So for those of you who don’t know, my personal spirituality is a little eclectic. One of the practices I’ve lately been making an effort on is attending full moon ceremonies every month. There, we do a lot of focusing on ‘releasing’ and letting go of those things that don’t serve us any longer or are holding us back from embracing our potential. Also, we usually each draw one to two oracle or Tarot cards to help set out intentions and focus for each evening’s ceremony. This past Saturday I drew both “Choose Peace” and “Wash Away Your Burdens.”
Y’all, I started laughing damn near hysterically right there in the host’s living room. She just looked at my cards, looked at me, raised her eyebrows, and said “Little stressed are we?”
That reaction to those cards was a bit of a wake-up call to be honest. I have been scrambling to do as much as I can as fast as I can for the past few months, trying desperately to keep as many kernels popping as I possibly can (to borrow from the “Popcorn Theory of Success” as explained by Kevin J. Anderson in his keynote at the first DFW Con I went to: i.e. that you can make popcorn one perfect kernel at a time or by dumping in the whole batch, knowing that some won’t pop, but most will turn into delicious opportunities).
On the whole, I’m really happy with the progress I’m making, and I feel like I’m getting a lot accomplished. But I won’t deny I’m stressing myself out with it. Right now, I have a short story and a reprint on submission at various online mags, a short story turned in for our charity anthology, another short story pending approval for a paid anthology, a short story completed for the Haunted Hotel blog event, a novella pending a decision for another anthology call, pending decisions on requested material for my Pitch Wars novel from LAST YEAR, and multiple WIPs which I’m trying to decide which would be the best to work on next.
And I catch myself constantly looking at my list of projects and current commitments and wondering “Which of these should I be working on? Which will lead me to the success I want? Will ANY of them get me anywhere close to success at all? Am I wasting my time on this project or this one or that one…?”
It’s a quick journey down that mental path to stress and overthinking everything I’m doing until I’m frozen with indecision and fear. And that creative paralysis certainly won’t get me any closer to succeeding either.
So, as per the lesson of our full moon ceremony, I’m trying to let those fears go. They don’t serve me; they will only wreck my confidence. And I know it, so I am setting them aside and setting them on fire, burning them in ceremony to remind me that it was a conscious choice.
Do I think I’ll be able to let those fears go immediately? Probably not. But I’ll keep reminding myself that those thoughts aren’t welcome and aren’t helpful, and try to focus on ones that are.
And I’ll hope that for all of you as well.
Anyone else dealing with things holding them back from embracing the writing and creative life you want to live? Let me know in the comments below or on twitter @C_L_McCollum :)