Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Do The Work

I've been pouring myself over and into this amazing book that my dear friend shared, "Bird by Bird...Some Instructions on Writing and Life," by the absolutely brilliant Anne Lamott.

I think she knew that I needed some self assurance, a kick in the pants, and some good old fashioned inspiration.

And so last night, in the wee hours, I read this and it clicked:

"Fantasy won't get you in. Almost every single thing you hope publication will do for you is a hologram.  What is real is that if you do your scales every day, if you slowly try harder and harder pieces, if you listen to great musicians play music you love, you'll get better.  But you will have countless, defeated hours of uninspired boredom.  And you will rock and sway and become paranoid, frenzied, angry, beyond unsure...why won't the words come?  But you will show up every day at the same time, in the same place, and you will do the work."

Brilliant.  Completely obvious.  Fucking brilliant.

This is the truth about everything that has ever worked in my life.  If I want it and I want to do well and to experience the greatest sweetness in it, I must show up, day after day, moment after moment and try.

It's insane to me how it's all connected...marriage, parenthood, friendships, careers, running, writing...everything. 

There are so few moments in life when everything you want aligns without you putting in substantial elbow grease to get there.  And the only way to get there is to practice day in and day out as if you are.

I remember when I started running, I felt like a fool...a bonafide idiot...I could barely make it around the block, huffing and puffing, cursing why I ever thought I could do this.  And then, one block turned into two, turned into a 5K, a 10K, a half marathon and then a full marathon.  And almost every Saturday morning when I head out for a long-run, I don't want to go.  I feel anxious.  I get scared.  What if I can't do the mileage?  Is today the day that I'll get injured again?  And with all of the doubt and fear, I still lace up my shoes and I'm always happy that I did.

And now, I'm practicing this concept with writing.  And it's hard.  And I feel like a fraud.  And most days, it's a joke and I can't come up with anything decent and I wonder why is this important to me?  Why do I feel compelled to share any of it with the world? 

But despite my own fear, I keep showing up with my keyboard, my hope, my cup of coffee and my ideas.

When the going gets tough and it always, always does...the only sure fire thing I know, is that you have to be willing, even when it hurts, doesn't make sense or feels show up and to do the work.  The world needs everyone of us.

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