When we’re alone — whether in the midst of a crowd of strangers or family — Christmas holidays can feel really yucky.
The cool thing is it doesn’t have to be like that. We have the power to change how we feel about something in the moment we realize we’re not having fun!
When I decided to do this “Weird Indy Publishing Project” — taking on a series of 4 books in a not-so-popular genre, The Memoir, it wasn’t only to learn more about marketing books as an Indy author.
It was also to set up an obstacle course so I could practice my spiritual path, knowing there would be considerable challenges every step of the way. I was already an Indy author. I had already published three books when I decided to go all out — not only by doing this series, Burnout to Bliss, about an experience that happened almost 30 years ago. Been there, done it 3x. So it wasn’t about the Indy author part.
Instead, it was about creating an opportunity for a reclusive introvert (me) to walk her talk daily for a couple of years — publicly.
You see, I know something about the razzmatazz Indy publishing — at least what I’ve learned from those who’ve done it well. If that’s all that was involved, I’d definitely be doing it differently.
First of all, I would have picked a different lane for this road trip! Dump the memoir and jump on the sci-fi train! Or the cozy mysteries bus. Or the sports romance ski slope!
But that’s not why I’m doing it. And I have to remind myself every day about the reasons why I’m doing it. And one reason is to provide an opportunity for an old hippy introverted recluse to practice walking her talk!
For example, can I look, without resentment, at the “good stats” for the “crappy book” I just reviewed and at my “crappy stats” for the “good book” I just published?
Can I simply enjoy doing this project? Can I do it for the LOVE of it? Even knowing about all the niggling details that bugged me so badly years ago when I broke my laptop keyboard?
YES! I can! with Constant Course Correction.
I have a “little black box” like the ones on airplanes that correct the plane’s course many times to keep it going where it was set by the pilot to go.
My “little black box” is my attitude. It has two input channels:
- The things I tell myself about whatever I take in from my environment — whether it’s the phone call from a sales solicitor, a neighbor’s loud car speakers, the guy on the highway who cuts in front of me leaving inches between our vehicles at 50 mph, a verbal sneer, or the stats on my book product page on Amazon.
- And the emotions I feel as a result of that self-talk.
No one can make us unhappy or angry. It’s what we tell ourselves — either consciously or subconsciously (from old stuff) that knocks us off our version of “bliss”. (I’m assuming everyone wants to feel good most of the time, right?) The emotion is the signal: “You’re off course! Correct it now!”
Here’s how that worked in my life yesterday.
A new friend emailed and asked, “How many books have you sold?” Because I see her, because I know her, especially how unhappy she is with her own life, I heard the sarcasm in her tone in the words she wrote in her email!
My mind screamed, “Seriously? How many books have I sold? You mean in the 12 days it’s been for sale, the less than two weeks it even had a price? What kind of asshole asks that question?”
But I wrote nothing. I did not reply. Instead, I merely deleted her email.
Then I gave myself a time-out to contemplate that instant feeling of BURN, taking offense by something someone else says or does.
Could it be that I was feeling low, that I had postpartum blues about the book I was so heavily invested in for so long? The book I had been writing in my mind for almost 30 years but which I only created from July 1 until mid- November and then published December 8?
Or, could it be that her comment dialed up some unhealed business that happened many years ago?
Memories of similar instances flashed before my eyes. Things other people had said or done that stabbed me to the core like a hot stiletto knife.
All at once I laughed out loud!
I even cranked the tune up and danced my victory for a bit, singing, “One down, a lifetime more to come. Just like practicing tennis with a ball machine! I can do this! I CAN control my emotions and what I think!
It’s important to note that controlling the mind is not the same in LIFE as it is in meditation. Meditation is the tool I learned almost 30 years ago so I could be imperturbable, because I’m hypersensitive. But LIFE is different! It happens instantly and there’s always another player involved.
In meditation, it’s just me and my mind — watching the memory movies of past events and thoughts go by like autumn leaves without participating in their dance or drawing them closer to inspect the details.
Choosing to dance with it, giving that icky stuff your attention, is like gluing it to your mind so you can be bummed out all day or even longer!
In LIFE, the engagement is instantaneous and always involves another player. But the rules are the same: allowing whoever or whatever to be however it IS without judgement or opinion or comment. in short, without “dancing with it.” It’s only when I draw that thing closer with my attention that I get the BURN! — the signal from my “little black box” to correct my course.
And so I did a little course correction!
I emailed her saying that “I saw your email, but must have clicked the wrong button because it’s gone now. What’s up?” I hoped to keep the door open between us. And it worked. She was just reaching out to someone she knew would accept her — warts and all.
And sometimes people have to show a wart or two to test you so they can still believe you’ll accept them, LOVE them, even when they cannot accept themselves, especially now. Because sometimes, Christmas is not so merry!
Choose to have yourself a merry Christmas and a happier new year! I AM!
Till next time, please be kind to everyone you meet for we all have our hidden sorrows. ~Tzaddi
BURNOUT — How a Desert Lizard Restore My Faith is still only $1.99 on Amazon through December 2016.
Get your copy now: CLICK HERE