The subject of trust is an important one when it comes to creative living. Here’s the conclusion to the post I began last week.
Last spring, as I entered the final stretch of writing, Building Immunity in Babies and Children, I clearly remember a long string of weekends full of suffering. All the signs of spring teased me through the windows of my office. I would day dream of the simple pleasure of spending hours after my morning swim at Barton Springs soaking up the quiet or sitting at sunset watching the egrets fish for their evening meal at the lower falls of McKinney State Park. Instead, the task driver in me had set a deadline. A deadline meant no languishing about.
While a daily dose of nature was in the schedule, it was time blocked without a bit of slack. I had a job to finish and that required my focus on my laptop as I attempted to knit together, with some clarity, strands of key points needing to be expressed. I had made the decision, based on advice from my advance readers, to blend what were 5 chapters on chronic symptoms into one smooth read. For some reason I was finding the task excruciating. I was ready to be done. I was so ready, that I told everyone who would listen. This went on until finally my gentle, tolerant husband sat me down and said these important words,
“Listen to me, this has never been about being done. For you, this project has been about helping parents. If you quit before you find the clearest way to communicate your message, all of the time you have put into this will be without meaning.”
His words hit hard and were absolutely sobering. They were powerful and clear enough to shift my focus. They helped me realize I had lost two essential elements in the process that could bring joy:
2. The craft of writing
I had chosen instead to create a story line for myself of the suffering writer and clung to it with all my might. With this change in perspective, I no longer was working to finish but working to be clear, and that is exactly when the joy returned to my writing. My purpose returned when I could visualize an actual parent from my practice sitting right in the room with me asking for clarification as I explained a particular topic.
In my desire to rework passages in order to bring a greater clarity, I remembered the love I have for connecting words in a way that leaves no doubt in their message. I began to trust in the pure pleasure it delivered and let it serve as my barometer. When it slipped from my sight I knew I needed to adjust course.
As I embark on a third book, this post serves as a deep personal reminder for me to set the right intention from the start. I’ll happily commit right now to place my trust in the joy of the process. In order to stay true to that, I’m starting off by inviting a few important folks into the party with me because it’s more difficult to wallow in misery while there’s company looking on. I’ll soon meet with a few of my trusted colleagues to serve as my brain trust, to challenge the expression of my ideas. Since I will share a bit of my personal story this time, I’ve asked a dear friend who I’ve known since we were 11, to keep me accountable for showing up authentically and completely. I’m so excited I honestly can hardly wait! Who knows, I may fall so in love with the process that I won’t want this next endeavor to end.
“Trust opens up new and unimagined possibilities.”
~Robert C. Solomon~
It’s been my pleasure sharing this series on Creative Living, inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert’s most recent book, Big Magic. If you are just joining in you certainly won’t want to miss all of the other posts! Start out here with my post on Courage.