by Kari Diane Pike
This quote caught my full attention yesterday and simmered in the back of my mind all night. The first thought that popped into my mind was, oh, about 20 pounds! As I considered other "stuff" to subtract, it surprised me how quickly I felt the need to fill the spaces with more "stuff." It hit me that the world teaches us to keep taking on more, to move faster, to go higher and dig deeper.
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are taught that we are literally the children of God -- divine beings of infinite worth. Nothing can add to our worth. Nothing can take it away. Our worthiness (a subject for an entirely different blog post) depends on our choices, but our worth is inherent.
We are sent to earth to acquire our physical bodies and to learn through our journey who we are, why we are here and where we are going. If you're like me, you find lots of "stuff" to pick up along the way...a brick of fear here, someone else's baggage there...and it all goes in our own backpack. Pretty soon, our backpacks bulge and weigh us down. When we get tired, we try to let go of a few things, then we look around and see that other people have much bigger backpacks and not only that, but they are way ahead of us down the trail. So we stuff our packs full again and try to pick up our speed. The world tells us that if we can just accumulate more, and do it faster and better than the next person, then we will be valuable. No wonder so many of us struggle with pain, depression and fatigue. Let's go back to that quote:
Think about it for a minute. What does a refiner's fire do? It removes the impurities, or the extra "stuff" in the precious metals that keep that silver or gold from reaching its greatest potential. The value is already there, just waiting to be discovered.
President Gordon B. Hinckley quoted Joseph Smith in the May, 2005, New Era: “I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain; … knocking off a corner here and a corner there. Thus I will become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty.”
Okay...one more. What do we do to our trees and bushes to help them bloom brighter and produce the best fruit? We remove the excess limbs and branches. Wow. Are you dumping out your backpack as you read this? The more I ponder this subject, the lighter I feel. Not only that, but I can feel more light, more joy, more hope, and more love as I use those discarded bricks to pave the path in front of me. I feel gratitude for the lessons I learn from those bricks and the people who "threw" them at me.
How does this apply to our writing? Well, perhaps we need to let go of some of those favorite words or phrases that tend to clutter our manuscripts and weigh them down. Maybe we need to let go of a few fears that block our abilities. I know I tend to let my writing time get shoved aside because I fear what others will think if the lawn is shaggy or the car is dirty, or the laundry is piled on the couch.
In writing copy this past week, I learned a valuable lesson. It's not my job to make the client like me. It is my job to write good copy. When I let go of worrying what the client thought about me, and I apologized to my muse for insulting her character, the words flowed easily. Not only that, but writing became fun again.
So, to quote LeAnne Tolley, "When you're ready, just let go!" You'll be glad you did...and your muse will appreciate the extra space!