Archive for June 13th, 2013

June 13, 2013

Friday photo poetry: steep places


There will always be steep places to climb,

swift rivers to swim and deserts to wander.

These are Life’s challenges; they claim my time

with riddles and puzzles I can’t help but ponder.

Sometimes, gratitude is my only goal.

I’ll find it on any-ways and every-wheres–

they are the adventures that try my soul.

(I’m glad some of them have stairs.)


June 13, 2013

Chocolate windows: how loving myself frees me to write

Chocolate windows! :)

Chocolate windows! 🙂

I broke down yesterday and bought chocolate.

It was an extra-large Hershey’s Symphony bar, and as I unwrapped it to divvy it up among family members, the rectangles caught my toddler’s attention.

“Ta-cat win-now. Ta-cat win-now.” He pointed at the chocolate and said those words over and over, until I finally understood what he was seeing.

“Yes, those are chocolate windows. You can have one, two, three of them.”

He climbed into his booster seat and counted his pieces of chocolate with me. After that, he was too busy eating and smearing melted chocolate over the table top to pay much attention to me.

I ate my chocolate, too, but I saw it in a different way. An ordinary treat had become magical, simply because it was now full of windows.

It was dark glass, to be sure, and delicious…and it tossed my thoughts across the phrase “for now we see through a glass, darkly.” (Which, by the way, I first came across as a child, in a novel brought home from the bookmobile.)

I mused all afternoon on my life perceptions. The phrase still hadn’t left me this morning, but it condensed some, thickened and held when I ran my mind across the most important relationships in my life.

After a day and a half of musing, I realized two things:

  • The most important people in my life deserve for me to see them clearly and love them completely, unconditionally, the way they are.
  • That’s a lot easier to do than extending the same courtesy toward myself.

Still. I don’t think I can show love for the people in my life as completely and fully as I want to until I am able to do the same for myself.

Here’s the reason: they at least partially define who they are because of their connections to me and to who I am. I do them no favors by hiding any greatness in me that I find. I serve them best when I let my good points show.

I suppose it’s a matter of integrity, of living up to the highest and best ideals I hold in my heart.

Yesterday’s musings led to a day and a half of reviewing my personal rules for dealing with others. I have two main rules–one, always do everything in my power to withhold judgment or criticism from everyone else, and two, always do everything in my power to lift, build and bless every other human I come across.

This naturally extends into my writing. I want very much to write and write and write, to cover nonfiction topics that make people smile and to create novels that will bring joy to children and provoke thoughtful improvement in the life of adults. In my mind, it’s the new American Dream, and I am not alone in hoping that my writing will affect the world in some positive way–even if it’s a very small way.

But when it comes to myself, I find I’m very selfish.  On one hand, half the writing I do really is for myself alone, for the simple joy of putting words together. The other half tends to get tangled up in my ego. When that happens, I sometimes forget to withhold judgment and criticism from myself. I tear myself apart when I could be saving that criticism for the editing process alone, and for my writing alone–not for me as a person.

This is perhaps the darkest glass of all. It’s impossible to see myself clearly enough to love myself when I’m zeroing in on all my faults. It impacts the people I love, but it also impacts my writing by providing writer’s block, the fear of failure and other hurdles.

The truth is, I write best and most prolifically when I feel confident and secure in myself. Loving myself frees me to write.

When I’m in my zone and I’m alright with myself, every idea becomes a window to another world that I can’t wait to explore. Like many other writers, I have lists and lists of books I want to write.  These are ideas to savor and enjoy,to share with others, to lighten dark days with the joy of creation.

Perhaps they’re all just chocolate windows, and some of them will melt in the sun…but they’re delicious to me, just the same.

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