Hey — Hi, how are you?
“You have no control over the hand that life deals you, but how you play that hand is entirely up to you.” — Voltaire
What I found to be true; from a distance then circling back. Let’s explore it.
Life is strange, but one of my favorite quotes I was ever told went like this:
One day, an exhausted man, from his travels in life and work, came to a falling rest upon a park bench. Taking notice of his neighboring seat partner, who was looking off into the swaying arms of a mature willow tree, the exhausted man joined the gazing and said, “Life is hard, eh?”
Voltaire turned to the man and responded in his genuine Voltaire style, “Compared to what?”
This quick-witted story, taught to me by my anarcho-buddhist high school teacher far back in my senior year, comes to mind each time I feel I am struggling with something that needs to be noticed. A struggle that is either real or imaginary, but always — compared to what?
Back in December 2022, I decided to stop posting any more material to Medium or any other artist platform because I was struggling with something. Put simply, I was not respecting my art or other people’s art properly.
I came to realize this disrespectful behavior due to my anxious obsession with metrics. Though to be clear, these were totally made up metrics. Like, I wasn’t even using any digital graphs or anything.
Rather, I was just basing it on memorizing how many blog and poem posts I was making per week. Also, I was mentally mapping how many friend’s articles I was reading and how many new publishers I was reading per week.
Worst of all was that I was not really reading any of these people’s work very well. Rather, I was disrespecting them by skim-like speed reading and then attempting to make a comment with highlights to prove I was listening…
As the saying goes: The first step to solving your problem is to admit you have a problem.
I clearly had a problem. I needed to fix this problem. Although I mentally protested, I new that the best method for fixing this problem was to unplug until ready to reengage.
To unplug and return, I felt I had to apply my tried and true method of self-cleansing. My four step method:
Step one: Stop, take a long break, and start over without biases.
Step two: Don’t worry if this was the right move.
Step three: Drink coffee, of course, and continue writing without sharing anything.
Step four: Come back when your soul says it is time.
Surprise! I am on Step four now. I am back, but I am not the same, and that is good. Instead of chasing the carrot or panicking about an imaginary stick — I have decided I will write and have no prescribed parameters. Maybe I will share finished projects in community spaces or… maybe I won’t. That’s all up to how I feel about the best decision for that time.
More importantly, what I have learned from this last mind-shedding metamorphosis is this:
- Life is unique to each of us. The challenges I perceive as restrictions to my achievements are generally illusions. The only challenges in my existence are those I create and mismanage on my own.
Be well, my friends.
— Music Tea —
Song: Come As You Are
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