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.  

Imperfection, Inherent Self-Worth, Shame

The Secret

It’s been a while since The Secret by Rhonda Byrne was published. It’s premise is that anything I focus on hard enough, the universe will manifest. I don’t believe that’s entirely true, but it’s not all poppycock either; what I focus on and work towards is much more likely to happen.   

The other day I began wondering though, if The Secret were true, what is my responsibility for others? A person might say that others manifest their reality as well and so are responsible for themselves.  But why aren’t I manifesting on other’s behalf? I can manifest whatever I want right? Why is my vision board filled cars and houses for myself and my loved ones only? What is in me that when presented with a seemingly unlimited opportunity causes me to focus on my own material gain? Is there still some fear in me of a mean-spirited universe which provides abundantly for individuals but sputters and chokes when asked to provide for others? 

These questions lead me onto the muddy path of shame and self-denigration. I think I should be a better sharer. A compassionate view might be something like this; I can aim for and aspire to abundance that provides for more than just myself. 

Life on planet Earth has been duking it for 3.7 billion years. We only crawled out of the ocean with backbones about 450 million years ago.  Our lizard brains became monkey minds with an onboard pre-frontal cortex only about 200,000 years ago. Modern agriculture and the current industrial age? That’s less than 100 years old. For living creatures, living in abundance is nowhere close to habitual, never mind gracious. Still I can aim to remember that while The Secret isn’t true, it is true that what I focus on and work towards is much more likely to happen.   

Success! You're on the list.
Inherent Self-Worth, Self Love

The Gardener

Here’s a little note I sent to myself across time via 

Thinking today again about how I might fertilize and make my “garden” more lush. What are the things a good gardener does to keep things lively and rich in a garden? Rotating crops, churning the soil, watering plants, building lattice work for vines that things that need them. He let’s nature do it’s job by observing the world around him and working with it. Sometimes he gets rid of things, weeds and prunes where needed. If he’s a wine maker, he likely takes a long view. New grape vines take at least 4 years to produce fruit. Sometimes producing less means producing a better quality product in the end. Old vines–30, 40, 60 year vines, maybe 100 year vines produce great fruit if tended well.

As a gardener what are the things that I want to produce in my life? What are the qualities that I want my life to have? I like interaction and play and intellectual pursuits. I love music and stories. I love the idea of simplifying things.

Success! You're on the list.
Imperfection, Inherent Self-Worth, Self Love

It just Sounds Good

There are five notes in a pentatonic scale, and as long as a person plays them in in key none of them will ever sound bad. It just sounds good. Maybe not great but good. That’s a strong place to start. 

The truth is, when I was first shown the pentatonic scale, I wanted the secret to being a better guitarist than other people. Being merely good wasn’t good enough because I thought my value came from my abilities and performance. Any slip and I might become worthless. Yet, generally something can’t be great until a person has done it (and failed at it) countless times, over many many years. That’s a long time to wait for worthiness. 

This is where a sense of inherent self-worth could have been preferable. Inherent self-worth gives me a foundation on which I can show up as I am, learn, and grow.  With inherent self-worth something which starts as “merely good,” (or even awkward and halting), has space to develop, to become a skill. Given enough time a person might mistake that something for an innate talent. 

Inherent self-worth is like the pentatonic scale. It’s merely good. It’s hard to “sound bad” if I’m playing with inherent self-worth. It’s a strong place to start. If I aspire to be better than others, I’ll never be enough. But if I’m willing to show up as I am I can learn, and grow.  That’s inherent self-worth.

Success! You're on the list.
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?   

Success! You're on the list.