Monday, August 16, 2010

Bolting Again

I signed up for a writer's workshop ... held at a beautiful location in Santa Barbara ... taught by a professor of depth psychology and a noted writer and poet.  I thought it would be a great opportunity to get back into writing and to deepen my exploration of self and the world.

Friday I tried to cancel my registration.  No go ... too late.   Yesterday I decided that I had to take Missy with me ... I'd miss her too much if I didn't.  I had it all figured out ... I could walk her in the morning even if it meant being late for breakfast.  At breaks I could dash out and give her a quick walk and then leave immediately after dinner and walk her again.  The temperature's going to be in the low 70s so she wouldn't mind sleeping in the car while I'm in class.

Tonight I talked to my friend Emily who just took the same workshop last weekend.  She reminded me that much of the "gold" in these workshops happens at meals and breaks.  I know that.  So why am I creating the drama of "separation anxiety" about being away from Missy for four days?  After much stewing and fretting it occurred to me that it may not be about Missy at all.  I will miss her but she will be well cared for while I'm gone.

It may be about fear.  I may be bolting again.  I don't know if this is progress or not ... usually I don't bolt till I get there ... now I'm bolting before I've even left the house.  I think I'm using my dog  as a shield to protect me against fully committing to being part of this workshop.

What is the fear I'm running from?  Rejection ... failure ... the same cast of characters.  It's embarrassing to write this ... doesn't it ever end?  I haven't written much of anything except this blog for years.  I consider myself a writer ... but I'm actually not writing.  What if I can't write?  What if the well is truly dry?  What if I'm sitting in a room of 40 brilliant, interesting people and I'm the only amorphous blob in the room?  What if I drown in the cesspool of my own self-pity?

I want to let go of my ego's identity as a writer and walk into that room as a beginner ... bright, curious, with great reverence for the process of communing on paper.  I want to drop all expectations of myself and the workshop and enter unguarded and receptive to whatever arises.  I want to remember that, regardless of what happens in the workshop, I am just fine.  After all, it wasn't so long ago that I took (and encouraged you to take) the BTGF (Brilliant, Talent, Gorgeous and Fabulous) Pact as advocated by Marianne Williamson (See blog post June 12, 2010).

Drat!  I had developed such a convincing story ... at least I believed it until my friend called me on it.  So on Thursday I will leave for Santa Barbara without my ten pounds of canine armor.  Most likely, I'll survive.  Most likely, I'll learn a lot.  Most likely, I'll be happy I caught myself, once again, in mid-bolt.

About the Image:  What would be the value of this if it were hanging in a museum next to a Warhol?  And which bird would they send the money to?


  1. How clever to use your dog. I generally get ill when things get too uncomfortable in those kinds of settings. Your insight was so timely, a great way to start this kind of class.
    Thank you for sharing this process with us, tossing feelings of embarrassment aside. I need to know that people, whose work I admire walk thru the same discomforts that I often feel.

  2. O'Donohue's blessing for a new beginning ends with the words "your soul senses the world that awaits you." She'll be by your side there. Remember those intentions you wrote? We're still here with you, too.

    You write extremely well, Joyce. Moreover, you infuse your writing with deep sensitivity and sensibility. I look forward to seeing what the workshop inspires in you.

    Love your comment about the image.

  3. I hear you, it's that fear that keeps us from branching out, and it's so much easier to just bolt. But we learn from those situations in which we are uncomfortable, and now if I could only listen to my own advice!

  4. This is a powerful post Joyce. There's so much depth -- and so much to learn from it -- and I have to meditate on this one!