And it’s turned out a bit like a relationship itself. I was all excited about it. It’s my second full book. I was so inspired I was even waking up in the morning after having dreams about it in the fall of 2020. I’d get up and voice memo myself the rush of thoughts and awesomeness running through my brain.
THIS IS IT!
Yep, This is it, I thought. This will be SO EASY! In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s divine intervention writing this book through me. I went right from courting the idea of writing a book about relationships into full-blown honeymoon phase. Words were easy; my messages felt clear and aligned for anyone to receive.
Like most relationships, the excitement waned. I kept working on it, but somehow the flow wasn’t as magical. The edits were more brutal and disheartening. I was afraid that what I was writing would too honestly reflect my own intimate relationships in the past and upset those I still care for and call friends.
Reality set in. As I navigated writing with work and my life in general, the book got set aside. I’d write a bit when I felt like it amidst everyday drudgery. I knew it didn’t have to be this way; I couldn’t see a way out.
Just Another Day In the Woods
When people asked me about the writing, I’d say it was going fine. Pretty good. But realistically, my hormones weren’t engaged. My intellect wasn’t excited. Things were stagnant.
I’d engage with it, half-heartedly hoping for the passion to return, but wasn’t really sure where I was headed.
Should I End It?
My thoughts were fully occupied as I hiked. Do I really want to write this book? Or should I change it up and write something totally different. I’ve put so much time and energy into it. Maybe I should just stick with it. Maybe this is all there is.
The Big Choice
I had three main options I decided. First, try to reignite my passion and dedication and bring it in a new direction, using the past chapters as a catalyst for growth. Second, I could settle with what I’ve already done and just keep going, hoping it will get better. Third, I could end it. Either by not writing it at all, or by starting all over again.
More Than Creativity In Hibernation
Everything is GONE. Everything.
I went into my computer early December to try to rekindle the creative juices. Not one word was to be found. Not the outlines, the research, the quotes, the character development, nor the chapters themselves. Unsearchable, even in icloud or my external backup drive.
I took it as a sign from the universe to give up. With tears I started announcing to my closest people that the Universe had decided for me.
As if the Universe was telling me I HAD to write it, Apple Support found it while I was working with another computer issue. All of it. Everything I mentioned above + voice memos.
It’s a second chance. Do I want it? Will it make me happy? Is it “meant to be?” Tuning in, I still have a strong NEED to write a book on relationships. Should it be more about healing with EFT? Touch-based? Process and science based? Should I turn it partially fiction? Too many options froze me again.
The Next Relationship
I am creating a new relationship. I’ll read the old content. Enjoy the light from the darkness. Feel into my body and get a clear idea if this past writing was just to teach me a lesson so I could have a stronger, more powerful, more aligned relationship with my next writing project; perhaps it’s actually the one I wanted all along. Maybe as I turned my back and struggled, it has been patiently waiting for me to come to center and feel its presence. Warm, inviting, and fully open to expanding into a beautiful and synergistic existence.
Two weeks of self-imposed peaceful isolation to write my book on community bonding and touch has created a bit of loneliness in my heart. This morning, I made the choice to open Facebook and catch up on my dear friends and family. As I scrolled down the feed, my heart sank and tears came to my eyes as I saw how people were choosing to communicate.
How on earth am I supposed to help us connect with each other when we cannot even use civil tones with each other on social media? I sighed, as I scanned faster to avoid the barrage of hatred laid out in front of me.
People cheat, people lie, people do bad things—not liberals, not conservatives, not whites, not gays, not the immigrants, not the millennials, not the elderly. There are hate groups, of course, but in general communities of all styles, individuals make these choices, the same way my individual friends make the choice to use tones of hatred.
goal seeming suddenly hopeless, I stepped away from my computer and wandered
aimlessly around the small house in the Norwegian valley. The windows offered the same view to the
beautiful mountains, and the sound of the waters rushing down them hadn’t
changed, but it all seemed suddenly worthless.
My mind drifted back to an exercise at my Blandin Community Leadership training. If only people understood how much our beliefs are actually part of our brain function.
“I am going to put you into groups based upon your Meyers Briggs results and have each group figure a way to solve this problem.” One of the Blandin Foundation program leaders said, standing in the middle of the U-shaped table formation near the front of the room.
rural community leaders, a variety of ages, backgrounds, gender and race had
been chosen after a lengthy application process to learn to build and sustain a
healthy community. We were learning
about ourselves, where individual and organizational blind spots may be, how we
interact with others, how to see problems from a higher perspective, how to build positive social structures, and
how to resolve conflict. Quite an undertaking for a five-day retreat.
should be interesting, I thought, as she divided us into three groups. The last
few exercises taught us all a lot about individual roles and reactions, but
this is the first big group problem-solving exercise. I smiled as everyone
stood up and a cheerful buzz filled the room, as people grabbed their materials
and re-organized themselves.
the situation,” she interrupted the chatter as people organized into smaller
circles, “You are on the board of
directors of a nonprofit organization.
Your bookkeeper, a volunteer who has been loyal, accurate, and timely
for 15 years, suddenly starts making mistakes in the financials. The mistakes seem to be growing slowly, and
one day it is brought to your attention that someone smelled alcohol on her
breath while she was at the office. What
do you do?”
stepped back and smiled knowingly. “Does
anyone need me to read that again?”
not quite as challenging as I anticipated, I thought as I turned back to my group
with a thoughtful look on my face, I already know what my plan of action
of course we need to have a conversation with her,” one member piped up right
away. “We don’t know what’s going on or
if it’s true she really had been drinking.”
“She is a volunteer,” another person chimed in. “But we do have a duty to our organization, especially when it comes to finances.”
we definitely cannot sacrifice our organization if she isn’t able to continue
here duties well, but if she needs a bit of time away from the job to deal with
a personal issue, we could find another person to help temporarily,” the next
this is easy, I
sat up straighter and looked around the rest of the conference room to see how
the other two groups seemed to be getting on. Looks like there’s a lot of
agreement in the other two groups as well, I noted, people are smiling and nodding and
seem enthusiastic with their hand gestures—-at least the extroverts.
giggled to myself. Blandin had broken
our 16 types down into sub-types, giving us further insight to each category,
and I could see that playing out in the room. Our group is much smaller than
each of the other two, I noted. We only have about ten, and the other
two are around twenty people each. That
must make it a bit more difficult to come to a resolution.
have three minutes left. Please pick
someone from your group to present your decision to the group.” The leader interrupted loudly over the
hastily picked a leader, had her summarize our final decision to us quickly,
and turned to the front of the room, waiting.
“Group one, please present your results.”
A prominent businesswoman stood up and projected the decision easily and clearly over the group. “As the board of directors, we have no choice but to terminate her volunteer position immediately and find a replacement. We cannot tolerate any financial impropriety in the organization, as it could cause a negative impact on our nonprofit status, our revenue, and the community trust in our organization.”
that is super harsh, I
thought, stunned. No communication?
No making sure that there wasn’t some other error in the system or an
update that wasn’t her fault that was creating the errors? Wow. So much for years of loyalty. I know how much time that stuff can take.
three, go ahead,” the leader interrupted my thoughts as I shook my head and
turned my body the other direction to hear the verdict from the other side of
the executive director of a nonprofit stood and faced the group. “She has had 15 years of loyal service. We thought it was in our best interest to sit
down and have a conversation with her, offer her help, see if the matter was
one in which she wanted to leave the position temporarily or permanently. We will give her support in finding help with
her drinking if that is necessary, and do what we can to get her back on track. She is a volunteer after all, and we don’t
need to jump to harsh conclusions or actions until we understand the totality
of the problem.” She sat back down.
that doesn’t seem to protect the organization fast, and is completely opposite
of the first group’s answer.
2?” The leader prompted.
Our spokeswoman, who worked for a large corporation, stood up and announced our decision, an exact blend of the other two. Starting with compassion and curiosity, and if the issue wasn’t fixed, to take strong disciplinary action.
brain wiring determines how we make these kinds of decisions. Holy crap. And my group’s brain wiring has a blend of
both sides, which is why we are smaller and have a blend of both answers.
understanding hit me as ways to increase communication and synergy to pull two
conflicting sides together became clear.
How Do You Choose to Communicate?
Nature and nurture both influence how we see and interact with the world as individuals. The drama in the media of all sides now shapes the tone and grace, or lack thereof, in which individuals choose to share their opinions and the stories they hear.
mom told me that if I can’t say anything nice—-don’t say anything at all. I don’t believe that is true. Communication is necessary for a vibrant
community. We need to be able to
disagree, to have respectful conflict, to speak our minds, to share what is
disturbing us and why. However, it can
be done in a curious, educational, and amicable way. Are there people spouting melodrama and
hatred out there? Of course. Does that mean you need to match their
tone? Absolutely not.
If something someone says triggers you and makes you extremely angry, is there a way to pause, take a breath, and reply in a manner or tone that conveys your disagreement in a way that opens communication? What kind of attitude and tone opens you to listening to an opposing point of view? Try using that.
My Question/ Challenge for You
my challenge for you this week. Whether
it’s a disagreement with your child, your coworker, your friend, or on social
media, take a breath. Realize that
everyone has a right to their own opinion, no matter what information or lack
thereof informs it. You may not be able
to change someone’s mind, but you won’t for sure if you attack them. Ignore those who haven’t learned these lessons
yet, except to prompt them to please use a different tone.
give ourselves a chance to heal our communities and our relationships. Let’s
say what we need to, nicely.