I have several writing irons in the fire at the moment besides the weekly blog. Keeping all the plates spinning is an inexact science, complicated by the fact that I’m feeling a sense of urgency to finish one of those projects now. In discussing that with some of my fellow travelers on this writing journey I was asked: “Where is that urgency coming from? Whose voice is telling you to finish this now?”
That’s an excellent question. One that goes beyond me and my writing projects and applies to all of us.
There’s no shortage of voices clamoring for our attention these days. There are so. many. words. A million different people say a million different things every single day, claiming to have the answer to every question, the solution to every problem, the fulfillment of our every need: Whiter teeth. Fresher breath. Cleaner clothes. Better tasting pizza. Happier pets. Batteries that just “keep going and going.” Odor free everything.
WalMart says it straight up. Shop there and you will not only “save money”, you will “live better.”
They make it all sound so important. We don’t just need insurance; according to Allstate, we need to be “protected from Mayhem of every sort.” Wear Lancome perfume so you – and your life – will be as beautiful as Julia Roberts. With a Capital One Credit Card in your wallet, you’ll be just like Samuel L. Jackson, Spike Lee, and Charles Barkley. And no home is complete without a Nespresso coffee machine because, well, George Clooney!!!!! (Or Penelope Cruz).
Underneath that is the oh, so thinly veiled implication that we don’t just need this stuff, we deserve it. And L’Oreal says that straight up: “you’re worth it.”
Yeah, I’m being a bit snarky, melodramatic, hyperbolic, sarcastic, and all those other “ics”, but there’s something important here we need to pay attention to.
The world’s siren song is so seductive, so subtle, we can get sucked into believing the hype, buying the party line, drinking the Kool-Aid; before we realize what’s happening, we’re letting everyone else on the planet – Hollywood, Madison Avenue, politicians, the media – tell us who we are, what to do, what to think, how to be, what matters and what doesn’t.
With so many voices vying for our attention it’s tricky to sort out out which ones to pay attention to.
One of the things I do is ask, “what does my heart say?” Discerning what’s in my heart helps me get to the heart of the subject at hand, ferret out what’s important, see more clearly. My mind can go off on tangents; is prone to rationalizing and justifying. Perceptions can be faulty; conclusions inaccurate.
What comes from deep within me – intuition, gut reactions – is born from the wisdom of learned experience, informed by trusted relationships with those who love me and with the Holy.
I ask the Holy too. “Is this You, or is it me?” Sometimes it is just me. But not always.
In the case of my book project, I haven’t figured out yet whose voice is nudging me to finish it but part of me wonders if it is my husband. For the last five years of his life he kept badgering me – in the nicest possible way, of course – “when are you going to quit your day job and write?” It wouldn’t surprise me at all if, now that I’ve started, he was the one encouraging me to keep going and get it done.
Maybe it isn’t him. Perhaps the Holy One has something else in mind for me to do – something else for me to write – and is clearing the way.
Or it may be someone – or something else – entirely. In the meantime, I’m going to keep looking and listening and asking questions to get to the heart of the matter.
How do you sort out all those voices that vie for your attention and get to the heart of what really matters?
Just one more thing: Happy Birthday, Mr. Clark!