Shut the Hell Up and Listen

“Perfectionism is the enemy of creation, as extreme self-solitude is the enemy of well-being.” – John Updike

Is that part of my problem? Sometimes, I think it is.  I put everything on hold until the “right” moment strikes-until the “perfect” circumstances reveal themselves.  But do they ever, really?  Or is it just another one of the many ways I find to procrastinate?

I know that I need to just “sit the hell down and write” as author Patti Digh suggests in her essay, “how to write (a book). a wee rant”. Unfortunately, that’s my problem. I find a myriad of other things to do when I really need to just “sit the hell down and write.”  I have to have the “right” music, the “right” ambiance, the “right” this, the “right” that.  Enough.  I know that.  I just need to get over it and write.

Sometimes, I find I am also afraid of what I could write-what it could mean and I allow that to stand in my way of actually accomplishing anything.  I find I am correcting the words before they even hit the page.  Maybe that is the self-doubt talking.  Lord knows I have plenty of that to go around

I started out this year on a really high note with high expectations, high energy and then I hit a snag while trying to help someone.  I think I’ve mentioned it before but I cannot shake it.  I was considering getting some training on becoming a creativity coach but how can I possibly think about doing that when I am so full of self-doubt and sometimes, self-loathing?  It seems selfish of me to even consider doing that when I can’t all the time help myself, right?  Is that the perfectionist in me talking or just plain old stupidity?   When those feelings pop up, I tend to pull myself into a hole and hibernate away from others in semi-state of “self-solitude”.

Then last night when I was at the bookstore with my mom, I was perusing the table with all the “brain books”.  I was trying to find Daniel Pink’s latest book, “Drive” when this lady walked up behind me to look at the brain books as well.  I moved over and apologized for being in her way.  I noticed she was looking at Pink’s other book, “A Whole New Mind” , so I told her that it was a great read.  That was when she started talking to me and telling me all about her husband who is schizophrenic.

I stopped my own world for the next ten minutes or so and listened to hers as she sort of “unloaded” all her fears and frustrations over the situation with her husband.  She was anxious and stressed and hoping to find some books on the matter to help her and him through it.  I think just having someone – anyone to listen to her for a moment was what she needed.  I hope she is okay.  I hope she finds the information she needs.  I told her before she left that she needed to remember to get some rest herself and that she needed to not neglect her own well-being and sanity.  I hope she finds some time for herself to just relax and not be worried all the time.  I pray she finds some solace in a difficult situation.  I’m glad I was there and I hope that I was of some help to her. Bless her.

I do know that I never want to stop being a positive influence or a help in a time of need to someone else.  I know I might not be able to help everyone all the time and that some will not want my help but the important thing I need to know is that it’s not about me. Despite all my personal issues, despite all my little gripes and concerns, which I realize are completely miniscule in comparison to those with real problems, I know the important thing is that I remember to be the person who knows to just shut the hell up and listen.


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