I read my pithy quote from Flaubert (see left, and below) today, as if I’d never seen it. Having just finished up an intensely emotional phone call with an old friend where she listened to me wrangle with my confusion and anxiety, I was breathing deeply and calmly and trying to reach inside for some pathway to answers to a vexing problem I’m experienceing, one that is triggering old patterns of self-blame and misery.
I have learned how to put a stop to that hellbound slide, so it rarely becomes an issue anymore. But this situation is restimulating something old and nasty, and I’ve spent a few days fending off weepiness and a feeling of doom.
One of the things my friend did was challenge a deeply held belief. She said: “If you were SURE in that belief, you would be able to move on into acceptance of the situation. By continuing to look outside for advice and validation I challenge you to see if that’s what you really believe.”
I’ve been here before: when I was married (long ago and far away) I found myself bouncing like a tennis ball between my mother’s and my husband’s opinions, each of whom were convinced that the other was the cause of all my troubles. It took a long time for me to wake up to the fact that I had to make my own decisions, neither on them was going to have the right answer for me.
Ironically, a little later today I listened to a colleague/friend who needed exactly the opposite advice: ask for more outside help, get a team, don’t try to go it alone.
It occurs to me that we need both, all the time, and in balance. I need to strengthen my pathway to my inner self/soul/higher power/God to empower my ability to be confident and decisive. And there are plenty of times that I need to reach out, team up, collaborate with others to achieve my dreams. Right now with my current big personal challenge, I’ve done enough external research, enough listening to wise friends and colleagues. I need to get quiet and listen for what I truly believe is the right path.
I’m thinking of another challenge I work with on a daily basis that requires I reach out and depend on an outside team for support. Try to go it alone and I quickly slip into trouble. But with that issue I also know that I must have a deep abiding contact with my Higher Power in order to stay in balance. So I know I need to continue to access both sources of help.
So back to that quote:
The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.
I haven’t even looked at in a long while. (Time for a new quote!) My restless searching for answers often brings me to writing, the answers surprising me since I didnt set out to write for that reason. It’s a magical quality of the flow of words, I think. So, as I prepare for a 6 day journey to the west and back, I dust off my Morning Pages and will start the day with at least 3 pages of writing, no censor, no editor, just flow.
I’ll let you know what happens!
Post Script: Why not join me in this experiment. If you have a life question or decision that is dogging you, something you’re finding it difficult ot move forward on, let’s take the next week to write first thing every morning for the next 7 days and see what the Muse brings us!
Leave a comment and play along!