Today was a struggle for me. Yesterday, I was exuberant because I finished the final revision of my novel, The Fellowship of the Heart, before sending it to my editor. Of course, I will face more revising, but it was still a milestone for me. This morning, though, the big let-down.
I was struggling to find a focus for my Morning Pages. I meditated, read, walked the dogs, perused social media — nothing coming. I thought Hey this is just ego working overtime. How? My ego was telling me Don’t expect too much, remember that everybody says selling books is a labor of love and no money to be made from it, 500 books is a lot to sell, most authors you know are really good.
Yes, my good old ego trying to protect me from disappointment. If I cave to that, the energy of my heart and core Self is squelched, and negative thoughts produce lackadaisical, negative actions and inactions — like No sense pushing to publish every day. You know, you started doing that to raise awareness about the novel, and what’s that going to be worth anyway?
I saw what was going on, but the emotional side of ego was dragging me down, which was also reinforced by other concerns.
I needed to decide: would I listen to ego and just use emotions as an excuse to slack and feel sorry for myself, or would I hear the urgings of my heart to live my truth and truly express my love for others by producing my writing? The choice is an emotional proposition, and the ego plays on all the poor, pitiful me, sad and sorry, and got a reason to feel bad emotions. The heart, contrary to what many may think, is not some sappy sentimental mess but rather the kick-me-in-the-ass and move me motivator.
I spoke to my heart, and I thought I just needed to write what I’m going through. When I started, the thought of this ego or heart choice jogged my memory — why, I have no earthly idea — about King Solomon, reputed to be the wisest man of ancient times. His writings, at least some of them, are in the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible, depending on which side of religion you are standing. The whole heart or ego question wasn’t so easy for him, either.
Proof? Two books authored by Solomon. (There is a third, and it is touching, romantic, and erotic, so I’m not sure where that falls on the ego and heart spectrum. Fun to think about, though!). Ecclesiastes and the Book of Proverbs present an internal conflict in Solomon. Even though I may not agree with all the ideas in Proverbs — or maybe I do but just don’t know it well enough — I do know that Solomon presents his truth with power, enthusiasm, and spirit, and his words fill the pages with vigor and hope and faith — and especially with instruction as to how to realize the fullness of core Self.
In Proverbs, Solomon personifies wisdom, and he heard words from Wisdom in the way I refer to my heart speaking the truth of Spirit to me: my truth to be shared with the hope that others will be encouraged and motivated by my expression of love. Wisdom spoke to him and had big, bold, wonderful, and cautionary things to say: “Come, eat of my food, And drink of the wine I have mixed. Forsake your folly and live, and proceed in the way of understanding” (Proverbs 9:5, 6 NASB). He tells his son to keep the words of Wisdom, the Spirit, “in the midst of your heart” (4:21), to let that be the reference and motivator for him: “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life” (4:23). Solomon reveals his heart message in many words of wisdom, words of Spirit.
It’s almost hard to believe that the same man wrote the book of Ecclesiastes; it stands in stark contrast to the enthusiasm and spirit and heart wisdom of Proverbs. To me, it is a book that contains truth, but it is ego truth. It is book written by a man yielded to ego dejection, by a man who denigrates the nobility of spirit exhibited in Proverbs. As in Proverbs, though, there are high points and low points, and both books show this internal conflict that I experience. At least, I know the conflict, which is great because many do not seek the wisdom of their own hearts, so they don’t experience conflict.
Overall, though, Ecclesiastes is a bummer compared to Proverbs — from the very beginning: “‘Vanity of vanities,’ says the Preacher. ‘Vanity of vanities! All is vanity’ What advantage does man have in all his work which he does under the sun?” (Ecclesiastes 1:2, 3). The same man who extolled the power and good and positivity and joy of living in the wisdom of one’s own heart now says that everything is useless. Much of the book goes on to say that basically life on this earth is hopeless and useless because we make absolutely no impact. Nothing changes no matter what we do. Ugh!
Pure, unadulterated ego, but I’m not condemning because I, too, go through these phases. Only thing is I don’t think I’d ever put it out there to the extent that Solomon does! But he wrote with power, and I think there is great value in seeing the contrast between the two sides of Solomon, because all of us who know the fellowship of our hearts knows the decision to follow our hearts is not a one-time episode.
Challenges and struggles force us to make daily decisions to walk in the light of our heart’s wisdom, and that is an awesome thing — very powerful, encouraging, character-building, not to mention loving of self and others. I will take the challenges every day compared to the defeatist attitude of “the mass of men who lead lives of quiet desperation,” who live shrouded in feelings of useless hopelessness that nothing matters, nothing is significant that they can do, and that we just need to muddle through an uninspired life.
Today was a challenge, and I will gladly give thanks for it, because no matter how emotional it is, I will choose enthusiasm, faith, and hope every day!
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!