Friday, July 23, 2010

On Reaching Out

This blog has opened up in steps, tiny itsy bitsy baby steps.  It was set to private for a long time and was just for me.  Somehow even that had something that a journal lacked.  My tone was different, less secretive.  It felt like something bigger than talking to myself.  Even though I really was just talking to myself.

Eventually, I created a password and gave it to Phil.  Some time later I got rid of the password and opened it up.  But no one knew about it, and I relied on the big, big internets to keep people out of my quiet little corner. 

It went on that way for a long time.  It felt good, like shouting from a deserted mountaintop.  And I was too skeered, too shy, too full of self-doubt to let anyone else in.

Then a friend (who now lives far, far away and recently came to visit) suggested I start a blog, and said that she would happily read it.  Her name is Julie. 

Now, over the past year or so I've been trying to open up more, to be less afraid of being honest about myself, the things I think, the things I like.  So, nodding and hmm-ing and letting it pass didn't seem like the right thing to do.  I screwed up my courage and my face and sheepishly admitted my dirty little secret.  I had a blog, I hadn't told anyone but Phil, but maybe if I got real brave I'd send her the link.  She was, as always, tremendously supportive.

A couple of days later, my heart dropped into the nether regions of my stomach when I opened an email alerting me to the fact that I had a comment.  I looked around and crouched lower in my seat; I got quiet and alert.  Someone had found me out.  I checked the comment, checked the profile.  This was not someone I knew.  The internets were shrinking! 

Somehow, though... I didn't throw up.  I didn't feel terrified.  In fact, it felt kinda thrilling.  Someone else was on my deserted mountain and wanted to yodel along!  Hell yeah!  Littleoldladywhooooo!  So, Julie got the link.

A couple of days ago, an APW reader posted this comment with some quotes on fear, and I got to thinking.  “Many of our fears are tissue paper thin and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them.” (Brendan Francis)  Maybe this was just the push I needed.  In other aspects of my life I have begun to “accept[] fear as part of life– specifically the fear of change… I have gone ahead despite the pounding in my heart that says: turn back.”  (Erica Jong)  Yeah.  That's right!  I HAVE been doing that.  Why not do it betterfasterharder?

The next day, high on my plan to engage with the world, I stopped at an accident scene and gave out my name and email and phone number.  I know this might sound like a small thing, but I gave out information about myself.  To strangers.  Of my own accord.  And it didn't feel weird or scary at all.  Dude.

“There are very few monsters that warrant the fear we have of them.” (Andre Gide)  True dat.

I don't want fear to rule my life.  I want to be brave, decisive, spontaneous.  I want to live fully and to engage with life and with all the people in it!  I want to take one step forward, eyes closed, faith engaged, like Indiana Jones on the invisible bridge.  I'm gonna trust the path will appear.  I'm gonna keep moving.  And, just maybe, I'm gonna tell some folks about this site.

from, yes, cheezburger


  1. Also, I like that the Internet makes you less far far away.

  2. me too, julie p, meeeeee too.



    OBJECTIVE: To explore the secrets of becoming a wildly disciplined, fiercely tender, ironically sincere, scrupulously curious, aggressively sensitive, blasphemously reverent, lyrically logical, lustfully compassionate Master of Rowdy Bliss.

    DEFINITION: Pronoia is the antidote for paranoia. It's the understanding that the universe is fundamentally friendly. It's a mode of training your senses and intellect so you're able to perceive the fact that life always gives you exactly what you need, exactly when you need it.

    HYPOTHESES: Evil is boring. Cynicism is idiotic. Fear is a bad habit. Despair is lazy. Joy is fascinating. Love is an act of heroic genius. Pleasure is your birthright. Receptivity is a superpower.

    PROCEDURE: Act as if the universe is a prodigious miracle created for your amusement and illumination. Assume that secret helpers are working behind the scenes to assist you in turning into the gorgeous masterpiece you were born to be. Join the conspiracy to shower all of creation with blessings.

    GUIDING QUESTION: "The secret of life," said sculptor Henry Moore to poet Donald Hall, "is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for your whole life. And the most important thing is -- it must be something you cannot possibly do." What is that task for you?

    UNDIGNIFIED MEDITATIONS TO KEEP YOU HONEST: Brag about what you can't do and don't have. Confess profound secrets to people who aren't particularly interested. Pray for the success of your enemies while you're making love. Change your name every day for a thousand days.

    MYTHIC ROLE MODELS: Prometheus and Pronoia. In Greek mythology, Pronoia was the consort of Prometheus, the divine rebel who pilfered a glowing coal from his fellow gods so that he could slip the gift of fire to humans.

    TOP-SECRET ALLIES: Sacred janitors, benevolent pranksters, apathy debunkers, lyrical logicians, ethical outlaws, aspiring masters of curiosity, homeless millionaires, humble megalomaniacs, hedonistic midwives, lunatic saints, sly optimists, mystical scientists, dissident bodhisattvas, macho feminists, and socialist libertarians who possess inside information about the big bang.

    DAILY PRACTICE: Push hard to get better, become smarter, grow your devotion to the truth, fuel your commitment to beauty, refine your emotional intelligence, hone your dreams, negotiate with your shadow, cure your ignorance, shed your pettiness, heighten your drive to look for the best in people, and soften your heart -- even as you always accept yourself for exactly who you are with all of your so-called imperfections.

    POSSIBLE REWARDS: You will be able to claim the rewards promised you at the beginning of time -- not just any old beauty, wisdom, goodness, love, freedom, and justice, but rather: exhilarating beauty that incites you to be true to yourself; crazy wisdom that immunizes you against the temptation to believe your ideals are ultimate truths; outrageous goodness that inspires you to experiment with irrepressible empathy; generous freedom that keeps you alert for opportunities to share your wealth; insurrectionary love that endlessly transforms you; and a lust for justice that's leavened with a knack for comedy, keeping you honest as you work humbly to liberate everyone in the world from ignorance and suffering.

    USAGE NOTE: We employ the adjectival form "pronoiac" rather than "pronoid." That way, it rhymes with "aphrodisiac" and resonates with "paradisiacal" instead of being conditioned by "paranoid."