The Art of Keep Going

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The Choke

The feeling curls around my neck. Starting somewhere in the shoulder blades, moving upwards towards the shoulder muscles, then sneaking, slowly, stealthily, along the edges until wrapping around and around the neck column to that indention at the base of my skull.

Stress.

It stabs at that throat chakra, restricting communication, shutting down the ability to express myself. The controlling aspect of my personality — the ultra logical, precise aspect of myself — likes to examine the stress as if it were a lab animal. Poking, prodding, adding stimuli to create reaction, I work my way through the restrictive tentacles.

This morning, the experimentation and the poking are not really required. I know exactly where the stress stems from, and other than attempting to distance myself from the outcome of the cause, there is not much I can do about it.

My logical self hates this kind of stress. “Nothing can be done!?!?,” my logic screams at me, and then doesn’t believe me and thinks I am lying for fun, and then goes in to the corner for a good sulk.

But truly, and honestly, sometimes there is nothing that can be done.

I mean, there is yoga, deep breathing, meditation.

Writing.

All of these are ways of coping with the symptoms. And yes, those things often help; but occasionally it doesn’t matter what you do, or how you try to handle it; sometimes it can’t be handled.

And then, you have to be okay with that too.

INTERMISSION

My mom has cancer.

Now wait, before you wonder where I am going with this, trust me.

My mom has cancer. She has chronic myeloid leukemia. If you’ll notice, the chronic suggests that this is something she will have to deal with for the rest of her life. My mom is young, super young (we are only 16 years apart), so to have a disease that will dog her step forever is a scary, mind-numbing, hard thought to process through.

She wakes up every morning and the cancer is still there. No amount of treatment or therapy will get rid of that chronic disease.

There is nothing to do but deal with the symptoms.

And I not only speak of the physical symptoms of exhaustion and migraines, but the emotional ones as well. These symptoms include defeatism, pessimism, and depression. She deals with sadness, frustration, and paranoia. Every day she has to prove over and over that she can do her job, be a mom and grandmother, and be a friend. Every day she has to remind everyone else… and herself, that she is not cancer.

And she does. Every day.

Are there days that it is harder than others? Absolutely. Sometimes she wakes up and doesn’t want to deal with any of that shit. Sometimes she wakes up and wants to go back to sleep.

But she doesn’t.

She wakes up. And keeps going.

And that is what we all have to do. Keep going.

INTERMISSION OVER

The stress this morning is choking me. I actually feel it like a pressure in my throat, pushing down at my windpipe, closing expressions, words, thoughts, and ability.

And what is causing the stress is entirely out of my control.

I treat the symptoms. I will get a good workout in today to add some happy-hormone. I will make sure to get extra cuddles from my little man. I will do things to decrease the pressure of that python squeezing the living breath out of my body.

And I will keep going. Because, in the end, sometimes that is all you can do.

So, friends, here’s to the process of moving through the day, despite what that day brings. May you find peace, contentment, and the ability to put one foot in front of the other.

Blessings!

quote-Mary-Anne-Radmacher

Creative Cult

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The Tree

Where does your creativity come from? What inspires you to write, dance, paint, or play music? What is that spark, and how does it come to be?

Last Sunday, I participated in a Shamanic journey. The facilitator — a wonderful woman with a light soul — explained that she cannot schedule these journeys on a regular basis because she has to wait until she, herself, is inspired to take the journey. Once undergoing the journey herself, she in turn schedules the same journey to facilitate for others.

Inspiration. Where does it come from?

Through my many years (past years) of writing, the overwhelming consensus of published writers offering their advice, is that inspiration is a myth; or rather, the need to be inspired before creating is a myth. Through hard work, due diligence, etc. etc. creativity will flow and there is no need for this slacker’s excuse of inspiration.

I get why published authors push the inspiration bullshit line. I really do. Most writers barely write because they are waiting for that divine moment, and that is a no good state of affairs. One must write if one wants to be a writer.

I wonder though.

Obviously, in my past I wrote even when inspiration was but a flicker. I am not talking about the non-fictional writing I did as a journalist (which is often times lacking any sort of anything resembling inspirational); rather, the fiction that I delved into and explored.

Between the time I graduated college and today, I have written six complete novels. I’ll also throw in the novel-length fanfiction I did back when HP fanfiction was The Thing To Do.

Seven then, seven complete novels.

Of those, I would say there were hints of inspiration in all of them. Even the romance book I wrote in an attempt to “f*cking get anything published for f*cks sake,” had a bit of inspiration to its story line.

I am not going to go in to the whole FAILING MISERABLY thing… but, it does make me wonder about the creative process and being inspired. There is writing and there is Writing… just as there is music, and then there is Music.

Etc. Etc.

Is inspiration the defining line between the two?

Back to my Shamanic journey. For many, these journeys are powerful and can be life-altering. Me, myself, I always feel like what happens is 80 percent bullocks and 20 percent of something True. But that my is my logical self talking, and my logical self really dislikes anything mythical (though, adversely, understands the deep importance of Myth).

However, for many, these journeys are religious in context and in importance. Is it true and right that my facilitator waits until she is inspired… I think so, actually. But then, it makes me wonder if art (and as a consequence, the influence of art), should also be contingent on inspiration.

I don’t know, obviously, just a thought for today.

What do you think?