Friday, May 24, 2013

Some kind of beginning



 “If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are-if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.” 
–Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth


Little me, big mountain (Canada, 2011)
In one month from today, I will turn 30. I recognize this as just another day, age ain’t nothing but a number, baby. However, I wrestle with a feeling of discontent, not with the material pieces of my life, but disappointment in my lack of creative accomplishments. I’m not talking Pulitzers. By accomplishments, I mostly mean my unwillingness to share my worldview in a public space, to speak my truth. You know, those scattered pieces of ideas that run through your mind when you’re driving on the freeway or taking a poop, the ones you neglect to write down and form into a cohesive narrative. I should be honoring those little bits by giving them more time to breath and grow into something whole. While most of them are nonsense, there might be one hint of wisdom that peaks through that could be worthy. It’s time I give space and time for my own philosophy to evolve.

My rad parents, photo by Morgan Wade Photography
 My parents have always encouraged me to write. It should be noted that I have an extremely hard time with people giving me “advice,” just ask my husband. So, whenever my parents suggested this path to me, I always rolled my eyes and said, “You can’t just be a writer.” I recognize this as being a totally stupid thing to say, because in fact, you can just be a writer. It’s called putting pen to notebook or fingers to keys or crayon to construction paper, whatever. It’s writing, and you’re a writer. Congratulations. It’s not as if my parents suggested a career in brain surgery. Perhaps, than I could say, you can’t just be a brain surgeon, which would make much more sense. (What I should have said to my parents, and what I say now, is thanks! Thanks for not telling me to be a lawyer or accountant or something. Whose parents say, you should probably consider writing? Yes, they are awesome.)


What I was really saying, without being honest with myself, was, “I’m afraid to be a writer. What if I’m no good?” While it may not be specific to only my generation, I feel there is this strange reality we 70’s and 80’s babies were born with, a sense that we were/are destined for greatness. I’m talking big ideas that move and shake the world. What I’ve learned over the last few years is fuck greatness. Great expectations lead to great disappointment. Trying for greatness alone is like putting on a coat that weighs 30 pounds and is four sizes too big, it’s paralyzing. My misconception was that to be a writer I had to be published, and not just published but like famous or something. I had to write the next great novel or sit across from Jon Stewart talking about my book that will solve the global economic crisis. But that’s not me, I know very little about fixing problems. Plus, books on global economics are often really, what’s a nice way to say this, dense. Except for Joseph Stiglitz, I like him. That guy can write about it. If you’re interested in reading about global economics, stop reading this blog post and go read one of his books, he knows what he’s talking about.

But back to me, how am I supposed to be any kind of writer if all I do is inconsistently scribble things down in my journal? Which leads to another thing I’ve learned over the past few years, all of life is practice. As Ashtanga yoga founder Prattibi Jois said, “Practice and all is coming.” Want to do something, be something, than you have to show up…everyday. Your possibility is directly linked to your effort. Talk is cheap, baby.

So, here I am. Starting this blog. I mean, what does a young person with a degree in Philosophy and Political Science do other than work in coffee shops and start blogs? I’ll be honest. I have previously held pretty judgmental views about the blog-o-sphere. Such as, bloggers are: people with too much time on their hands, people looking for validation, people who like talking about themselves, people who have no clue what they’re talking about but really like ranting. Well, maybe all of those things apply to me, I just no longer care. I will say that I’ve recently discovered some pretty amazing blogs from cooking to academics to yoga to knitting and even ranting.

I’m throwing my hat in, putting some skin in the game, and other expressions about participation. With this blog, I hope to create a space for creative inquiry and discussion. I feel our society does itself a great disservice by encouraging people to start from a place of having it all figured out, like a math problem where you don’t have to show your work. Well, I’m giving more than partial credit for the work. Here’s the last lesson of my first blog, I have no idea what’s going on, and I’m better off for it. What’s that expression, “the more I learn, the less I know.” I’d like to apply that expression to this blog. It’s time we try to be a little more comfortable with the space in between each others beliefs and embrace the great mystery of our being. I like to approach it in this way, sure there are things I believe, things I feel pretty certain about, but I would like to leave myself open to the possible, to be open to being proven wrong in any second of any day…with the exception of Tuesdays.  I mean, how totally awesome is it that we still have so many things to learn in this lifetime? I recently read a book by Brian Leaf called Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi. In it he recalls a quote from Kripalu Yoga Center founder (also famous for sexual scandals), Amrit Desai, “The more beliefs and conclusions you have about life, the less you are willing to explore the infinite wealth and beauty of what actually happens.”

Infinite Cloud, Taken somewhere in the Midwest, 2011.
In that spirit, I’ve entitled this blog, A Work On Progress (I’m guessing there are probably 20 other blogs with this title, but what are ya gonna do?). I honor the journey, the patience required of meaningful practice. I honor the mystery. Let's wade into the pool of infinite possibilities, people! Isn't that where all the great ideas are? Regardless, swimming in infinity sounds pretty damn divine to me.


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