A few weeks ago I decided to write a list of goals for myself. The purpose was two-fold. First, to identify the goals themselves, and second, to help keep me focused on what’s important. I started with five:
- I wish to be completely free from addiction
- I wish to know my own true nature
- I wish to write for a living
- I wish for abundance for myself and my family
- I wish to free all beings from their suffering
This list came fairly easily, but it is not without its conflicts. The first major conflict came from number three, “I wish to write for a living.” This is a goal I have had, in one form or another, for most of my life. There is still something vital in it. I love to write, and when I write well I can get completely lost in it. I am able to pull out parts of myself that I had no idea were there. it puts me in touch with a very deep part of myself.
But it has been so difficult to write lately. I started the blog as a way to put writing back at the center of my life, and partially it works, but partially it doesn’t. I often feel like I am just writing the same thing over and over: “Had a slip, feel miserable.” I don’t really want to write that anymore. I mean obviously I also want to stop having slips (see wish number one, “to be completely free from addiction”), but it is not particularly satisfying to just write about my honestly pretty boring pain all the time. It doesn’t help me and I can’t imagine it’s very helpful for anyone else either.
So I have gone back to trying to write stories. This is actually the main reason for my long absence from the blogosphere. I wrote one short and I think pretty good story, but I am finding it very difficult to fully engage with writing the way I used to. I just can’t get as deeply into it as I need to.
Partially, this has to do with work, and partially it has to do with having a kid, and partially with a general exhaustion. Also, this relates to wish number two (“I wish to know my own true nature”). There just isn’t a lot of time to meditate, and meditation is a crucial ingredient to the deep internal quiet I need in order to access those deep parts of myself.
I am willing to accept that writing may never be profitable, but wish number four, for “abundance for myself and my family” is a constant source of stress. I mean on one level we have abundance, we have enough to eat, we live in a beautiful place, we spend time together as a family, we own a kayak.
But at the same time we have no cushion, there’s hardly any money in the savings account, the credit cards are maxed out and our retirement plan hinges on a couple of houses in another state. If we sold them now they might bring in enough to pay off my student loan debt, but even that is questionable.
So there is always a sense that I have to do more, bring in something extra, but no matter what I do it seems like our situation doesn’t improve. We don’t have enough money to invest in anything, so I’m left looking at my skill set. Which consists primarily of writing and doing therapy.
If there is is a word to describe how I feel, I think it would be “depleted.”
Last week I added a couple more items to the list:
6. I wish for excellent health for myself and my family
7. Kayaking is important
I have been seeing an acupuncturist in order to work with the crushing back pain and also with the energy depletion. The special diet is helping as well. My hope (only hope?) is that if I can stop feeling so physically depleted this will help me to live the rest of my life in a less depleted way. I want abundance on all levels. Then I can start truly working on wish number five: “to free all beings from their suffering.”