I discovered something this morning. It just came to me as I was rushing out the door to go to work. It was something I already knew but hadn’t put into words, something so glaringly obvious that I feel pretty dumb for not realizing it sooner. I can think of a thousand excuses why I haven’t figured it out or why I haven’t practiced the lesson–my parent-diagnosed ADD makes my brain wonder; it’s not on my list of to do/remember today; pregnancy makes my crazy and forgetful–but at the end of the day the truth of the matter is that, well, I’m scared.
My thought was this: If you don’t stop thinking about the possibilities after you get your book done, you’ll never get your book done.
I focus too much on the future. And a happy future it is in my mind. No one rejects my manuscripts there. No one tells me my writing lacks originality, vision or a believable plot. In my head, I motivate young women to believe in themselves, I present literary role models, and I move people. But it’s the Real Life equivalent of whether to live inside the Matrix or break free to live in Zion. Living in the Matrix is way more comfortable than the fear infested city, but it’s all lies. Everything that happens in the Matrix is meaningless, as exciting as it may be, because it never truly happens. As I write this, I begin to realize that this doesn’t just apply to my writing but, sadly, many other aspects of my endeavours. I’m so happy with the results of the project I’ve concocted in my head, that I don’t finish things in Real Life. This is a detrimental pattern that is eating up what’s left of my life, a problem so easily pushed aside as “priorities” rear their ugly heads that it would be easy not to address it. But, now, I see that if I continue to push this out of my line of vision, before I know it, I’ll be dead without much to show for my life.
In my mythology class, I introduce the students to Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s Journey. (Book: Hero with a Thousand Faces ) One part of the Hero’s Journey is the “freedom to live”. In (super) short, once the hero returns to his/her known world after the initiation, if the hero is able to live in the present without regretting the past and anticipating the future, he/she will have acquired the “freedom to live”. Joseph Campbell popularized the idea that mythological themes and lessons are universal and that they can be implemented in our own lives in order to better ourselves. I teach this to my students. We search for truth in the worlds of gods, monsters, and heroes. Have I ever even tried to change my own life? Have I ever really tried to be proactive rather than reactive? Or have I just done as little as possible so I could SAY I have no regrets, rather than pushing my limits so at the end of my life I can really BELIEVE it? Hmm… Honestly, I have some soul-searching to do.
But enough of that drama.
To leave you with something uplifting and fun, here are…