The last few years have been incredibly challenging and difficult, culminating with the loss of my father a month ago tomorrow. I will make a confession: I have been quite tempted to give up on my writing and creative pursuits. For months, I simply could not get the juices to flow, and it felt as though my muse chose a sabbatical at the worst possible time. Everything was falling apart, or so I believed.
The truth was that everything was actually coming together behind the scenes in a way I could have not possibly imagined.
While lying in bed in my Minneapolis hotel room, I thought about all the issues I with which I was dealing. Family problems, work stress, and a desire to just give up on the one area which was vexing me the whole time – my writing work. I hadn’t been able to effectively work on writing in some time. Naturally, my mind wanted to blame everything under the Sun for the issues which led to my predicament, but the fact remained; I needed to find a way to let go, let be, and not allow anything to distract me from what I was working to manifest and accomplish. It was at that moment I came face to face with an old adversary: myself.
The desire to feel sorry for myself was everywhere, but somehow I forged ahead with distractions to allow my spiritual side to do its own work. Aside from a brief blog draft I wrote while on my flight and a a few pages of a manuscript I typed up during my Atlanta layover, I hardly used my laptop. Everything I did that week was with a focus on mindfulness, and being aware of what I was doing and where I was. Other than keeping up an old tradition of drawing a picture on a hotel room scratch pad, there was little desire – or time – to be creative. Even more strange was that I felt absolutely comfortable and at peace with this. My brain and my spirit chose that moment to take a creative vacation. For the first time in many years, I felt zero obligation to write or draw, and that’s when it hit me.
I wasn’t being creative because it served me so well. I was being creative out of a sense of obligation to those who enjoyed my work. There was no joy in it for me, and that was when and why I began to question my ability.
Those questions didn’t last very long. In fact, it was the newly minted blog of my old friend, Stephanie Carr, which reminded me of why I do what I do. Her page, My Soulful Inspirations (now linked to this website), is an expansive bastion of wisdom. She doesn’t do it for money, fame, fortune, or attention, but instead to help others learn from her life choices, triumphs, and challenges. Reading her blog reminded me of just how much the words of one person can touch so many and change the world, if we so choose to focus on the work, take joy in it, and put genuine mindful effort into it. To make a long story short, I lost total sight of the “why” behind my love of writing and creativity, and was instead focusing on the end result. Rather than knowing what success meant to me, I had become obsessed with a perception of it, and failed to keep my focus on the creative process.
I had lost my way. That blog, along with the encouragement of my family and friends, reoriented me back from results to the basic love of my work, and rekindled the fire inside me for the written word.
I can assure you all of this; I will always write, and will always find joy in creative pursuits. I will always do what I can to provide a voice of humorous reason, and work to strike the balance between the spiritual and the practical. My mission for everyone who reads this blog remains the same – to help readers laugh, learn and think. I have been given a great gift of creativity, and I will do everything in my power to avoid wasting it. While I may not ever be well-compensated for this work, the fact remains; my obligation is to the mission of the work; humorous diversions and intelligent discussion.
I appreciate everyone’s indulgence on this creative walkabout, and I offer my thanks to you all. Expect things to be a bit different in the coming months, but I’m certain you will like them. I already like the ideas percolating in my head, and you know how dangerous that can be.