How “We” Can Get “Ourselves” Through This

This morning I broke a record for the most times I’ve hit the snooze button on my alarm. I’m not proud of that fact, but in my pandemic world, there’s no strong reason to rush out of bed. Now, I know if you still have your full-time job or if you’re rising early to get your kids started on school, you might be disgusted to hear my confession. But this is an honest blog, so there you have it.

I’m a 7 on the Enneagram, and I recently heard a podcast in which a fellow 7 who is also a writer mentioned that what has changed for her since March is she no longer awakens brimming with creative ideas, and she misses that. I miss it too! I fantasize about waking up again with just one really creative idea.

While I’m still waiting for some of my revenue streams to bounce back, I do have plenty of other work and volunteer work to keep me busy. But some days, I feel like that’s all it is . . . staying busy.

I tuned in to a concert by Johnsmith the other day in which he said people often tell him, “Boy, you songwriters must be producing so much work now that you don’t have to be on the road all the time.” And he confessed that while he’s written a handful of songs, it’s hard to figure out what to write about. He said most people don’t realize that songwriting is a symbiotic thing. You write a song and then try it out on an audience and see how it fits. That piece of the process is missing now.

I have plenty of friends who are still producing good work. Some have maintained longstanding routines, like my colleague who does one new sketch per day. Some are under deadline and working away. Some are finding that more time at home really has given them incentive to undertake projects they’ve wanted to do for a while.

But for those of us who are social or adventurous beings, those of us who get energy from being around other people or trying something new, all this isolation doesn’t feed our creativity, it drains it.

To some I might sound privileged. How nice that I don’t have to work and can sleep in as long as I want, you might think. While it’s true I don’t have to work to survive (I’m lucky to have a spouse who has a good job), my business operates separately from our finances, so I do have to work. I’ve done everything I can to survive this pandemic. I’ve cut my expenses to the bone, I’ve applied for grants, and I’ve maintained some income from existing programs and sales channels. I could do more, of course. I admit that. But that would require creative energy that is lacking right now.

Today, we tried to go for an afternoon walk, but the smoke and ash from our very close wildfires drove us back inside. Not to mention that our neighbors had spotted a bear and her cubs just down the street! It’s hard to concentrate on writing when the bigger stories in the world are demanding my attention.

So, what can I do about my present situation? How about be patient? I don’t say that in some wise-woman way, I say it as truly all I can do. Eckhart Tolle writes that when we become enlightened, we don’t have to try to be one with ourselves anymore, we just are. No longer are we two beings, with “I” judging or praising “myself.”  We are just ourselves. “That mind-created duality is the root cause of all unnecessary complexity, of all problems and conflict in your life,” Tolle says in The Power of Now.

I’m far from enlightened, but I’m working on becoming one self. Ideally, I don’t need to ask “myself” what “I” could do better or differently. Some days, some years, I will produce a lot. And some I will not. All I can do, all we can do, is take it one day at a time.

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