Friday, January 23, 2009

My 3 Life Lessons

I've slowly come to the realization that there are 3 major lessons I keep re-learning, over and over and over. Each time they dawn on me as Truth, as Revelation, even though I'm well aware I've learned them before. It's just so easy to forget. If I believed in reincarnation or karma, I'd say these are the lessons I'm working on in this life.

So I'm going to put them in writing this time, hoping that will help me keep them in mind. Y'all feel free to remind me, too.

  1. Give without expectation. If you give love freely, or do things for others freely, without expecting anything in return (this is the hard part for me), the love will come back to you. People will choose to do things for you. CHOOSE, instead of being expected to, which is different and vastly better.

  2. Do the work first, and inspiration will follow. This is really just a different version of butt-in-chair, but it is SO easy to get frustrated when writing or life isn't going the way you want it to, and want to give up because it isn't coming. I realized this one again yesterday when (whew) I had a big plot revelation for SSP...after banging my head against a wall for 11,000 words. Yes, I start with ideas, but the story doesn't coalesce until I put the hard work in. Often I struggle to scrape the words together for my daily goal, only to find that at the end of the session words come, I get into the flow, and I go over my word count. You have to go through the hard part.

  3. Things happen for a reason. I know. This is an old saw, and can seem pretty flat when the world is falling apart around you. But it's true.
Example: I had some pretty miserable school experiences. I mean bad. At one point in 5th grade there was an "I hate Susan club", and many of my classmates were members. Yeah. Because I went through all that a little part of my psyche is still there, still dealing with social struggles and rejection.

Unforeseen Result: Now I write YA. I couldn't, if I hadn't suffered then. I understand what that place is like.
Example: Both my husband and I were laid off within 3 months of each other. We had a 6-month-old child, we had no income besides Social Security, and the economy was tight in our industries, so we had trouble finding jobs (sound familiar?).

Unforeseen Result: Instead of having our child in daycare, I was able to stay home with her for a year. Then I got a really good job in Montana, in a small town, and my husband stayed home with her for another year, until she was ready to start at a fabulous preschool that she loves. My mom moved here a year later (from somewhere else), and now Child is able to have a close relationship with her grandparents that she would not have otherwise had. It worked out in a way I never would have guessed 6 years ago.

I am NOT saying change is easy, or work is easy, or giving of yourself is easy. None of it is. It's freaking hard, and that's why I keep forgetting these lessons. (over and over and...) But I welcome the moments when I realize them again, and feel that surge of YES.


Julie said...

Okay, so you must have posted this for a reson - I needed the reminder again [sigh] - thanks.

My addition to your list: I can't (and don't) have to fix everything for everyone. I don't have to make it perfect. Sometimes things happen, and they can't be fixed, or it's not my place to fix it...and I should just sit down, pull my nose out of it and pretend I'm Switzerland.

Wish me luck :)


pseudosu said...

You have a great attitude Susan!
I think believing things will eventually work out can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. That, coupled with your work ethic and desire to live generously probably have made you a very cool, resilient person.

Susan Adrian said...

Jule: luck, indeed. I didn't include "have patience" on my list because I don't think I'm going to make that one this lifetime. :)

Sue: I'm glad you said "desire" to live generously, because this is my weakest one, and I very very very often fail at it. (very) But as with every day, I will strive to do better. :) And it's much easier when I'm at least aware of it!!

Kathy said...

Good list, Susan. Isn't it interesting how the things we really need to learn in life keep coming back to hit us over the head, over and over again? The universe is a strange and mysterious place. *g*

DA said...

Dearest Susan,

It must be January. I've been 'hit' with lessons that I've learned before and am again incorporating them into my behavior. Like you, I was a 'bullied' kid; I seek acceptance and approval by pleasing others, often to my detriment. Funny how this time of year encourages many of us to reexamine our beliefs, attitudes, behaviors and discard what's not working and embrace what is. Do you know that I've actually been working on my writing at my day job? I have never done this before for fear of T-ing off the boss and getting 'in trouble'. The thing is, there are many down times at my job when there is nothing to do; nothing. I ask for additional work, and they have none to give. And if no one is calling in (I work in a call center) I sit there, literally waiting for the phone to ring. Not anymore. I write. Best part is...

I don't feel guilty or suffer anxiety. I feel good. *s*

I'm glad you experienced that surge of YES - that's your signal you're on the right track. *s*

Take care,

Linder said...

Good lessons, all.

And you _do_ have patience, no matter what you told Julie. Your brand of patience is just cleverly camouflaged as perseverance. {s}

moonrat said...

how almost-buddhist of you ;)

Gary Corby said...

#2: Wow, when I commented on twitter that the words only came easily after I'd made my daily target, and you replied it was one of your life lessons, I didn't realise what you meant until I read your blog just now. How very apposite. I wonder if this happens to everyone who works to a daily target?

Julie said...

Dude, I agree with Linder - your patience is just with process, not people. Mine is neither :)


Beth said...

What a great post, Susan. All of it is so true.

I was a bullied teen, from about ages 13-15, so I know exactly how baffling it can be, how much it hurts, and how small it can make a person feel.

My response was to vow never to visit that on another person.

Susan Adrian said...

Kathy: Strange, mysterious, and most of the time beautiful. :)
(Except on Mondays.)

Deb: Hooray for you! Keep on that track!

Linder: Ha ha ha ha. Rethinking this post yet?

Susan Adrian said...

Moonie!! Hi! And yep. Almost-Buddhist, almost-Zen, almost lots of things.

Gary: I figured you'd figure it out. :) And I don't know if it happens to everyone, but I bet it's fairly common.

Jule: You have more patience than you think.

Beth: Bullying just sucks. But at least I can see now how it was useful to me, at least a little.

Linder said...

LOL! Nope, still a good post. {g}

Leon Basin said...

Short and to the point:)

Joanne Levy said...

All good stuff. You're a smart lady.

Susan Adrian said...

Leon: Thanks. I think. :)

Joanne: Pfft. Just dumping out the ever-churning contents of my brain. You're lucky you didn't get Descartes and Feminist Rhetoric in Cyberspace today. :P

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this, Susan.

You have to go *through* the hard part. -- So true in writing... and so true in life.