Writer’s block is like diarrhea– when you’re in the middle of having it, it feels like the worst you’ve EVER had it. There is no in-between. Torture is torture.
Truthfully, I couldn’t think of anything to write for today. When writer’s block strikes it’s infuriating because my fingers are ready to type, and my soul is eager to contribute a good message to the world, but my mind draws a blank. (Why you gotta be so lame, brain?)
And in moments like this, my dream to grow A Brave Life into something bigger than just some weird chick’s PG-13 blog seems like an impossible dream.
Yesterday, instead of wrestling directly with my writer’s block by staring at my keyboard for an hour (which is what usually happens), I decided to do a little self-care instead. I jumped on my elliptical machine, read a bit, and watched an interview with Maya Angelou. In this interview she said something so moving it brought me to tears…which yeah, obviously. I mean, it’s Maya Angelou. Plus, just look at that face– doesn’t she look like she’s got good stuff to say?
Maya Angelou, in her rich deep voice and rhythmic articulation, said:
“It still humbles me that this Force, which made leaves and fleas and stars and rivers and you, loves me. Me, Maya Angelou. It’s amazing. I can do any good thing, and do it well! That’s why I am who I am. Yes. Because God loves me.”
Whether you share her spiritual and religious views or not, here’s what it boils down to:
The key to accomplishing your impossible dream– the key to “doing any good thing and doing it well”– is knowing, as Maya Angelou knows about herself, that you are small and humble, yet significant and empowered. You are loved. You need not be anything but what you already are.
And now onto the second point I want to share today:
A Jew, a Texan, and a Ball Grower walk into a bar.
Kidding! But a Jew, a Texan, and a Ball Grower ARE responsible for delivering today’s second key to accomplishing your impossible dream. It’s actually a beautiful extension of Ms. Angelou’s thought, and it’s a quote from a graduation commencement address by a Jewish Rabbi. The video of his stirring speech was passed along to me from a reader-turned-friend in Texas named Boyd, who has the most fantastic Texan accent you’ll ever hear. (Thanks for the link, Boyd! Yee-haw!)
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach said:
“I don’t want to give another corrosive commencement speech before a group of graduates that makes it sound like unless you go out there and succeed, unless you go out there and follow all the rules that we hear so commonly in commencement speeches– love your work, follow you passion, work hard, be disciplined. But all of them are based on the idea that you’re a nobody who might just be lucky enough to become a somebody.
…You have nothing to prove.”
So there you have it: you are unconditionally loved, and you have absolutely nothing to prove.
Sorry, were you expecting two different keys? Perhaps more practical ones, like grit and discipline? Don’t get me wrong, those are excellent qualities too. But to know you are loved and worthy, to know the Universe works with you because you are good, not against you…that is what makes your impossible dream possible. Just look what these spiritually-based Truths did for Maya Angelou. I don’t think you can become an international living legend, beloved teacher, activist, and successful writer by being a slave to self-doubt and self-hate. What you need is a strong sense of worth, and this comes from Love.
Love makes all things possible. Love keeps you energized and inspired when things get tough. Love is the wind at your back. Love produces blog content during a 4-day struggle with writer’s block that feels like the worst diarrhea ever, because you know the Universe works with you to do good things, and do them well.