decent health
15) coffee in the morning
My most-expensive expenses are my laptop and the internet. Writing makes me feel grounded. Time is my most important fortune. My family, friends and pets are what I value and love most. I have a warm bed and give thanks for the $29 lamp on my nightstand.
Open Heart, Closed Doors
I confess I think I learn and relearn everything I've written about above. And while I might sound confident today, I'll forget and have to refind myself again, revisit what brings me joy.
I'll open the door to misery, to the person who tries to steal my energy, to TV news, to garbage blowing into my home.
I'll forget--I always do--and purchase that new thingamabob, thinking, "This will make me happy" (or "This makes me happy, I shall buy it!") only to find, I now have something new to dust and have added work to my life.
I need to open my heart to what really fills me--family, writing, friends--and not much else. In certain ways, I am Forresta Gump, simple pleasures, simple life.
Yes, it's easy to forget the beauty in the world.
I do it too often then have to catch myself, my net is thankfulness what I do have. And walls to block out parts of the world, I choose not to let in. So today, I feel a little more connected and thankful, but as you read this, please don't think it's always easy to feel this way, we are humans being bombarded with messages of "what we're missing" - we're not, we have all we need in this very moment. I have to remind myself of that all the time.
I confess I am thankful for my imperfections and forgetfulness, as these lessons are always good to learn again.