Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wreck This Journal - Week 3

To create is to destroy - Part 2

In my update last week I mentioned that I wanted to know what the statement "to create is to destroy" meant. As I entered Week 3 of this process, that statement was still very much on my mind. I was getting frustrated because I couldn't seem to get it. Many of the other participants in this process seemed to be having a great time wrecking their journals and I wanted to be one of them but the truth was I wasn't having a great time. This process of wrecking the journal was bugging me and I didn't know why.

Over the weekend one of my favorite quotes from "Letters to a Young Poet" by Ranier Maria Rilke came to mind. It's from Letter Four and it says:

"Try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."

This was exactly what I needed to hear. I put the journal aside and didn't open it for several days. I had put my questions out there 1). What does "to create is to destroy" mean? and 2). Why is this process of wrecking the journal bugging me so much? Then I just let go of the entire process and decided that I was going to live my way into the answers as Rilke suggested. I would give up the frustration I was feeling and would just focus on living my life. The very next day something very innocent but very enlightening happened for me.

I got a call from the library that two books I had requested had arrived and were being held for me. I was anxiously awaiting these books and now they were here. I wanted to pick them up after work, go to my Mastermind group and then spend the rest of the evening reading. But as the day progressed I remembered that part of the road in front of the library was under construction and decided I would wait and pick the books up during my lunch hour the next day when there would be less traffic. I remembered that my gas tank was almost on empty and reminded myself that I should stop at the gas station right down the street from work to fill up before driving home. But I decided to wait until the next day to fill up because I had enough gas to make it home and I could fill up in the morning. As I was leaving my office I thought it would probably be a good idea to make a bathroom stop before driving home but I decided to wait because I didn't have to go that bad. After all, it was only a 15 minute drive and I could wait.

Well, guess what happened. As soon as I entered the highway all traffic came to a stop. There was a very bad accident; someone had driven off the overpass and the highway was shut down. I had a lot of time to think about my recent decisions while I was waiting for the highway to reopen.

I knew I had a choice. I could complain about the fact that I was stuck in traffic and get myself all worked up or I could make the best of the situation. I reminded myself that it was my choice to "wait" and I got exactly what I asked for.

I took the time in the car to appreciate the fact that I was safe and healthy. I sent thoughts of comfort and well-being to the person involved in the accident and to his family. I appreciated the air conditioning and having good music to listen to. I had my vision book with me so I got that out and spent time looking at a visual representation of what my life was in the process of becoming. Soon the highway opened back up and I was on my way home. I made a decision right then that if I felt a nudge to do something I would do it instead of waiting.

The next evening I was sitting at my computer reading some of the WTJ blog posts when I got the nudge to do the shower thing again. This time I decided to follow that nudge and see where it would lead me. I wasn't ready for my shower yet but I didn't let that stop me. I grabbed the journal, walked into the shower fully clothed, put the book in the shower caddy, turned the water on and totally soaked it. It was great. I loved it. Now I was having some fun! Of course once I got started I couldn't stop myself. I grabbed the soap and got the book all soapy. Then I opened some of the pages to make sure they were getting wet too. I wondered why I had made such a big deal about getting it wet. I put it on the bathroom counter to dry out and forgot about it.

I sat down this afternoon to write this blog post and as I was looking over my notes for the week, a couple of things stuck out at me. Something sounded very familiar.

I wanted to pick up the books from the library but I didn't do it; I decided to wait

I was going to fill up my gas tank but I didn't do it: I decided to wait

I was going to make a bathroom stop before driving home but I didn't do it; I decided to wait.

Notice a pattern here? There's my "I'll wait" excuse from Week 1 and my "I wanted to yet I didn't" excuse from Week 2.

These are excuses I use frequently but didn't realize I was doing it until this wrecking the journal process started pointing them out to me. Maybe that's why the wrecking process was bugging me so much. I'm seeing a direct correlation between the limitations I feel about wrecking the journal and the blocks I've put up in my own life that keep me from creating the life I desire.

Now I know my little traffic story may not seem like much but it illustrates a pattern that I've had throughout my life. For instance a few years ago I wanted the experience of living in Manhattan for a year. I didn't know anyone who lived there and I didn't make a lot of money at the time. I couldn't afford it on my own but I was completely in love with the city and wanted the experience of living there. Long story short, as usually happens in my life, I ended up meeting someone that loved my enthusiasm for the city and offered me a place to stay on the Upper West Side, rent free. I had just been given what I asked for but then I started thinking about all the potential problems - what was I going to do with my house and my car, etc. and I started putting up blocks to the experience. I wasn't doing this intentionally but I was doing it. I decided it wasn't the right time for me to move and I would wait a few months to take care of some things related to my house and car and then I would go. But I never did. I decided to wait.

So, what am I waiting for? I guess that's another question I get to live on my way to the answer. In the meantime maybe I can start changing my pattern from "I'll wait" and "I wanted to yet I didn't" to:

"I wanted to and I did"!
Yes, I like the sound of that much better!

11 comments:

Sherri said...

Congratulations on making that giant leap from waiting to "I want to and I did!" That is huge! I'm finding it really interesting to see how this journal wrecking is revealing my own and others self-imposed limitations. Happy wrecking!

gemma said...

Whenever there is something you'll save for a rainy day. Reminded yourself....it's raining!

Kirby3131 said...

About a week after I got back from a trip overseas, I was offered the chance to go to Rome in Feb of next year. There were 2 seats left. I wrote the check and said yes. I'd been thinking about going on that trip for a year, but kept "forgetting" to ask about it. Then all of a sudden there it was! I took it.

I'm glad you have found something in the journal that was actually in you! How exciting!!

Rose said...

I am glad you have been able to move forward. There is nothing worse than feeling blocked, being able to say no I don't want to do this is better than blockage... So to be able to identify your blocks is such a powerful thing! Now you know what they are you can make a decision whether to listen to them or not each time... They no longer have as much power!

Genie Sea said...

And that's why this whole process is so freakin fantastic! :) It's not just about tearing out a page in this book, it's so much more!

I love your traffic story. It's a perfect parable of the woman who waited too much. I can totally identify with this! Thank you for sharing it :)

Janet said...

EXCELLENT post! I, too, often am guilty of the waiting thing. Next thing I know, I have what feels like an insurmountable list of "little" things to do. Thanks for sharing!

Jamie Ridler said...

Woot! There's power in those words! I'm imagining many more "I wanted to and I did"s to come!

What a brilliant idea - to live the questions on your way to an answer. Thank you for sharing!

Suzanne said...

I'm enjoying reading about your wrecking adventures. The freedom you are experiencing is so much fun to read about!

As I read your posts I thought of how abundant nature is --roses, flowers, clouds, sunsets and the beauty of nature changing every minute, never the same again. And even beauty created by humans: I used to live near DC and Tibetan Buddhist monks spent two weeks creating a beautiful mandala out of colored sand and then scattered the sand into the Potomac for the peace and healing of the United States.

Reading your experience makes me feel very free and reminds me not to worry about "things" -- just enjoy the moment. There will always be more!

Melba said...

Thank you for sharing this post. I love to hear the process from someone living the LOA. I have been taking notes too, but they don't very often get to a blog post.

Annie said...

Wow, I saw myself in this post. I do the same thing, but never noticed, or put the clues together.
Thanks so much for this, I feel so excited to do some more exploring in this area :-).

Julie Embestro said...

Congratulations! It brought some sense to my own life as well. And that is just by reading your own realizations