Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Being Unapologetic for Following One's True Path

Thien Mu Pagoda grounds, Hue

photograph by Penelope Gan

Earlier I wrote about my struggles to keep with writing my story my way. As I was putting the pieces together for a contest submission, I was looking at what I'd written, what had yet to be written, and how I wanted the story to flow.

I thought about the contest's sponsors: tried to anticipate what they would be looking for. I thought about what other people have deemed worthy literature. Or worthy of publication. Of what an acceptable structure or format would be, how the parts must be chronological or avante garde or traditional or new. That was the hardest one: thinking I had to come up with something totally unique that no one had ever done before or would ever do again and that would be the "wow" that would win me the contest.

Then I thought - wait. It's my story. I'm telling it my way.

And Bonnie Hearn Hill said, yes, to just write. To not edit and to tell my story right now.

So I wrote.

And when it was time, I put the pieces together as I wanted to tell them.

Then today I was talking about this process. Not this exact process with the book, per se, but the whole process - the process of staying with my truth. Even when it hurts. Even when people tell me it can't be done or it's a bad idea or suddently abandon me without even a so-long. Staying with it because this is what I was meant to do, what I enjoy doing, the path I've been wandering along most of my life and it has deepened and strengthened.

And learning not to equate being on my true path with people leaving; which they have, but it's not a cause and effect relationship. Being in my confidence and my truth is being in the flow and in that I get to take pleasure and in that I know I am on my path. I had a good conversation today about this today.

Today I am not giving up - I know, I didn't tell you yet that yesterday I considered it. Really.  I was in "the black hole" and feeling like all this effort was for nothing and nothing would ever change and I should just stop now. Stop writing, stop trying to change, stop trying new physical adventures and fun. But I didn't; and the truth is that now, even when I sometimes dip over the edge of that hole, I'm not in the hole and I keep a forward momentum - even if I have to plug my ears and shut my eyes and say "lalalalala" to keep going.

Today I had a great conversation and did some energy work with mudras (thank you, Pamela). Today I am letting go of old hurts that are not mine to carry. Today I am saying that I am doing what is right and am on my true path. And it feels good. If people leave or people naysay or people try to pull me into their black holes, I can remember today's conversation and remember how I feel right now.

I am on my path and I'm not saying, "sorry." Because this is real.

And I do have the 119 pages of the manuscript ready to go. I'm typing in my outline and project overview right now. I have a very rough brief bio written and a three-sentence project description. It is almost ready to go. And then I will get back to writing the few unwritten pieces and editing the rough pieces. And I will return to editing the novel and writing new short stories.
picture of Koh Tao from TripAdvisor