Monday, January 16, 2017

Be Polite to Yourself

Once again, my mind has been blown by a book. This tiny book with the big title, has shifted me like a planet who's axis was off by a lot of degrees, but just got twenty closer to straight. It's Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert. But more on that later.

Have you ever read a completely inspiring book? One that made you laugh and read bits out loud to anyone who made the mistake of being next to you? One that put sparkles in your eyes when you talked about it? Or if someone mentions they loved it, you gasp and try not to say, "I had no idea we were kindred spirits!" 

Have you also ruined it for yourself? I started to, multiple times with Big Magic. I'll tell you what I mean.

Once I was halfway through Big Magic, I'd feel elated after each reading. Joy mixed with excitement at all the possibilities and definitely, the brightness of hope. I dared to believe I could break free from the rule of my ego, to create with reckless abandon. I felt expansive, like I'd just taken a breath til my lungs filled to the tippy-top or I was a balloon getting light enough to take flight. 

Then a cloud would cover my soul's sun, because I'd have these thoughts. "You are fundamentally different from Liz (the author) in these ways: you are susceptible to pity parties, you tire easily, you give yourself a free pass sometimes but never know whether it was appropriate or not, guilt clobbers you. Basically, you don't know how the hell to manage yourself." 

To which the old me would try to argue logically against all the untruths presented. But this time, following Liz's example, I tried something new. I said, "Hello my friend, Fear. I'm aware you will freak out any time I'm about to take flight and you may have your moment, but that is all I'll allow of your sun-blocking tirade. I like how the sun feels. I'm curious where I'll end up if I let myself go. I believe I was made for this by virtue of BEING ALIVE and HUMAN and I also happen to believe it's exactly HOW I will learn to manage myself. I'm sure we'll have many more talks like this because I intend to continue to ascend." 

It's the craziest thing! It's been WAY more effective than my old arguments that went back and forth, back and forth, stressing me out and getting me stuck in my head. Nothing ever felt settled and using this weirdly formal, I'm-as-polite-as-can-be-but-I'm-still-the-boss voice, feels final. I haven't had to hash this out since I wrote it January 14th. 

It also feels peaceful and harmonious. I suppose that's because I'm not rejecting the part of me that's feeling Fear. I accept it, make space for it even, because it's natural. Liz suggests the only way to avoid fear is to live the most uninteresting life. Anyway, I'm ready to lavish myself with this charmingly polite voice. While it's very playful, she sometimes sounds like she actually knows how to handle herself. 

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