Friday, March 27, 2009

BlissQuest: Stop Dreaming & Get to Work!

They are the only thing blooming right now,
but we'll take it!!

Listening to: The perfect clarity of this voice.

Bliss: Noticing that the buds on our front willow tree have cracked open, revealing the chartreuse inside. Hearing birds greeting the morning. Feeling the breeze change from icy lake produced to warmer, spring is coming.

(This is the last post as part of the 12 Secrets Book Club. Secret 12 is about setting goals.)

To enjoy freedom, we have to control ourselves.

--Virginia Woolf

Setting goals and following through with them is no secret. Whether you are working on a creative project or something more mundane, to get it done, we all know we have to set goals and follow through. We are all saying "duh."

And yet, I have met wannabe writers who have immense talent and skill, and they expect the writing to be easy, to simply come to them, complete and perfect. They will remain wannabes.

It is the day-to-day work, the one step at a time, the one word at time that gets us to the finished product -- whatever that may be -- and it is this daily work that makes us, officially, Writers...or Painters or Fabric Artists or Whatever It Is You Heart Desires More than Anything Else.

It is the control within the freedom that allows our imaginations to fly.

We can day dream; we can brainstorm; we can fantasize; we can imagine.

We can spend a lifetime in this first step, this space of air and ideas that outsiders think is the permanent resident of the Artistic Type, with looks on our faces that feed into the stereotype of our being "out of it," impractical, ethereal, romantic.

But we will get nowhere.

Someone with a true artistic drive does not want to sit at the curb with the engine running; they want to go somewhere with their work.

It is in the doing that we are true explorers and adventurers of this, mostly, internal space -- a space more vast than, well, Space.

The freedom aspect of art resides in tandem with the control. We need boundaries; we need constraints; we need limits.

Thus, we need goals and steps and plans and outlines. As unromantic as that is.

We can wear big, fluffy sleeved poet's shirts, but we must regularly take the pen to the paper or the fingers to the keyboard or brush to canvas.

It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the
creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning
a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on
more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned.
Determination not to give in and the sense of impending
shape keep one at it more than anything.

--Virginia Woolf

Yes, determination and the slightly elusive shape of what is to come keep one at it.

My writing group has come to the end of their part in editing my novel. Now I must roll up my big, white fluffy sleeves and do the rest, alone, in my garret, with my own deadlines. There is no one else, just me and my goals.

Finally, also, just two days ago, a couple of nonfiction books finally coalesced in my head. I have the beginnings of outlines and lists for research sitting on my apple-green desk.

Only by my own willpower will any of this get done.

I am free. But not to create schedules and lists and goals would endanger that freedom.

In what way do you need some control?


differenceayearmakes said...

I got up this morning, got my cup of coffee, sat at the computer and clicked on your blog..


(laughing) This is just exactly what I needed to hear.

Rowena said...

Sing it, sister!

Bohemian Single Mom said...

Way to go!!!
I've been so sick and have missed blogging and the last couple of weeks, so I'm glad to have come here to read your thoughts on this week's chapter.
Awesome! You are so cool, and the way you've written makes me feel like I'm not so far behind!
Great post!

Jennifer Hugon said...

Haha, I think I need some control to NOT be so in need of control all the time! Indeed, I need the opposite of lists and schedules right now.

I find myself obsessing over the mundane (bills, record keeping, time tracking, lead pursuing, quoting, emailing, financial projections) so much that I can't let go to just create. I am frozen in that space of dreams and ideas and can't seem to move forward because of the minutia. Some of it is fear of not living up to my own lofty standards, some might be laziness, but most is fear of loss of control.

Thanks for this post Christine! It's a great kick in the behind for me today!

Tom (Mystics Meeting) said...

MOYERS: In classic Christian doctrine the material world is to be despised, and life is to be redeemed in the hereafter, in heaven, where our rewards come. But you say that if you affirm that which you deplore, you are affirming the very world which is our eternity at the moment.

CAMPBELL: Yes, that is what I’m saying, Eternity isn’t some later time. Eternity isn’t even a long time. Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is that dimension of here and now that all thinking in temporal terms cuts off. And if you don’t get it here, you won’t get it anywhere. The problem with heaven is that you will be having such a good time there, you won’t even think of eternity. You’ll just have this unending delight in the beatific vision of God. But the experience of eternity right here and now, in all things, whether thought of as good or as evil, is the function of life.


the key word in "wannabe" is "want"

I have to ask if you think there is any way that this "want" will keep us from seeing the beatific wholeness of this moment, just as it is- now - without any want for a different future moment...?

in my own practice of bliss- everything is just as it is- and when I see "want" creep in there, then I know I am off the path...

even now- this post- "wants" to be understood- "wants" to be seen as 'well said' ... and I can see it- as clear as the day- it keeps me from this moment- from complete bliss! (as far as I am attached to said "want")

blisschick said...

Rebecca, I hope you can see that you are already moving beyond that romantic stereotype -- you already are putting yourself daily into your Work.

Ah, Jennifer, so you DO need some control -- to stop yourself from the distractions of being the "good businesswoman." :)

Tom, Yes, but without the want and the desire, no great art, no great works would ever be accomplished.

The bliss to which I refer in this blog is not a state of being, but a state of doing. As in Campbell's own explanation of bliss as a path, not as a feeling.

Jei said...

I realize that I am sooooooooo late, but I'm finally going to go and pick up this book. I've been reading your posts and something said go do it.

So, I'm obeying...and it does not hurt that it's 60 degrees out on this Spring day and my lunchtime walk will take me by the water! Great way to break up the workday!

Tom (Mystics Meeting) said...

"not a state of being, but a state of doing"

hehe- that gives a chuckle of course- the other part of wannabe is "being" :)

I see what you are saying- thank you for the clarification

Pink Heels said...

Will power vs. procrastination. If anyone figures out how to overcome the latter, let me know! : )

mothermidwife said...

I was needing your comments today. I was whinning that writing is such hard work. What disapline it takes to follow my heart. It makes no sense to me why my hands ache to write and my head screams to slow down and write. I have to do it or I will get sick!!

mothermidwife said...

This is just what I needed. It is a challenge to write everyday. But if you are a writer, it is a way of life to just keep writing. I find that if I don't write I get sick

KathrynAntyr said...

It sounds like you are opening up and ready to take the next steps. Goal setting is so helpful. I love my lists. People ask me how I get so much done. My secret, make a list!

All the best to you with your dream projects. You are well on your way.

{soul hugs}

Tracy said...

Your post really spoke to me. Thank you!

Pearl Maple said...

That is a lovely post, i am lagging way behind on the 12 secrets project but enjoying everyone's posts that inspire all kinds of different thoughts.
Thanks for sharing and good luck with all your plans.

peppylady said...

I guess every step one takes it one step closer to your goal.

Coffee is on.

peppylady said...

I guess every step one takes it one step closer to your goal.

Coffee is on.

Genie Sea said...

Christine, I really like you style. You reach in with your words like a surgeon and get to the heart of the matter, stopping up any irregularities of preconception.

You are just what the doctor ordered. Best of luck in your endeavors, because we all need a little bit of that too :)

karmacoy said...

I love my Lists!

I recently bought the book Dream It. List It. Do It! How to Live a Bigger & Bolder Life, from the Life List Experts at 43 Things. com. I bought it because I love my lists. I love making them, and making progress toward checking them off! I make lists everyday and if I don't put my goals onto lists (from as mundane as drink water every day to as lofty as record your own songs) they usually don't get done!

Another fantastic post, thank you Christine!

Lissa said...

It just so happens that I have been having some discussions lately about control with those closest to me. Some things you have to let go and go with the flow. The one I do I have to work on is getting organized. That is a goal within reach. Also I would like to thank you for your many wonderful posts throughout the 12 secrets. Lessons 5 & 8 were Ah Ha moments for me. I started creating a sanctuary in my home and started connecting the dots in my alliances. It was amazing! You are truly wonderful and I wish you continued BLISS on your journey:)

Lisa PN said...

oh, so sweet and wonderful.
i stopped and listened to marvin gaye and of course got all choked up with emotion.

Yes, art is hard work. I always remind people of that, but there are some of us who have no choice and feel the need to create and share stories and be artists in this lifetime.

And yes, it's hard work!

thank you for all of your brilliant wisdom!

Jamie said...

"Doing the work" is one of the big steps that many people don't realize is a part of the package. Some days it will be hard, others joyous, others tremendously mundane. Showing up and doing the work are essential ingredients of dream-making.

(And pssst, I have an award for you)