Happy Halloween! I can’t believe it’s the last day of October – my most anticipated month! And it has been a picture-perfect October, hasn’t it? I couldn’t have been happier with the foliage or the weather. But I’m here today to talk about how I’ve been engaging with my word of the year this month. Thank you, Carolyn, for being a wonderful host for this linkup and to all of the other bloggers who participate, month in and month out. Your support is a pivotal part of this experience!
I nearly skipped this month’s OLW but knew that I couldn’t. I’ve been doing this linkup for at least three years and haven’t missed a single one. I’m not about to start now! So here I am, lost in my own swirl of overwhelmedness (I’m trademarking that word), and am simply sinking into it. Surrendering to it. Trying my best to smile at it.
Many of you know the struggle that I’m about to share: deciding what is the most important thing to do with my precious time? You probably know that reading was my priority through the summer and early fall. But lately, my interests are shifting to making and a part of me wants to resist this shift. It makes total sense: I am outside less and less and am looking for the coziest activities possible to fill the place of gardening. So I don’t know why I have to experience such internal angst about this every single season!
I read this paragraph early last week and flagged it twice:
“The other day I was talking to an old friend, an experienced Zen practitioner, about her practice. She told me she was beginning to notice that the persistent feeling of dissatisfaction she always felt in relation to others, the world, and the circumstances of her inner and outer life was probably not about others, the world, or inner and outer circumstances, but instead was about her deepest inmost self. Dissatisfaction, she said, seems in some way to be herself, to be fundamentally ingrained in her. Before realizing this, she went on, she’d assumed her dissatisfaction was due in some way to a personal failing on her part – a failing that she had hoped to correct with her Zen practice. But now she could see that it was far worse than that! The dissatisfaction was not about her, and therefore correctable; it was built into her, it was essential to her self.” pgs 103-104, When You Greet Me I Bow by Norman Fischer
I keep trying to correct myself, narrow down my interests and activities, devote myself to something. But maybe there’s nothing to correct, maybe this is me. This internal angst? It’s me. Trying to find my purpose in life and satisfaction in what I create. It’s built into me and will always be there. My inner critic is severe and says the ugliest things to me (she is me). I don’t know where she came from and I don’t think she’s ever going to leave me, so I need to get used to her (and she is me). Not surrender to her, but surrender myself to knowing that she’ll always be there (because she is me). So I will smile at her, greet her, and then tell her that I’m too wrapped up in my current activity to sit and chat, but she’s welcome to join me. This critic is essential to my self. I need her in some ways, but more as a voting member of parliament, not as my queen. (I know that’s not a perfect analogy because the monarch is the head of state and doesn’t make any actual laws. My inner critic is telling me to delete that sentence totally because it’s not factual in any way. But I like the imagery and will leave it. Please forgive me.)
I think I’ve written some version of this every month since I’ve started writing these posts consistently. It is clearly my eternal struggle and I am thankful that you all are still so patient with me! And friends, we only have two more months with our words! What kind of witchcraft has made this year go by so quickly?! I hope to be back on Wednesday with some bookish chatter. Until then – take good care!