Avoiding A Cart and A Horse

 

One day, last week, I was impulsively prompted to start reading this blog from its very beginnings. I made it through almost an entire month’s worth of articles before being called away to other things.

This morning, although I came here to add yet another blog article, I found myself dithering around, distracting myself with other thoughts, and simply avoiding the task at hand. Eventually, I went back and started rereading my old posts again. I made it through several weeks worth and am now here and present. I think.

I have been very busy of late and my days, although full, seem to run from one into another without much time spent in reflection of any kind. I do my journal writing, but it is quickly completed and then left for all those other obligations and responsibilities. But, I really stalled out when I got here this morning. Although I had a lot of things running through my mind, I simply didn’t seem capable of plucking out one of those thoughts and just going with it to fill this page.

I tried several other things, getting up from the computer, rambling around my small apartment, doing small things, coming back only to get up and ramble a bit more. I tried doing something in my sketchbook, but put that away almost as quickly as the thought of writing here. Nothing was working, let alone, coming together. So, I went back to the rereading of the things I had written many months ago.

What I found was me. The one who does all of this writing, and often wonders why she does it to begin with. As a matter of fact, she was stuck right there this morning. Distracting herself, looking for herself, and accidentally finding herself in her own words. Bummer? Or an amazing coincidence? A neat little piece of synchronicity to get her back here, on the page, laying down words, and hoping they will all come together somehow and make sense. Hopefully, to you the reader, but more importantly, to herself.

Avoidance does work, at least for a time period. But, no matter how much we dither around, ramble through whatever rooms and things are available, attempt to distract ourselves, we invariably end up back where we needed to be all along. Back to the very thing and place we have been avoiding. Why do we do that?

Good question and one I’m not real sure I can answer at the moment. All I know is that I am here because this is where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. And I am here, because I found myself telling me, in my own words, to do just that. Finding that message in words I wrote over a year ago. Words that made all kinds of sense, and had a much deeper meaning than I thought at the time they were written.

The message was quite clear: Just get on the page, start, and it will all go where it is supposed to go and become whatever it is to become. Perhaps, even more important, was the fact that those words contained an element of joy and satisfaction that I was definitely missing in this present moment. Missing, and incorrectly thinking that one must have the joy and the knowledge of satisfaction to even begin. That’s putting the cart before the horse and expecting it to roll itself uphill and drag the nag right along with it.

I want to be a good writer. By that, I do not mean famous or profound. I want to be coherent and enjoyable on the page. But, if I’m not feeling those things in the moment, how can they happen and become that? It might sound completely silly, but I forgot in the present moment, that satisfaction and the attendant joy that comes with it, are a result of the doing of the task, of and in actually completing it. Dah!

Laughing at myself also helps. It lightens all the tangles and knots I was creating by dithering and rambling. And believe me, those knots were getting really really tight. If I had let them, they might have paralyzed me for hours, maybe even days, wasting daylight and lots of time accomplishing nothing other than tighter knots. Preventing me from not only this task but all those others I spoke of earlier.

Going back and rereading my journal, often has the same affect. Yet, it is so very easy to forget the simplest things and have to relearn them again. Or, at least make contact with them frequently. Which, in turn, is one of the most important aspects of writing a journal in the first place. Staying in contact with the most important individual in ones existence. That of self.

At the very least, for today I do know that ideas and thoughts come first. Then comes action based on those thoughts and ideas. And only after action, come feelings. Now the nag is at the front of the cart, pulling it up the hill that is today. That works much much better. I might even be able to find a carrot with which to keep her moving in whatever direction I find myself in need of going.

What are the thing/s you avoid most often and why? How do you avoid and does it work for more than a short time period? Do you feel a certain satisfaction in that avoidance? What is it you want to accomplish and are you somehow avoiding it? Just some questions for thought, or even for words on a journal page. Who knows? They might actually become carrots.

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About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here: https://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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20 Responses to Avoiding A Cart and A Horse

  1. diddums says:

    Well-timed post — and avoidance is an issue that seems to trouble a lot of people!

    I’m not sure yet why I avoid things at times… sometimes it’s as though I’ve received the answers I hoped for, and just want to enjoy that a little longer before I progress. Or it’s as though time has stopped and there’s no need to rush ahead with things.

    So sometimes I will hesitate after receiving an email… when I was younger I answered right away, and that did mean I kept on top of them all. 🙂 Now I just ‘absorb’ the emails, and sometimes it means I answer later than I should, or not at all.

    Like

  2. 1sojournal says:

    And I am the same way. Although I check, or at least attempt to check my emails everyday, there are days when I simply can’t find it in me to respond to any of them. Even though I often feel guilty about that, I shut down the puter and turn to other things. Of course, that also means that some days I have to write three or four responses all at once. Yet, I will probably continue to operate on that level for many days to come.

    Avoidance is certainly a big and present issue for most of us. And maybe some day we will even find out why and how to deal with it. Right?

    Elizabeth

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  3. diddums says:

    Only two days ago I was searching the bookshop shelves for books on procrastination. There was one that offered to explain why people do it… so maybe we will find some answers there. I haven’t bought it yet though….. um….

    Like

  4. 1sojournal says:

    Lol, I love it. Trying to decide to buy a book on procrastination while commenting on the issue of avoidance. Wonderful and sounds so like something I myself would do and never see it. He He He…

    Sorry, but you nailed me right where I live with this one. Thanks,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  5. vivinfrance says:

    Elizabeth, your long post echoes my own experience today, with the Writers Island prompt. Eventually after all kinds of displacement activities, including another section of my huge quilted wall-hanging, I opened a blank Word document and wrote the first thing that came into my head. It does work! Remember Virginia Woolf and her “morning pages”?

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    • 1sojournal says:

      Viv, this is an old post from last year. What happened this morning was that I actually did get up, come here and wrote an entire article about an entirely different topic. Went to copy and paste it in a word doc., hit the wrong button, and the entire thing disappeared never to be seen again. Spent a half hour looking for it, took a nap in utter tired frustration and woke up to search my back files for anything to do with beginnings and found this one immediately.

      But, in looking for a possible quote for the topic of that original post, I found a wonderful Virginia Woolf quote about how there are only two kinds of lives: that which is sad, and that which is sad, but sprinkled throughout with moments of sheer joy. That may be all I take away from that original topic, but it is a very particularly good one, I’m thinking.

      Thanks for the thoughts and comments and the “displacement activities”.

      Elizabeth

      Like

  6. gospelwriter says:

    I have found that often and often with journals I write – I go back to the beginning and I find me. Surprise! I forget how amazing I am, everyone is.

    Journals I write completely without plan, just something in me urging me to let whatever it is, out onto the page. And I have discovered this only recently, that my best, most authentic, non-journal writing comes from the same place.

    Writing has never come as easily to me as lately – not sure what that’s about, but… yeah, well, it’s my, our, birthright, init?

    BTW, I want to be a good writer… coherent and enjoyable on the page. You are, you are. 🙂

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      Just the other day, I wrote a completely stream of consciousness poem. Have never done anything like it before, just kept laying down the words as they came in short broken phrases. It didn’t take more than four or five minutes. Went back and reread what I thought was just a jumble of nonsense, found one word I wanted to change, and sat back totally amazed at what was staring back at me. It was a beautiful piece of writing, unhampered in any way by my interference.

      And I keep pulling it up and looking at it, checking to see if its still there and hasn’t run away. Lol. And I give full credit to all of those mornings I have risen to stumble into this chair and simply fill the page. And I’m still pinching myself. I love whatever has been unleashed in me.

      Thank you Ruth, for encouraging me with your comments and stories of your own experience and joy in what we both choose to do. And, actually, I know, I know…

      Elizabeth

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  7. Mary Kling says:

    I enjoyed your writing on the importance of journaling, for staying in touch with the most important person — you. I do not journal, but I enjoy reading over my old poetry for that same reason. I am sorry you lost what you had originally written for this prompt. That is an awful feeling. I have lost something important at one time or another too, knowing it will never be retrieved. I am glad that you didn’t beat yourself up but went back into your archives! And yes, you are a good writer!

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      Thank you Mary, I have finally been able to claim that reality. I am a good writer. It’s been a long journey to get to this place, but I do know I have arrived.

      Do you know what the first thing was that I did when I finally stopped trying to retrieve the irretrievable? I said, “Okay, that just wasn’t the one that I was supposed to do today. There’s something better, more usable, because everything happens for a reason.” And again, that’s something I learned from all those days of journal writing. When I go back and read it, I often can see that purpose.

      Thanks for your support and encouragement,

      Elizabeth

      Like

  8. anthonynorth says:

    For some reason I write about most things except my own life. Very rarely do I do a journal. So I suppose that tells me what I avoid the most.
    Why, I don’t know.

    Like

  9. 1sojournal says:

    A journal is primarily a dialogue with self, and most people, or at least many of them, choose to avoid that endeavor. Perhaps because they fear they will too soon run out of things to say? Or fear the response they might receive? Lots of reasons not to do it. I chose to do so a long, long time ago. Which means two things: some days are filled with treasures and inspiration, while others are just a very comforting habit.

    Elizabeth

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  10. Elizabeth, you said

    ” The message was quite clear: Just get on the page, start, and it will all go where it is supposed to go and become whatever it is to become. Perhaps, even more important, was the fact that those words contained an element of joy and satisfaction that I was definitely missing in this present moment. ”

    I am not into journal wrtng,but I find the same thing true of wrting poetry. I just sit down and begin to write and see where the words go. If you just begn to write,something will happen and usually it will be something satisfying. I am sorry you lost your work this morning, but I am glad you can be philosophical about it.

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    • 1sojournal says:

      Diane, I believe that very little is completely lost, especially when it comes to personal truths. The specific essay, yes. But, now that I’ve had some time to think about it, there may be something more I need to learn before tackling it again. And tackle it, I will.

      I started writing poetry several years prior to making a daily journal habit. What I found is that my journal pages are often much like a stream of conscious pre-write and yeild an incredible number of inspirations and whisper about much more. Take for instance, Fruedian slips on paper. They often make for great opening lines and definite adventures to more writing.

      I really did go through a bit of a dry spell while care-giving my Mother. What poetry did come, was often found on those journal pages. Now the poetry comes without any priming of the pump. Feels a bit like a gusher, and I have no intention of capping it any time soon.

      Thanks for your comments and where they led me,

      Elizabeth

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  11. systematicweasel says:

    Avoidance is easy to do, but not always easy to understand. Awhile back I wrote a stream of consciousness piece (and titled it stream of consciousness). They can be awesome pieces, or even parts of it can be recyclable. They can never be recreated though (I’ve tried. lol). As for what I’m avoiding? I post on three different places, two being my blogs and one being an art website. I sometimes avoid posting on the art site, mostly for fear of the reaction (some comments on the site can be rather destructive, but there are a lot of good people on it too, which is why I post, for the good criticism).Great post! And don’t worry, you’re an awesome writer! =)

    -Weasel

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      Weasel, thanks for the Awesome, that one goes in the kudo box, lol. Avoidance isn’t easy to spot because we are actually avoiding seeing something we don’t want to see. Nother reason I keep a journal. When the same feeling, person, angst, keeps coming up, it usually means I’m avoiding it. It’s amazing how easy it is to spot in ones own writing.

      And yes, I would believe that the stream of consciousness writing would be almost impossible to duplicate on purpose. One is in contact with the subconscious during those moments and those moments move on and are gone the moment they are done.

      I have a few friends that are on art community sites and hear what you are saying from them as well. Depending on what you are there for, I found a really cool art community at Art House Co-op. It is constantly challenging its participants but not judging them. Anyone of any level, may join up and one gets ones own site page, much like this wordpress site, when doing so. My site is listed on the sidebar of this site under elk1946. Check it out if you are interested. If you have questions, I’m here, most days and evenings.

      Thanks for your comments, Weasel,

      Elizabeth

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  12. Mary says:

    I found Anthony’s comments interesting. I really do not journal, but a lot of my poetry can be very personal. I enjoy the personal poems of others too. It definitely is interesting to see what people write about and what they avoid. Through poetry one really gets to know people on a different sort of level. And enjoy the many perspectives.

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      Hi Mary,
      I’m not saying that journal writing is for everyone. Although, I personally believe that the world as a whole would be a much better place if many more people would spend regular time inside of a dialogue with their own person, instead of wasting so much effort trying to correct the faults they ‘see’ in everyone else.

      And you are absolutely correct about your poetry. That is a very distinct type of that dialogue. And one, like I said to Diane above, that actually led me to the journal writing. For me, personal poetry, the bare bones of the thing, is the exploring of my personal truths whether that be spiritual, emotional, psychological or physical.

      And again, I agree with you that so much can be learned, and explored in the personal poems of others. So many new perspectives that can alter ones own landscape simply by the choice of one word or another.

      As far as the avoidance goes, I remind myself often, that what I see and recognize in the avoidance of others, is probably something I myself am doing. I wouldn’t recognize it so readily if it weren’t so familiar, lol. We are quite creative when it comes to blinding our own view.

      Thank you so much for your consistent additions to this ongoing conversation. You bring a great deal to the table, and I appreciate that.

      Elizabeth

      Like

  13. wayne says:

    wow…so much being said here….all I can add is I dont journal…everything just comes out of my head…from all over….I guess some of it personal….thoughts…memories all mixed with the chaos and then sometimes something comes out….if not…i paint..or garden…or meditate…whatever….then maybe something drops out of the mind

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    • 1sojournal says:

      Wayne, writing has long been my main source. If I simply sit to write, those inner doors open with a sort of greased swish. I believe that’s because I do so much of it. But, I have also had periods of time when other things take my fancy and I enjoy and employ them. Last year it was pen and ink, and coloring. All of it is a form of active meditation and will yeild some surprising nuggets for further exploring and polishing. It’s, I think, far better and healthier than to drug the senses in search of inspiration like many of the past’s most prolific writers and artist’s believed. Most of them simply died young from dissipation. Besides, I stubbornly prefer a clear view and the ability to express what I am seeing. Thanks for your comments,

      Elizabeth

      Like

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