Some days the effort of writing is beyond me. In the grand scheme of my writing life, it's more like most days. So, those days when I actually DO write, I feel the pressure to make it worth something more than just a grocery list, a to-do list, a mental checklist of what I am currently doing, thinking, wanting, having, being. I don't have to make it all about me, though mostly I do; everyone does. We are the center of the universe, after all, each and every one of us.
So much of our lives is interior. So much of what we think and feel goes unsaid, never gets out, never sees the the light of day or reason. Every thought unspoken, every word unwritten, every song unsung: just another brick in the wall of our interior selves. And too often, what does get out does not reflect our best selves. When the room is filled with negative energy, what do you do? Join in? Speak your mind? Sit back and let others vent? It's hard, sometimes, too often in fact, to look for the positive when there is so much out there to get upset about. Righteous indignation may be a spark that starts a fire, but most of the time, it blazes up and burns the whole house down.
At home, among other things, I have to be a role model, a judge, a mother, a mediator, a wife. I have to be a cleaning lady, a short-order cook, a party planner, an organizer.
At work, among other things, I have to be a leader, a team player, a policeman, a creative thinker, a model of efficiency. I have to be an artist, a subordinate, a teacher.
It's easy to let stress spiral downwards into negativity until everyone is grumpy and recalcitrant, both at home and at work. Today, after a team meeting in which much venting took place and we left the room feeling angry and down and unsure of how to solve the issues that are circling relentlessly, one of my colleagues stopped and sat down and put out the fuse with a refreshing blast of clear thinking:
I think that one way to improve our team's reputation is to start thinking and expressing ourselves in a more positive way! Perhaps we should stop talking about how much we have to do, how many hours we’ve worked and how much of a pain some projects are (I do that myself all the time). I think that if we start thinking positive and start communicating even more within our group – we can create a more positive and creative environment that hopefully inspires other teams to come to us with their projects. I think that because of all the stress during the fall/winter, we’ve kind of forgotten how fun and creative our job can actually be - and perhaps we don’t necessarily need help from our manager to improve our situation.
In other words, what I need to be, both at work and at home: A learner. A receiver. A listener.
I don't HAVE to be anything here, in this space, in my interior self, but it seems to me that only if I find the way to be those things (a learner, a receiver, a listener) can I create the words that others will listen to, that others will care about, that create the differences that plant the seeds the grow the tree to begin with.
*Title extremely paraphrased from a quote by Andy Warhol