Friday, October 8, 2010
Facing demons and pushing boundaries
I hope you are all enjoying Columbus Day. It's a rather strange thing to celebrate, setting up shop in already inhabited land, but for many it offers an excuse to take a long holiday weekend, so it would be hypocritical to say it's all bad.
For me, today is special because it marks the start date to my first-ever creative writing course. That is, the first writing course I'm taking on my own terms, not for grades and simply for my own enjoyment and development as a writer. I've been finding excuses to avoid signing up for over a year now, so I'm happy to publicize that I finally took the leap and stretched my own limits.
I see this course as another important step in my active process to let go of those things holding me back and step into my fullest self. In a short time I've made significant progress that is perceivable not only to me but also to those that know me well. Naturally, this gives me fuel to continue pushing forward. I admit, however, that this process can be quite a struggle and shouldn't be described as "fun".
Rather, I'd say that what I'm putting myself through in some ways resembles an exorcism or rehab. I can't say I've ever been possessed (some people might testify otherwise), nor have I had a serious meth addiction, but teaching myself to think differently--to actually re-wire my brain (neuroplasticity is a new fascination of mine)--is not a matter of flipping a switch and boom: miraculous change. I believe that the DECISION to make a change can happen suddenly, but what follows is far from smooth. Some days I feel like I'm unstoppable, like I've truly reached another level of understanding and calm. Then out of nowhere, my confidence kicks me in the face and the negative thoughts and feelings I thought I'd already processed and set free reappear and I'm forced to deal with them all over again. And the second, third and fourth times, those old bad habits don't release their grip so easily. Instead, they hold on tighter, fearful of losing their controlling force over me, making me work that much harder to evolve. As a result, I've quickly come to realize that sticking to that decision to change is what matters most. Like kicking any addiction (and believe it or not, a granola addiction is a tough one), some days are easier than others.
As my partner put it, it's something like a river. Sometimes it flows rapidly, even violently. Sometimes it's barely moving. And sometimes it's seemingly flowing in reverse. What's important to recognize is that it is moving, freely and organically, and eventually it will carry you downstream. It's a matter of patience, and sometimes rowing a little harder to stay on course.