Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rules (part one)

I am having trouble writing this week’s blog. Great ideas come forth only to stop when they reach my fingertips, empty. So, I’ve decided to break my unspoken rule of writing one entry per week. I am just not going to do it. It’s a little scary for me because rules have played a large role in my life. Too much so in fact, for while rules can enhance one’s experience they have generally limited mine. I’ve made rules about exercise, eating, sleeping, housekeeping, hair washing (yes, hair washing); meditating, reading … you name it, all in the effort to enforce some control over my life.

Somewhere, not so deep inside, is a feeling that if I stick to a rule or ritual, nothing will go wrong. I will be safe. In fact, it’s more magical thinking than anything. I probably inherited that from my mom, a woman bound by superstition. She had these beautiful hand carved stone elephants from India given to her when she was a young woman in the 1940’s. Thirty years later after a string of bad luck, she gave them away. She had heard somewhere that carved elephants with their trunks pointing down (or was it up?) were bad luck. As she couldn’t remember the exact rule, she decided to be safe and give them away regardless. Sally Ann inherited its own magic that day.

When I made the rule about writing one blog entry a week, I saw it as a commitment to the writing process, which is good. However, commitments and rules are two different things and when the former turns into the latter, it becomes an albatross rather than a healthy challenge. Moreover, there is a fear just beneath the surface, that if I break my commitment there will be dire consequences.

And what will happen if I don’t write? My worst fear is that I will give in to being lazy; that I will never achieve anything and that I am indeed a failure. Whew! What a rule, thank god I at least wrote a little bit.

With irony fully intact, I am not writing this week … so there!

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