Boundaries, Inherent Self-Worth, Practice, Self-Care

Struggling with Quiet

As I’m writing this, it’s a quiet Sunday morning. Out my kitchen window I can watch the wind twiddle the leaves of a tree in my neighbors yard. I find quiet to be difficult to sit with, to enjoy. There are so many opportunities for noise, for filling my time with busyness.  

Today, after writing seven songs in seven days and launching a new forum to support the Fearless Songwriting community, I aim to enjoy, (or rather struggle) with the quiet, let myself be a bit bored—a little like a toddler struggling to avoid a nap.  

Boundaries, Imperfection, Inherent Self-Worth

The Streak

Many websites and apps count streaks. In The Creative’s Workshop I recently completed, I showed up one day and my avatar had a little purple checkmark overlaid on it. Sort of like a gold star. It meant I’d shown up and posted every day for some number of days.

At some point it disappeared from my avatar. I missed a day of posting somehow. I broke the rule for showing up so I lost my purple check mark. Then, a few days after the workshop “ended” I avatars with a banner of a marathoner breaking the race ribbon. Still unsure how I’d lost my purple check mark, I felt jealous and a bit put out.

But what really changed? 

I was still proud of my work. I still made great connections with people in the group. I’m still showing up every day to do my work. I was certainly doing more than enough by my own standards. 

I bring it up because WordPress counts my streaks as well. I’ve currently posted 18 days in a row. Prior to that I’d gone on a 30 day streak. Every time my streak gets broken, I feel a twinge of regret. Yet, what is the point of the work? To be acknowledged by a computer algorithm or to find out what I can offer to others and learn by showing up?   

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Boundaries, Imperfection, Inherent Self-Worth

Who’s Tallest?

I started my life looking up to people, literally. When I was born my closest sibling was five years my elder. My brother a towering ten years old.   

As I grew, I was always comparing myself to others. One of my biggest benchmark’s was growing taller than my mom. Eventually, I passed her. (I never grew taller than my dad).  

I would seem silly today to stand back to back with a peer and see who is taller. And yet, I’m constantly focused on who is better than me. Am I better than this person, or that person? And if I can’t beat someone in height, or talent, I’m nearly always looking for some other way in which I can best them. Maybe their smile is stupid, or they talk in a way that annoys me.

It’s a pretty human thing, this comparison. (I don’t do any of this out loud of course). And yet, wouldn’t it be preferable to simply let people be themselves?     

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Boundaries, Inherent Self-Worth, Self Love, Songwriting, Writing

Self-Love, in the Third Person

Recentlly I heard Mark Brackett on Brené Brown’s podcast. He touched an an interesting idea. He said a study was done that showed people are kinder in how they speak to themselves when they speak in the third person.   

As someone who aspires to beat myself less that’s exciting to me. But speaking in the third person has a bad rap. It’s often portrayed as foolish and grandiose. What if it could be merely loving? 

Daniel Coyle in his “Little Book of Talent” talks about looking for good models of the skill we want to develop in ourselves, and then deeply watching and studying how they do it. Who could I look at deeply as a model of self-love? 

Elizabeth Gilbert.  She was on “The Tim Ferriss Show” recently. She said; “part of my sense of stewardship and friendship over myself is that I try to do really nice things for Liz and I try to do really nice things for future Liz.”  

There it is. She’s offers herself friendship and stewardship and it’s in the third person. She said; “I try to do really nice things for Liz and for Future Liz.” 

Here’s a little bit more, in which she’s talking about for her books.

“I’ll find some really great detail and I’ll write it on a card and I’ll be like, oh, my God, future Liz is going to be so psyched when she finds this card three years from now because she’s going to be writing the scene and she’s going to be stuck and she’s going to reach in and she’s going to pull out this detail and she’s going to be like, ‘Ah, yes.’” 

“And then what happens is that while I’m writing, I’ll reach in and I’ll find some amazing card with a great piece of dialogue on it or a great detail that really helps with the scene and I’ll be like, thanks, past Liz, you’re the best. And it’s this little salute across time where past Liz is like, I got you babe and future Liz is like, thank you for looking out for me, you’re the best.”

(There’s lots of great tidbits throughout the Tim Ferriss’s interview of Liz.  The quotes above start a bit after minute fifty https://tim.blog/2020/05/08/elizabeth-gilbert/ ).

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Boundaries, Inherent Self-Worth, Self Love, Shame

Project Banckruptcy

On a Zoom call the other day a friend brought up the idea of email bankruptcy. Financial bankruptcy is a pretty familiar idea. A person is out of money and can’t hope to pay off your debts, they are extended beyond any hope of recovering. It can be a bit messy, but it gives a person a way to escape.   

Declaring email bankruptcy is similar. A person is over their head in messages and can’t hope to catch up. They call a do over.  

Hearing my friend speak on the idea, I thought, why not project bankruptcy? I had at least one project I needed to declare bankruptcy on. I was uncommitted and falling behind. Quitting wasn’t even going to affect anyone. Not really. 

I’ve been encouraged all my life that being a quitter is a bad thing, (which is a version of all or nothing thinking). Sometimes freeing myself of a commitment is nearly the best thing I can do.

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