The other day I received a letter from my publisher letting me know that my book, VIOLET BING AND THE GRAND HOUSE, is going out of print due to decreased sales. And on that day, after reading the letter, I found myself in tears.
VIOLET BING took me about seven years to develop and see to its form as book. And as I wept and felt this sense of complete despair, I realized what a burden I had placed upon the shoulders of one small idea, one little gift I had wanted to give.
Unconsciously, I had held the expectation that the book might dismiss my own doubt about my ability to sustain something and see it flourish. But along with that hope was the anxiety that making this book might actually just affirm my greatest fears about myself: that I simply can't.
So when the letter arrived, all of that craziness came crashing down inside me. On my mind's movie screen I saw failure and then I felt the resulting feelings of taking that blow against myself. I imagined others seeing me and my work this way. And I wept in response. I blamed myself for letting it "die on the vine" and the cruel voice within used it as evidence in its argument for my inability.
I looked at my impending birthday with new, rotten eyes - now seeing it as a foreshadowing of a horrible year to come. And then, because I ultimately know better, I started to let the experience not just break me down, but open me up.
This life is my own. It's my creation - from the moment I cautiously made my first appearance on planet earth onward. It's my work of art and it's made of my choices. Regardless of experiences, achievements, pursuits, accolades or criticisms, the "success" of my life depends upon how I feel about it and myself. Which means it depends upon how I think about it.
Placing this emotional boulder upon the book and myself means that I have been investing my energies in trying to control outcomes in order to feel okay. And the sense of capability, thriving and flourishing that I've so wanted cannot come in that outside-in way.
When we are unkind to ourselves it is brutal and it slows and muddies the waters, bringing us to our knees as we keep fighting to be where we think we need to be, instead of allowing ourselves to flourish where we are and make our decisions free of fear. If we reject ourselves, it is impossible to see the growth, to see ourselves as flourishing and to witness the love that can sustain us and all that we do.
I am learning much here since the day - several years ago- I first showed up as a baby - and I will learn more. Here's to a new day, a new year, and the release of all that burdens our hearts and our heads. Happy Birthday.
From the Inside