I’m Still Here

Hello, readers! I am back to assure you that I have not abandoned my blog. Yes, it’s been a week. A really really really really really rough week. I’m at an ebb in my journey through writing and creativity, and I have been at a peak of disorganization and illness.

I decided to halt my meanderings through The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Frankly, I started falter after week 3. By week 8, I began to repeat weeks. When I “redid” week 10, I did not look at the book. I said I would read through the remaining chapters, but I haven’t.

Is that a failure? In some ways, yes. Part of the issue is that I find it time consuming and difficult to think of an artist date every week. Julia recommends that you push your creative boundaries, but I’m not sure I’m at that level. I’ve even lost the motivation to write morning pages.

On the plus side, I have an appointment with a social worker who uses EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) as part of her treatment work. I worked with a social worker for 2.5 years in the Boston area who used EMDR, and I found it effective. I only stopped after moving to the NYC area in September.

I am in the place where I have always gotten stuck, although I managed to stay motivated for an amazing three months. That may not sound like much. When you are the type of person who’s enthusiasm almost never lasts a week, this is amazing.

Either way, I want to dig in the earth of my primal system and memories and excavate all the terrors and monsters that continue to haunt my life.

I seek nothing less than to open my core up to the world. I seek fearlessness.

From May 31 to June 9, I am participating in the Hay House World Summit 2014 where I will have access to 100 audio lessons, worksheets, movies, and videos, as well as making a donation, all for $7.

As a huge fan of The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer, I bought and downloaded two mp3s of the author’s insights on the book, approximately 2 hours in length altogether.

I seek radical, life-changing transformation in a positive direction where I am able to consistently work towards my goals.

Universe, gimme all ya got. I stand ready to receive your guidance.

Namaste.

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Drastic Steps Required

Changes to my writing schedule send me careening into my Lazy Zone, an old sock kind of smelly avoidance of writing and work. Morning pages become transformed into post-lunch hazy afternoon pages into quiet meditation early evening pages. With a reluctant groan, I constructed a two-column list: Daytime Activities (7:30a-6p) and Evening Activities.

Daytime Activities include printing out daily calendar & task list, writing (morning pages, timed writing, blog writing, novel draft writing), job hunting (sites, applying, finding networking, copywriting), web design, reading industry mags, meditation, eating, and the gym. Evening activities are the creative activities I will sweetly reward myself with after 6pm: making cards, jewelry, current events, Facebook, photos & photo editing, organizing, cleaning).

The longer during the day that I wait to write, the harder it becomes. I am an old man reaching the end of his physical ability to bear the coal dust of laziness in his mouth and soul. Laziness is my alcoholic’s battle, addicted to that feeling of doing nothing while simultaneously knowing that each drink of bourbon burns the throat, nose, and self spirit with its fumes. Blogging here is my AA meeting, baring my writing foibles to my comrades in the battle.

Cheers to the writing life, to adhering to schedules, and to working smarter not harder.

The Only Way Through It is To Do It

My motto in the last couple of years has become, “The only way through it is to do it.” buddha2

I often get sidetracked by anxiety and guilt. And once I have procrastinated for either of these reasons, I create a domino effect of failing to get things done and feeling increasingly anxious and guilty about it. Whether it is addressing a problem with a family member or facing my financial future, the results are the same. 

Last May, I met a financial advisor. He was calm and plainly told me I could manage my meager funds (and meager they are). I spoke to him in July when he called to follow up. As I was in my final semester of graduate school while packing to move, I had not done any of the tasks I said I would do. The reality is the I refused to do it. He followed up with me in November, in December, and at the beginning of January. Here it is past the first week of February, and I was still putting it off.

As I wrote yesterday, today was my deadline. I thought I would have had enough time to pick a stock or two before calling him. First, I logged into Vanguard and spent an hour reading articles on investing. I felt mostly clear headed about what I needed to do and things to consider. As I read, I made myself a list of important things to remind myself when thinking about investing. Then I called Vanguard and spoke to a rep, who made me realize that it was going to take a while. I took out materials the advisor sent me but I never read, and I reviewed notes I took with him in May. At the end of three hours, I still had not read my IRA Brokerage Account Agreement, which I wanted to read. The small printing made me want to have a fresh mind, so I put it in my bag for tomorrow. I left the advisor a voice mail apologizing for the lack of response and asked him to call me back.

I still have a lot of educating to do, and I am reconsidering whether I want to do a brokerage account. I have to compare the cost ratio of mutual funds to cost ratios of funds I want to pick and see what the difference is. I am not going to decide tomorrow, either. Taking the time I need is fine as long as I take the time, no matter what it is. More importantly, I have freed up mental space otherwise taken up by an increasingly anxious and guilt-ridden mind.

2014 is all about the breathing through and moving on.

Flirting with Productivity

Yesterday, I had a plan to make a short list of projects that I could work on every day during the work week along with a minimum amount of time to spend on them. Since I am looking to fill up at least 20 hours a week with productivity, I thought this would be a good way to start.

My project list looked something like this:

  • Work on my technical communication web site, learning HTML+CSS as I go – one hour;
  • Write for my Playswithwords blog – one hour;
  • Job hunting – one hour;
  • Novel editing – one hour.

Have I followed my plan today? Nnnn-no.

However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. I had a list of to-do’s that have been hovering over my head. The # 1 is calling my financial advisor who, since last summer, has been calling me asking for updates. I met him to discuss moving my 403b to a standalone one because I was no longer at my employer. I moved the money to Vanguard, but have left it sitting in a brokerage account.

Did I call him today? Nnnn-no.

Instead, I answered a call from a recruiter, put together the requested materials and submitted a job application to them, applied for a remote technical writing position at a software company, replied to unanswered emails from 4 friends, replied to emails from other program managers at a SIG where I volunteer and scheduled a future chat date for the group, ate lunch, and played with the cats. That took over six hours (no, this post did not take me an hour to write).

I moved my call to my financial advisor to tomorrow because I am doing my volunteering tonight. My to-do list is only six items deep tomorrow instead of the 10 items I had on my list today. I moved two. I cheated. I know.

So will I call him tomorrow? Mmmm—