Whether consciously or otherwise, at every moment of any day, we are making decisions. Even apathy and inaction are choices; decisions made to take no action. Life is the sum of choices we make thru planning and taking action, or by apathy and/or ignorance. Each of us has the opportunity to make the best use of our time, or to allow time to flood by as we wear out the sofa on the sidelines of our own lives.
Which person are you? It’s a decision you can make this second. Choice is organic, changing, expanding, contracting; you can alter your life choices at any time. Your life is a result of the decisions you make, or don’t make. It seems obvious, yet how few realize and then respond accordingly to the limitless potential this information offers?
Life is a decision. It’s a series of decisions.
That statement doesn’t mean I have control over all the events that happen in my life, and on the fringes of my life. It does mean that I always have control over how I respond to any given stimuli. Consciously responding with thoughtful consideration is a higher road choice of empowerment than is over-reacting in a barbaric, non-contemplative knee-jerk reaction.
During the past few months, I have made some rather large life changes. I’m now more committed than ever to consciously control the experience of living. Vows to do things differently, to actually consciously, boldly choose and follow my path have been tested; in some cases, the flight plan has been altered and my wing flaps adjusted to stay my chosen trajectory.
In spite of life occasionally getting in the way of aspirations, it’s rewarding to stay oddly positive about all the events taking place. Simultaneously committing to find the goodness, or at least the valuable lesson in every episode despite how nefarious or taxing is liberating.
When a close friend died, for instance, rather than allow sorrow to derail me, I dug into my psyche in order to unearth the gift in his passing. It sounds impossible, right? Not only is it possible; it is crucial. Yes, I mourned for an appropriate time, but I found a way to use the emotion as fuel for publishing a poetry book that had long festered on a rear burner.
The first time I was instructed to “find the gift” in a particularly painful event, I lashed out against the offensive suggestion. As time passed however, I did discover that every seemingly negative situation, even the death of a loved one, has another side that glitters. Patience and pondering have reinforced the idea, and now regardless of how nefarious, automatically makes any event just a little easier to swallow.
Discipline in Not Drudgery
One of my current commitments is to write each day at least 1000 words. As a result of the discipline required to keep that pledge, I’ve successfully completed a nonfiction manuscript of over 150,000 words. The first hundred thousand words came quite quickly and with relative ease. It is the tedium of editing those words, of choosing only the most valuable and precise sentences, of throwing out my not-so-well written prose that brings the yawns. But I’ve made a commitment to a certain lifestyle, and editing must be done; it’s another life-lesson of balancing the fun with the chores. It builds character; frankly, how few of my friends, relatives and acquaintances have the tenacity and dedication to commit to sit in one place for hours each day and write a book?
The commitment to take the reins of life is liberating, and accomplishing the daily goals is a self-esteem building activity. Without making the choice to take control and to follow thru each day, there is no progress; there are only thoughts that float out-there somewhere in fantasy, never to come to fruition.
I admit that I’m a big picture sort of writer. I love the concepts, get ‘great’ ideas on a continuous basis, and start a LOT of articles and books. I’m decidedly not the sort of person who will count beans, or manicure individual grass strands for a living. The small stuff is important, and I am seriously repelled by the small stuff. Let someone else sweat that manual labor. I’m off writing the big words, honing down the large word counts, and fertilizing the creative concepts that come from meditative moments in warm scented baths. But cultivating the concept of disciplined goal setting and daily self-navigation means I get thru the minutia as well as getting to enjoy the warm scented baths.
Writing book proposals and query letters is instrumental in getting published, and so I consciously make a decision to perfect my shining letters to agents and editors, though I don’t pretend to like it. Not for a second do I consider that I have any innate strength or talent in query writing, although with all the practice, I probably am perfecting the process even as I wince. It’s part of my conscious commitment to take more control of my life that demands I write those queries, send them out to the perfect parties (In bean-counter style, having researched and determined just who those parties might be), as I envision at least one of them actually reading my application, and with excited enthusiasm.
My decision to live consciously has also included growing a thicker skin. I’m collecting ‘rejection letters’ on a regular basis (again) and have gathered them into a rather large volume that sits on my desk. At any time that my ego may attempt to get too big for her britches, I can just pull out the equalizer and cut that ego back down to size. It doesn’t happen often. Life most Earthlings, I wrestle with the balance, the homeostasis, the fodder which provides the substance for the books I write.
I’ve also designed a little book for writing down nice things, complements that others give me about my writing. I write the date, the circumstances, the quote, and the person’s name (if I have managed to get it). This when, where, what and who bolsters me when things get to me. When I’m feeling especially vulnerable, or depressed, or even hopeless, I pull out the collection of positive comments from admiring readers, college professors, and even from elementary school teachers.
“Keep writing. You’re good.”
Many times, I have reread that dog-eared praise as it was scrawled by an English Professor across my first completed manuscript. She was a dear to read it, but the praise was frosting and a cherry on top! I now have it in writing, from a professional, “Keep writing. You’re good.” It’s not an Academy Award. It’s not the Pulitzer Prize, but it’s still enough encouragement to keep my seat in the seat.
Fast forwarding from the time those words were first scrawled, in the spirit of pay-it-forward, I have said those identical words to aspiring writers. Who knows, maybe my name will end up in their little book of complements too for time when their ego needs a little TLC.
Where are your decisions taking you? Whoever you are, and whatever your aspirations, commit to the practice of perfecting. Whatever you do, keep doing it. You’re good at it.
~With Love and Light,