Mon. June 25, 2018: Fostering Optimism #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, June 25, 2018
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde

 

Tomorrow Mars goes retrograde as well. We’ll be dealing with five retrogrades, which is not fun.

Today’s topic is “fostering optimism.” In these dark times, that’s difficult. We have a responsibility as human beings AND as artists to both bear witness to the atrocities AND, through art, help people find positive solutions and see the world in a better light. We have the capacity to write/create a way to a better world.

There’s a difference between an artist who creates positive work while striving to make the world a better place on every level and someone who keeps creating within a narrow space and shouts, “I stay out of politics!” while pretending nothing bad is going on.

Either choice is personal. But I admit there are several authors whose work I can no longer read. I pick up the books, and I feel sick within a few pages, because I’ve lost respect for them as people. I don’t attack them or their work publicly, because they have the right to make the choices they’ve made. And I have the right to disengage, both as a person and as a fellow artist.

In a climate like this, how do you foster optimism?

I’m trying several different ways. The success ebbs and flows depending on the day. It’s a constant struggle. I don’t have “the” solution, but I have some techniques I’m trying, and I hope to learn some more from my fellow Upbeat Authors.

I try to celebrate small victories, both my own and those of my colleagues. Someone else’s success does not mean any sort of loss for me. It is something to celebrate. I’m happy when a fellow author gets published or lands a contract or wins a prize. As far as I’m concerned, when one of us succeeds, it’s good for everyone.

I take joy in my house and in my garden. In my friends and family. Right now, the roses are in bloom here on Cape Cod, and they’re magnificent. I take joy each time I see one. The fact that roses can still bloom makes me believe there is still hope in the world.

I remain committed to a daily yoga and meditation practice. I’ve added an additional meditation session before bedtime to help me get to sleep. I feel anger high up in my chest, in my throat, in my neck, shoulders, and head (frequent migraines). The anger pulls me up from the ground and disconnects me. If I can stay connected, “earthed” and “grounded” — instead of being caught in an endless cycle of rage, I can channel the anger into positive action and use it as a catalyst.

I keep doing the work. I show up at the page every day. I work. Even on the tough days, I work. I try to learn from the way my characters navigate their challenges, how they respond to both the good and the bad in their worlds. I try to see the world through their eyes, not just my own, and learn from that. The steady, daily work does more for my personal optimism than any other action I take.

Seeing the world through other eyes is also why I read as much as I do. Not agreeing with a character’s choices is different than not understanding why that individual made them. The more you read of as many different authors across genres as you can, the more you expand your understanding of the world. Reading can be BOTH an escape and an expansion.

Through the daily commitment to activism, I have met some amazing people from all walks of life. If the situation wasn’t so dire, I would not have crossed paths with many of them. The intelligence, energy, and commitment gives me hope for the future.

I try to give compliments and encouragement as often as possible. Not to compliment or encourage something I think is vile, but compliment and encourage whenever possible.

There are plenty of ways I fail my own expectations of myself every single day. But I keep trying. Because I believe we have a responsibility to improve the world, both as people and as artists.

 

Published in: on June 25, 2018 at 4:48 am  Comments Off on Mon. June 25, 2018: Fostering Optimism #UpbeatAuthors  
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