Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Gift of Great Advice

The Gift of Great Advice

I’ve been absent a while but I found my way back. The credit for that goes in good part to Marie Force and the loop she guides with grace and skill.
The loop is targeted to writers who are or wish to be independently published. I have discovered it applies to all of us who are or wish to be published in any manner anywhere.

This is particularly true of a recent loop thread beginning with the words “I am sooooooo discouraged.” That poignant phrase unleashed a flood of responses. Some were declarations of empathy. “I know just what you’re talking about,” they said and went on to share the source of their mutual experience in anecdotes ringing with authenticity.

Even more of the response was sympathy. “You can get through this,” they said and went on to share their own experience of overcoming in anecdotes ringing with resilience and the indomitably that gives me faith in and wonder at the human spirit.

I could feel each person taking up the gauntlet of grace under pressure and offering hope. Yet I heard no polyannas or platitudes. Only recognition of a sister struggler and the shared contention that this is a hard road we’ve chosen.

The just about universal conclusion was that the struggle and hard road are made worthwhile by satisfaction at soul level. Between the frustrations and inevitable low moments a writer keeps on writing for the love of it. Not a magic bullet or panacea or easy answer but to my way of empathizing and sympathizing at least – undeniably true.

The piece of advice that resonated with me personally came from Maggie Lynch. In a deeply honest response she told the story of her struggles and sources of sustenance. She spoke of the need on occasion to take a break. My psyche heard that and knew she was speaking to me.

The break I need to take is from the stress of expectations – my expectations of myself most of all but the expectations of others also. I need to find out what is right for me to do for my life as a productive person and for my life in general. This was what the loop thread wove in brightest color for me. I have no doubt the tapestry differed for each of us. The common pattern being gratitude that so many cared and spoke.

The lament of “I am sooooo discouraged” echoed in their hearts and they made the generous choice to open them. They signed their names too. They allowed themselves to be vulnerable – all out and all in for all of us to see.

I’m grateful for the great advice. I’ve even begun to follow it. But most of all I’m grateful for the wideness of spirit with which that advice was given. What could be more true to the soul of this season than that? Happy holidays.


kathleen pooler said...

Dear Alice,

Your words are a gift. Very well-timed. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful holiday!


Alice Orr said...

Thank you Kathleen.

You are a gift also. I will never forget how you supported me last year on a very difficult evening in my personal life. I had to lead a workshop the next day and was feeling quite unequal to that challenge. Your kindness and compassion had a great deal to do with the success of the presentation I made. I am so grateful to you for that and consider myself in your debt.


Sue Phillips said...

As a member of that loop, I also gained so much from that same conversation. At the time I thought it would be wonderful if there was some way to spread that feeling of support. I loved your take on it, and realized how much I need to take a break from my own expectations. Thank you for sharing!

Alice Orr said...

Thank you Sue

Experiences like this loop make the internet worthwhile for me. These relationships are valuable beyond just the device and its screen. This latest thread is proof of that. All of us reaching out and touching as surely as if we were in the same room together.