Striving for a New View

First and foremost, a Cheerful Shambhala Day to all. Today is the Tibetan New Year – the Year of the Wood Mouse – and what fun we had at the meditation center today!

Second, Cam calls. “Schlutzy,” he says, “you’ve got to separate yourself from your writing.”

Sure. Right. I can do that. I do that all the time…Wait. I don’t do that at all.

Question: How does a nonfiction writer in the throes of writing about her own life separate who she is from how she writes?

Answer: I don’t know yet but in order to write my thesis and survive at the writing life, I’m going to have to cipher how.

Britt writes to me as well. She says: “You can do this. You can do this work and love yourself at the same time.”

Of course I can. I do this everyday. Right? Wrong.

What I’ve been doing everyday is letting my work bleed into every moment of my day and effectively define who I am. But I’m a writer, she argues. Indeed. But being a writer is not the same as being the writing. If the writing goes poorly, I do not need to have a lousy day. If the writing goes poorly, it doesn’t mean I’m failing.

Additionally, my advisor writes to me. I wish I could quote her here but her letters are copyrighted. To paraphrase, she said that I’m a good worker but a lousy boss. I need to be gentler with myself, give myself some mental health days, and not equate my sense of worth with the quality of my work.

And along with advice from this triumverate of writing friends, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche gave a talk today from Nova Scotia, as is custom on Shambhala Day. From his speech I gained many things, most notable of which is this: In life, sometimes we can gain confidence by simplifying things. This does not mean turning into idiots. It means applying prajan, or wisdom, to our habitual mind and simplifying and refining it in every way possible. In other words, cutting through the story straight into the here and now.

May I carry a new view from this moment forward.

Cheerful Shambhala Day, as we say in our tradation. Ki Ki, So So, Ashe, La Gyalo, Tak Seng, Kyun Druk, Djarkay!

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