Getting Real

Last week’s post naturally leads to this one, which is about facing fears. One of the biggest fears I’ve had my whole life, without really being aware of its powerful hold on me, is authentic self-expression.

As you might imagine, this makes it very difficult to write anything of substance. Like a book. I’ve done it in fits and starts. Here and there. But not without intense self-doubt and self-inflicted suffering. I let the monster get way bigger in my head than it could ever actually be in reality.

I mean, what’s the worst that could happen if I wrote my book?

  1. I will discover I have no talent.
  2. Everyone in the world will discover I have no talent.
  3. I will find out that my long-cherished truths and life philosophies don’t actually make sense when I examine them in the light of day.
  4. I’ll have to get real instead of hiding inside my head and hidden journals, and then …
  5. I’ll die from the mortification of being seen.

So dramatic! But what fear isn’t until you actually drag it out of its dark cave and look at it in the sunshine?

In the spirit of the New Year and New Beginnings, I am taking the words of the Dalai Lama to heart. He said, “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do, and mostly to live.”

I have a book that’s been writing itself in my head for as long as I can remember. Today is the day to start it. Which means this blog will be where I post about the process of its creation in all its darkness and light.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.” And so I will begin . . . again . . . , putting one word after another, trusting that:

Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it’s a featherbed.

—Terrence McKenna

Stay tuned …

In the meantime, here is a question to ponder: What creative urge lies hidden inside your heart waiting to express itself? Is 2022 the year to acknowledge this tiny spark and ask it what it needs to kindle into a flame?

Published by

Monica Graff

After two decades of copyediting for scholarly publishers, I decided to put down my red pen and pick up a black one. Now I write essays, some of which have been published on various websites and in print anthologies.