Monthly Archives: January 2009

All Roads Lead to Rome (and Here)

I’m enjoying, or not, depending on the moment, a stunning lack of focus lately.  I’m feeling oh so resistant to making any choice that could limit my options.  I want it all.  And I’m discovering the irony in this… that this mentality keeps me from fully picking, doing or enjoying anything, really.

I’m reminded as I write this of a pep-talk note we got from author Janet Fitch during NaNoWriMo.  I’m going to go right now to look it up…  Here’s part of a story she shared with us about a huge writer’s block she ran into around Chapter 8 in her book White Oleander

“I just couldn’t decide what to do next.  I’d try this, try that, but each time I’d get stuck. The character would put her toe in and pull it out again. No, not that. Should  I just bag it? Write a different book? Go to law school? Watch reruns of Hogan’s Heroes? I was absolutely blocked at the crossroads.

Luckily I was seeing an amazing therapist at the time. I explained I was afraid that if I chose route 6, then I would be eliminating all the other possible routes. What if route 15 was better? Or 3 1/2 ? So I hedged. I couldn’t commit. I was stuck. And she gave me the piece of advice which has saved my writing life over and over again, and I will give it to you, absolutely free of charge. She said, ‘I know it feels like you have all these options and when you make a decision, you lose a world of possibilities. But the reality is, until you make a decision, you have nothing at all.'”


That’s it exactly.  Forget writer’s block.  I’m having people’s block.  (For the record, the word I really wanted to use was LIVEr’s block, as in one who lives.)

I see how this plays out in my day-to-day… because it does, alot. I’m a toe-dipper.  Which becomes a thin-spreader – or a spreader thinner… which leads to a bad case of overwhelm.  Or I become a masterful avoider.  Lying in bed for hours, dreamily playing out loads of reckless fantasies for my life in my head, but really I’m just lying in bed.  I’m a dreamer, avoider, procrastinator… which, by the way, also leads to a bad case of overwhelm.

IT’S TIME, Lisa. Time to step up and step out. Take the non-habitual road.  Pick something, and DO. You know creativity thrives in limitation, so create a framework.  Follow one of those lists you love making so much.  GO. Be in the world.  (This is being said by my loudspeaker voice.  Do you have this voice? The one that comes in behind your left ear and gives you the firm and clear answer to any question?)

Janet Finch advises fellow blocked writers to pick something that will make trouble for their character.  She writes, “Find the thing (your character) loves most and take it away from him. Find the thing he fears  and shove him shoulder deep into it. Find the person who is absolutely worst for him and have him delivered into that character’s hands. Have him make a choice which is absolutely wrong.”

This excites me. Anyone else up for getting into a little trouble?

Oh, and a framework.  I do love frameworks.  I found this on the blog of a friend of a friend.  Wanna play? Copy the bold and fill it in.  Ten minutes or less.

*i am annoyed by slow drivers who won’t pull over on the highway.
*i want it all.
*i have six billion ideas.
*i miss cuddling.
*i fear I won’t be able to say no if I say yes.
*i hear the furnace clicking, the solar batteries charging and the wind.
*i search for some imagined “right way”.
*i wonder what will happen if I just say, “screw it.”
*i regret not having more skill and self-awareness in my past relationships.
*i love big.
*i forgive you, if you were that slow driver on the highway.
*i ache for no-holds-barred connection.
*i always make my bed.
*i try to eat well and do yoga every day.
*i seem unapproachable when I’m being shy.
*i know this.
*i feel like walking to the beach today.
*i dance around my house naked.
*i dream of being independently wealthy. But
*i give all my money away when I have it.
*i listen carefully to everything you’re not saying.
*i sing all the time.
*i laugh till I cry sometimes.  I love that.
*i can’t believe it’s noon already.
*i write because I have to.
*i cry at every single therapy session. It’s annoying.
*i sleep like a rock.
*i am really happy about that.
*i see the sun!
*i need to clean the house.
*i should forever banish the word should from my vocabulary.



Filed under invitations, life, lisa goettel, writing

Writing the Other Side

chocolate-skin1I have been reading Rob Brezsny for an hour.  He is a madman.

He is famous for his syndicated astrology column now, but someday he’ll be more famous for his mastery in untethering imagination in pursuit of truth.  He’s one of the seekers, choosing the reckless (but not aimless) path of uninhibited expression to the spiritual holy grail.

He spends his days devotedly seeking the purest form of connection to our true, collective spirit.  The stuff of dreams and psychadelic worlds. The glorious wonders “behind the veil” of our boring little conditioning.  The delicious music of the subconscious that breathes love and manna and play into the world.  The everything that lives beyond our doomed daily chores of footsteps. The last great grand hope.

Brezsny was buoyed by discovering William Blake’s description of this place, in a passage from A Vision of the Last Judgment:

This world of Imagination is the world of Eternity; it is the divine bosom into which we shall go after the death of the Vegetated body. This World of Imagination is Infinite and Eternal, whereas the world of Generation, or Vegetation, is Finite and Temporal. There exists in that Eternal World the Permanent Realities of Every Thing which we see reflected in this Vegetable Glass of Nature. All Things are comprehended in their Eternal Forms in the divine body of the Saviour, the True Vine of Eternity, the Human Imagination.

I wonder sometimes if the subconscious/ imagination are just an attractive highway luring us further into our super-egos under the guise of naked truth. But because I am (proud to be) easily influenced, tonight I am lapping up the contagion of Rob Brezsny’s reckless truths with glee.  Just imagine if the whole world was infected – suddenly swinging wide the doors to our collective and limitless imagination realms –  fearlessly and playfully celebrating the grown children we are. If we saw the world differently, would gravity fail to operate and the sun forget to rise?

And so, your invitation.  Contribute an expression of your connecting with whatever feels true at this moment.  Any form.  Do not let your regular brain participate. What leaps cleanly from the tendons of your sense and invites us to a world where we remember our majestic capacity for ridiculousness?  Prove we are full to the brim of stuff way more interesting than the aerobics of those woefully limited left-brain synapses.  Enjoy five minutes of relief from the way words should go. No edits or judges or rehearsals… this is easy free spontaneous loveful playtime.

Here’s my five-minute-stream-write offering, for starters. And Rob’s site offers a great deal more plentiful juice…


“Will there ever be a day when we don’t die?” She asked him, her voice wavering in false fear.

“Absolutely not.” He obliged in the condescension her tone so obviously craved.

“I wonder then,” she mused peevishly in an instantaneous but nearly imperceptible shift to real bravery, “if we may have a go at it?”

“What!?” He cried in exasperation. “We are 10,000 moons away from life yet.  We must die exactly 8,934,256 deaths before we can live.”

She smiled coyly and slid the secret with her tongue across her freshly whitened teeth.

“Oh don’t you smile coyly at me with your tongue and whitened teeth, just because you have the womb secret wisdom. I demand you demonstrate your fearlessness immediately,” his left eye twinkled.

The death was quick and painless. She remembered milky skin and thoughtlessness.  She jumped in to the pool laughing, yelling “It’s been here all along!”

“I’ve been trying to tell you…” he glowered, but her laughing broke his words in two.

She looked at him and he didn’t have to apologize.

“Wanna float?” She smiled.


Filed under invitations, writing

Eye On the Big Ball

Time is doing funny things.  I look at the calendar, at my last post, and notice it’s been exactly one month since I wrote here.  How could so many days have happened since we had that conversation? And at the same time, how could I have been that girl only 30 days ago? I am learning time is in us, and not absolute.

I feel like I’m at my therapist’s office after a long time away and there are a huge backlog of topics for potential discussion.  Should I talk about the gleeful nesting I’ve been doing in my new house? Or how I have failed to finish my novel (yet)?  The marvelous New Years acid trip?  The old wounds of shame I’ve been licking? How I feel my capacity for joy expanding? The Lovers tarot card I pulled for 2009? Boys? Music? Money?

I guess I go through phases of interest in processing things through writing and talking and creating.  Lately I’ve been not so interested in the processing part, and more into the experiencing.  The “but what does it all mean?” has quieted and I’ve gone into “what’s this?” mode.  In this place my attention span is about four seconds. My communication skills take an abrupt nose dive and I hop through my thoughts and days, not accomplishing much of anything, trying everything, being flaky and unreliable, riding emotional rollercoasters, catching up on my sleep, staring out the window and daydreaming.

To all my friends and family,  I am sorry for largely boycotting the holidays as I go through this resurgence of toddler-dom. I have made promises and not kept them.  I’ve started writing notes to you and wrapping your presents and not finished.  I really did try to blog last weekend – I wrote the first paragraph of nine different posts before sighing and staring at the fire instead.  It’s like trying to fight the weather.

My friend Tuaca once said I’m like a dolphin.  I leap from the water then go down, deep, away.  It’s what Lisa’s do.  Please know that I have been receiving your holiday gifts and letters, reading your blogs and facebook updates, thinking of you, appreciating and loving you all wordlessly.

With an actual, normal work week here on the horizon I’m reluctantly coaxing the words and adultness back. I’m grateful for my Taurusness.  I harness this part of me who loves loves loves to set intentions, categorize things and make lists.  The big landmine to watch for here is the ambitiousness.  The part that wants to do EVERYTHING and do it PERFECTLY and thinks everything takes about 25% as long as it actually does. The ambitiousness itself is not a problem actually, it’s the judgement and standards and compulsion and fear of disappointing or of not being enough that ickifies everything. (Ickifies, by the way, is now my new favorite word I just made up.)

I’m keeping my eye on the big ball tonight as I make my little lists.  Life is too short for jobs and budgets and phone calls to be a source of misery. I am clear in my vision.  I have the Big List. I have all the tools I need to ride the ride.  (Hero, I’m smiling, remembering you saying “We are easily seduced, but our intentions are powerful.”)

I want to go slower this year.  I want the middle way – between these extremes of doing everything and doing nothing. I want to practice, to move toward mastery in relationship with everyone – real, sincere, in-time connecting – and to choose to spend my time with people who want that too.  I want to experience and express sincerely and simply and proudly without performing.  I want to go after what I want and banish old fears with absolution.  I want to open my body and mind and spirit as a channel to life and let it live and dance and sing me.  I want to treat myself and everyone with highest respect and recognition of our majesty.  I want to let go, let go, let go of everything in the way.  I want to know how much joy I can handle.

Do you want these things too?

I vote we do it together. There are big distractions and egos and wounds out there and we need each other. We are powerful, and even more deliciously, magnificently so when we’re together.  And if the Mayan calendar is right we only have three years.  We had better get cracking.

If you’re in, and this is an experiement, I’ll post occasional assignments here for us. I will do them too. I hope you’ll play.

Assignment #1: Share your magnificence.

Right now, post something in the comments section (click on the “comments” link below) that displays your wonderfulness for the whole world to see.  Something you are proud of.  Something that is of you and and beyond you.  There is no room for modesty or apology here. Or for not-good-enough.  Or for waiting to finish the thing that isn’t finished.  Share something you have now.  A poem, a picture, a YouTube link, a recounting of the impossible accomplishment, a link to your very most favorite blog post… anything that when you did it made you go “wow – look at how big I am.”  This is a magnificence show and tell.  A chance for all of us to be equally fantastic – to ooh and ahh at all our gifts and recognize our own selves in them.

Whatcha got?


Filed under invitations, life, lisa goettel, writing