I have few natural talents, but producing anxiety is right up there.
It doesn’t take much to get the hamster wheel spinning – a medical test, surprises, meeting a new group of people, changes at work. Just about anything can get the ball rolling. But having had this affliction all my life, I’ve gotten (if not good) at least better about relieving the rat-a-tat-tat of my anxious heart.
Normally writing has been my “go to” but for a while now I just haven’t been able to write.
Writing to me is like having a dog that likes to run away when you open the door. He waits for you to open the door when you come home, and he makes a beeline for it. He pushes past you and off he goes. You are forced to chase that mangy, good-for-nothing old mutt.
He teases you by allowing you to get close, but just as you are near enough to get a leash around his neck, he takes off once again. Finally, you give up and just go home. You swear that you are done with the smelly mongrel and you lock him out. At the time of his choosing, he will scratch at the door, whimper and bark for you to let him in. You give in and open the door and there he sits with his tail wagging and a look of love and admiration that you immediately realize that you can’t stay mad at him. Suddenly you are “best friends” again and you don’t know what you would ever do without him.
Usually, that is what writing is to me.
Well… that “dog” is still running away from me and I have gone home and closed the door. I haven’t heard any whimpers or barks at the door for some time now and I am starting to sense that someone has let him in their home and he’s never coming back. I guess I’ll wait for him like I always have. Hopefully, someday my desire and my ability to write again will come scratching at my door.
So… I have had to search for other things to occcupy my thoughts and my time.
Listening to music has also failed to bring it back this time.
When writing failed me in the past and I would go through bouts of writer’s block, music always did the trick. However, I am not experiencing writer’s block. I am dealing with a lack of desire to write. With writer’s block, I couldn’t find the words but I always had the desire to write.
I have lost both the words and the desire to write.
I was writing a second book. It was a follow-up to “Footprints in a Small Town” which was published in April 2018. Actually that book is still selling and doing well. I am amazed by that.
I tentively called the new book, “Where There Is” and it was to be released in 2019. That has been put on the shelf until I can figure this out. Most of it is written but I can’t find the words to finish it and I surely have no desire to endure the editing process.
One thing that has helped me is silence.
At this point of my life, nothing puts me in a better state of mind than being in the quiet.
I turn off the TV and sit in my office in the silence. Sometimes in my car I’ll turn off the radio. I’ll shut out the noise. Immediately I become more present. I notice things that I normally wouldn’t see. I see how the clouds look like snow is coming. I notice mauve-colored winter light shining through the bare trees. There’s something peaceful in silence and many times I discover it is where I find God.
One truth that I am learning and trying to apply to my life is that life is full of resistance. There are obstacles and barriers all trying to keep you away from reaching your dreams and goals.
My advice is this: “Be like water.”
Well, that’s actually not my advice. The source for this comes from an interview with martial arts star Bruce Lee.
Here’s a portion of the quote from that interview:
“Be like water making its way through cracks.”
No matter where you go or what you want to do, you’ll face obstacles. That’s a universal truth about life. The trick to doing more in life is to not stop just because you come headfirst into a barrier – the trick is to find a crack in those barriers so you can get around them.
Water is formless. It’s so shapeless that it can fit into the tiniest cracks. When you reach your barriers, you must find that crack, no matter how small it is, and squeeze your way through it.
Seize opportunities that come your way, no matter how small they seem to be. Sometimes all you need is the tiniest crack to reach your full potential.
Rid yourself of useless thinking – negative thoughts, unnecessary worrying and doubt. These thoughts are rigid and will only weigh you down.
Open your mind to all possibilities and options. Water is shapeless and will flow in any direction it’s given. A shapeless mind thinks in open possibilities, not rigid impossibilities.
This will help you think clearly. It will help clear your head in order to make better decisions. You will flow naturally to the direction you want your life to go.
With shapelessness comes power.
I find this fascinating because it works in most areas of life. Learn what’s useful, leave out the rest. Don’t waste your time and energy on things that won’t help you achieve your goals.
Now I believe and I have experienced that new life emerges from the broken, cracked places of this life.
I am facing some new cracks in 2019.
A few I clearly see… some I don’t.
I need to remember to be shapeless like water.
Be formless, not rigid.
To find my way through the cracks.
As Bruce Lee would say, “Be water my friend.”