Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Standing Up To Live

Not worried one bit about being dirty.
We can learn alot about living in the moment
from children; they innately do this every day.
“How vain is it to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” – Henry David Thoreau

Oh, how I love this quote, and all it represents. Yes, I can see the logic behind this. It is this very same logic that has taken me from daily and even weekly blogging to hit-or-miss posting. I have tried to adhere to a schedule, but standing up to live takes time, effort, and energy. At the end of a full day, I may have many things to say, but simply no time left to say them.

For this reason, I'm a terribly selfish blogger. I rarely read other people's blogs...I know, it's a jerk-ish way to behave and contradictory to the give-and-take laws of karmic flow. After all, if I want people to read my words, I should definitely take time to read theirs. It only makes sense, and it's only right. I need to do better. That in mind, I sat down the other night and made a conscious effort to read the blog posts of several of my writer friends.

I was not disappointed. I saw that these wonderful writers were definitely standing up to live, and coming back and sitting down to write only when they knew clearly and precisely what it is they wanted/needed/just had to share. I need to make an effort to read their missives more often; I came away inspired and feeling a sense of oneness and kinship with those who, like me, have created a life where living fully takes precedence to adhering to any type of rigorous schedule. These writers sit down and compose their blogs when they feel compelled to do so, not because it is Thursday at 10:00. Though I believe in creative discipline, I do not believe creativity can be forced at certain times and/or places. Nor do I believe it should be a substitute for living. Ah, but that is a delicate balance…still, there is a certain ‘retreat-ism’ that occurs when one is mired down deep into a creative activity.

I know.

I’ve been mired down into many. And when the flow is overwhelming, I can think of nothing else. When I wrote The Absence of Anyone Else, I did not see anyone socially; I did not stay caught up with correspondence; and I did not even talk on the phone beyond 5 minutes to anyone for about 6 months. I gave one hundred percent of myself to my son, a toddler at the time, but everything else - and I mean everything else - went into my writing.



I was on life autopilot. I pulled almost entirely out of the world at large. All that mattered was getting through the day so I could once again sit down to write. And it paid off - my book was published and recieved a 5-star review from The Midwest Review. Hardly shabby. But...

...I never, ever want to do it that way again.

Life is too precious to go through even a minute of it on auto-pilot.

In the past 3 months, I had 3 friends to suddenly pass away. To say their deaths were unexpected would be an understatement. Their deaths were shocking, startling, unbelievable, and for that reason, soul-rocking to the core.

No matter what one’s beliefs are about what happens after death, the fact remains that they are gone from this earth and this life and this time.

For them, I stand up to live.

I do freelance work, yes…but I sit down to write from my heart and soul only when I have something brand new to say. Which may take days….or months…or years to manifest. No worry. I am on no one’s agenda with my creativity but my own….and golly gee, isn’t that a blessed state?

The good news is, because I am not ‘sitting down to write when I have not yet stood up to live,’ there seems to always be something new to put down in writing. So many wonderful experiences. Someone told me the other day that they could not keep up with all of the things that I am doing. I laughed, because I’m always amazed at comments like this. What, on earth, are other people doing if they think I am doing a lot?

I don’t know. I only know this: even the best of writers and artists will run dry if they spend more time at keyboards and easels than they do out there…in the world…being a part of their community, involved in service, being social...being. Even the most creative soul can only draw so much inspiration in the same place, with the same routines, and the same people…all…the…time. Inspiration from past experiences, or the same present experiences, whether painful or pleasant, will only carry us so far creatively.

Get out there and actually do something.

And that being said, for so many reasons, and to honor the fact that I am still here, blessed with life, on this amazing planet, in this time and space, I can promise you that I will not sit down to write…or paint…or knit…or make jewelry or watch a television show or read a book or do damn near just about anything if I have not also, in that day, at some point...

 ...stood up to live.


Virginia ("Ginn") said...

Nice post, Amy. This week someone gave me a sweet tote bag depicting a clever little vintage trailer wreathed in old-timey banners. This phrase was on it: See the world and come home to love. Kind of like the idea of standing up to live and then writing later... We are not of this world, but we should be in this world and rejoice in the beauty and joy of simple, everyday living. Those are the things life is comprised of - and it is an art to live a life of joy and abundance. <3 - Ginn, Sippin' Coffee on South Main

Charlotte said...

I'm trying to take some time out to live. A lot of what I do is for someone else. Even going to my kid's events are sometimes more about doing what's expected rather than enjoyable. When Steve and I went to Helen,Ga last month, it was all about just being in the moment and enjoying life. We're trying plan regular get aways to help bring renewal and respite from the routine.