When We Are Handed a Hammer

By: http://www.homespothq.com

Last week, I wrote about smashing windows.

I wrote about Comparisons and Not-Enoughs and Gotta-Haves. I wrote about wasted time and energy. I wrote about not seeing what is Real and True, about keeping myself from feeling Joy. I wrote about losing sight of what really matters.

I wrote about smashing windows.

And then I checked my email and…I was handed a hammer.

When I wrote last week’s post, it felt good to publicly commit to putting an end to the madness with plans to quit the Comparison Game, to quiet the Voices, to see what is Real and True, and to focus on what really matters.

It felt good…as a goal, an abstract, an intention.

But then, I was handed a hammer and Something or Someone seemed to be saying, “Here you go. Let’s see if you really meant everything you just wrote. Let’s see if you can really smash some windows.”

Not more than an hour after I hit “publish” on that post, a few windows started to frost up. Within mere minutes, I had two more rejections of my manuscript, I parted ways with my agent, and I suddenly found myself facing rather grim prospects of ever finding a publisher. I won’t get into the specifics of it all, but I will say that it wasn’t necessarily a surprise. Through a slow and rather painful process, I have learned that the soulful art of writing is very different than the numbers-driven business of publishing, and I realized that some of my words and ideas were being restricted and muffled as a result. And, deep down, I have suspected for several months that this business relationship would need to end.

But while none of this was a huge surprise, the simple truth is that rejection hurts, even when it is anticipated. Setbacks are disappointing, even when they are expected. Closing doors echo very loudly, even if I am the one closing them. 

And it is easy to say that we’re going to smash Frosted Windows and focus on what is Real and True when life is moving along smoothly and when things are working in our favor. It is quite another thing to smash those windows when the cold and the dark and the questions and the frustrations seem like they might be more than we can handle. It is one thing to say that we will focus on what really matters when the Voices are quiet; it is quite another thing to focus on what is Real and True when we aren’t quite sure of what that is, exactly.

As the events transpired, and I read the disappointing and hurtful words – words that were closing so many doors that I had optimistically held open for so long – I found myself face-to-face with the frosted window of rejection and disappointment, with its cold and dark stare whispering you’re not enough, you’ll never make it.

For a moment, I was absolutely terrified that I might not have the strength to wipe away the muck and grime, let alone smash any windows. I feared that, despite my best intentions to focus on what is Real and True, I was still trapped by the hazy blur of false hopes and comparisons and put-downs. I worried that I just don’t have what it takes.

I re-read the email that was closing so many doors, absorbing the enormity of the information. My stomach lurched and tears sprang to my eyes.

But they did not fall. In fact, I found myself surprisingly relieved, almost uplifted. I knew that should feel disappointed and that I should be angry, but, honestly, I just wasn’t. Because, amidst all the hurt, I knew that I had been given an invaluable gift of a hammer and a very timely opportunity to use it.

You see, when I started writing and working on my first manuscript, I told myself that I was doing it because I wanted to share my ideas, educate others, and fulfill a dream. (The idea of a flexible career with a pajamas-and-yoga-pants dress code didn’t hurt either.) But, if I am being really honest with myself, my goal of writing a published book was significantly blurred by a (conscious or subconscious) quest for popularity, recognition, approval, acclaim, and financial success. And because of those frosty distortions, I often lost sight of what lay beyond the Frosted Window – connection, support, purpose, fulfillment.

Over the past two years, as I have shared my words and thoughts and fears and dreams, slowly I have scraped away the frosty haze of false hopes and misguided intentions and slowly I have begun to see what Real and what is True.

So when I received the disappointing news and was confronted with that all-too-familiar feeling of rejection, I knew that I should be upset that what I hoped for was slipping through my fingers yet again. But I just wasn’t. Because I knew that what would be left behind were the things that really matter.

Don’t get me wrong, I would still love to find a publisher for my manuscripts and I am not giving up on my dream of one day being a published author, but after using the hammer to get rid of the frosted haze that had been blocking my view, there is much less anxiety and desperation to it all. Without the blurred view, it is far easier to see that I already have what really matters – love, support, fulfillment. And with shards of cloudy glass around my feet, it is far easier to see that when it comes to writing (and, I suppose, life in general) that this right here – the sharing and connecting – is what really matters.

 

When I wrote last week’s post, I never imagined the response that it would generate. So many of you said, “Me too!” and “Let’s smash some windows together!” And so, I want to know, how are you doing? How are you clearing away the frost and haze? How are you smashing your Frosted Windows?

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4 Comments

  • I’m sorry about that disappointment. I can imagine how it must have made you feel, but who knows what kind of possibilities might open up…
    I don’t know, I’m not an expert, but you are inspiring and I enjoy reading your work, so I am of the mind that things will work out for you.
    As for me, I’m taking the breaking windows thing one day at a time, and it seems to be going okay. No major meltdowns this week, at least. 😉
    Natalie DeYoung recently posted…Good in a CrisisMy Profile

  • That frost seems to creep in week after week when the recognition, awards and financial success don’t materialize and rejections seem to flow all too freely that it’s hard to smash those windows. But then there are those moments I receive a personal email or call with someone telling me I inspired them to pursue a project of their own or that a specific image of mine moved them that the frost seems to clear a bit…and isn’t that just as important as the broader, more obvious “fame”? Hard to see at times but the more important thing is having an impact even if only on one person.
    Angie recently posted…The Best of 2013My Profile

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