If I Had a Blog
Accountability groups can be amazing experiences. You have an idea you want to bring into the world. You join a group of like-minded souls also striving to accomplish a goal. And you get together regularly to work valiantly toward achieving that goal by a specifically defined date. Research shows that such a process actually works. Accountability partners feel supported and encouraged; they accomplish more than they imagined they could; they are more effective and efficient in implementing their goals; they tap into unrecognized stores of creativity; and in the best groups, they are held to their promises in some radical ways.
And if the group you’re in is really, really good, something more happens. Breakthroughs happen. Participants wake up to new understandings of who they are and what is possible for them. They get clear about what their mission is. And they gain confidence to carry on with new skills and new energy to live the life they know they were born to live.
I am a lucky participant in just such a group. And today, I turn my blog over to Lynne Mixson, who muses about what she would say if she had a blog. Here, Lynne tells how her work in an accountability group led her to a powerful insight about who she is and what she is here to offer the world.
This beautiful piece of writing became the first entry in her very own blog. Check it out and see what else she has to say these days! Because SHE'S A WRITER!
If I Had I Blog by Lynne Mixson
Last Thursday evening the accountability group I’m a member of met to discuss the book we’d been reading, The Obstacle Is The Way. Each member of the group has a goal that we’re each desiring to accomplish by the end of the program in April, and naturally we’ve all encountered obstacles.
For me, the last week had felt less like an encounter and more like I was sucked up and spit out by my obstacles. Distraction after distraction had snapped up my focus, my energy and my time. As others shared about significant, concrete events that had gotten in their way, I wondered if I was the only one falling prey to something as silly and seemingly inconsequential as distraction. Finally, as the meeting was winding down, I offhandedly brought my obstacle up: Distractions – ugh!
Our fearless leader/coach/Mama Gazelle cut to the heart of the matter: Do you know what’s behind it? Yes, I said. Fear. I know it, and I see it as my obstacle, something I just have to get through…and I come to the edge, but I can’t seem to make myself jump.
Have you ever gotten quiet and sat with it, she said?
Why, yes. Yes, I have.
It had to be either late 1997 or early 1998.
I was 33 years old and living in Lawrence, KS, working in a job I hated, and wasn’t even good at. Ready for something more, desperate to move on, searching for a purpose. What was mine to do?
I don’t even have to close my eyes to see the light in my apartment that afternoon, when I pleaded with God/Spirit/Life for direction, for guidance….and I heard the voice say, “Write.”
It was so loud that at first I thought there was someone else in the room. So loud, so clear. Startling.
As my 53 year-old self sat on the couch last week, remembering, I realized I’ve spent the last 20(!) years looking the other way. Ignoring…pretending…forgetting.
Oh, I dabbled in writing — in writers’ groups, in workshops, did some freelance work, had a poem published and wrote scripts at work. And journaling had saved my emotional life time and time again as I worked so many life events on the page.
But the minute anything got hard, or criticism came, I abandoned ship. I wrapped that edict up tight, like it was stolen, and tucked it deep inside my heart. Outwardly, I changed the subject and quickly moved on.
After last week’s meeting, all the running and avoiding and abandoning came flooding back. Waves of regret. A tsunami.
How does one ask for a mission, and then turn one’s back on it for two decades?!
Of all the aspects of myself, why is being a writer so hard to accept, so hard to take seriously? What am I so afraid of?
Failing. That’s crystal clear as well.
I’ve tried to pretend that not trying is better than trying and failing. But we all know what a cop-out that is. It’s the person who is in the fight who matters, as Teddy Roosevelt so famously said — “who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Our fearless leader/coach/Mama Gazelle often reminds us to think about our 80 year-old selves when it comes to decisions. Would mine want to look back on a ‘cold and timid’ life – hell, no. As I left the meeting that night and walked to my car, I muttered out loud that I just need to “grow a pair.” Misogynistic, at best. But clearly it is time – past time!
Enough ignoring, waiting, over analyzing. Enough staying safe and small. And enough breaking promises to myself. Because that’s really what’s going on here. I’m disconnecting from the essence of who I really am: a writer. And aren’t the promises we break to ourselves the worst violations of all? Would we let someone else trample on our hopes and dreams the way we do when we just give upon ourselves? If we won’t believe in and honor who we are, how and why should anyone else?
What does all this mean? Where do I start? What does it look like? And perhaps most importantly, how and where do I get the support so that when the going gets tough this time, I don’t duck and run again. How do instead I work, get better and hone a craft. How do I write, like it matters….like I matter?
Are there any parts of yourself that you’ve abandoned along the way in this life? Any clear messages you’ve ignored? Any small ways you turn your back on what you know you know in the day-to-day? How, and why? I’d love to know.