Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Choosing to matter

I've been reading Eric Maisel's new book, Mastering Creative Anxiety. Eric is one of my teachers (his online classes on creativity self-coaching and coaching others are wonderful) and I joined a free online group to practice the principles that he sets out in the book. I still love having homework assignments (probably why I love a defined project so much) and Friday afternoon I sat down and did the two assignments for the online group that I'd been postponing for about two weeks.

The first principle/took is to become more existentially decisive. Rather than lolling in the morass of self-doubt (do I matter, does what I do matter?), Maisel encourages us to decide to matter, to "call ourselves sacred" and to do so in a decisive way. To decide, to declare that my writing, my painting, my performing matter. My auditions, my queries to agents, my entry into contests, my reading of books on writing, my attendance at workshops, they all matter, regardless of how many other poems exist in the world, how many people are wanting to get published, how many are called and how few are chosen.

Some other ideas from Maisel:

It is our job to make meaning, even if the universe doesn't care about meaning (and I'm not sure it doesn't).

I am in charge of my life's meaning.

I will live a principled, value-driven, creative, ballsy life of as much joy as I can stand and as much effort as I can muster.

I will live according to my principles.

I am the captain of my soul even though I may not be the master of my faith.


  1. Jill, Your latest blog came at the perfect moment. The ideas from Maisel and your words have helped me look beyond my current season of languishing. Thanks for the good work on behalf of the heart of creativity. Rick

  2. I love his statement that our job is to make meaning. It is part of what makes us uniquely human . . . thanks for bringing it up!

  3. Dear Jill,

    This is timely for me as well. I've struggled with the idea of "find meaning in your life" -- but what matters to me? That seems much more do-able, something that I am happy to answer -- and am willing to *fail* at answering it, and having to come up with a different answer. Funny how such a simple shift in semantics can reap big benefits. I especially love the point about how it doesn't matter how many other people are writing poems or attending auditions -- if those things matter to us, we need to forge into them!