Dearest Readers,

Today is the one year anniversary of Inspiring Message of the Day. I just went back and read the very first post, which I wrote in response to hearing the Still Small Voice say, “Get up and write a blog.”

“Huh?” I remember thinking, “Are you completely serious?” But I listened. And if you look at the time of that post it says “5:47 a.m.” And that was an hour after getting up and figuring out Blogger and then writing the darn thing. Case in point: I obeyed the command despite its seemingly bizarre nature.

As I was pondering what to write on this momentous occasion I thought about all the things I could say. The most obvious one is that I achieved a goal. This is huge. I committed to posting six days a week for one year and I actually did that without fail. Granted, some posts are better than others but nevertheless I did it. So “clink” and congratulations, Celia.

There were other goals that came out of the blog that I achieved as well. I made a commitment in Run For Your Life to do one form of cardiovascular exercise a week in addition to my daily yoga practice. And guess what? I’ve kept that up, too. As I was running up those Black St. stairs two at a time yesterday I thought, “My body has changed.” A year ago I was huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf.

But here is the question that is really begging to be answered. Have I changed the thing that prompted the blog in the first place? That rage that powered the prayer to help me not strangle the cat?

Yes. And no.

The rage can still come up. So that’s not gone. Maybe it never will be. But the force at which it arrives has lessened considerably. The cat hasn’t jumped on my stomach for a long time. Coincidence? Probably not. Now when he cries at 5 a.m. I pat him, scratch his ears, talk to him quietly and lift up the covers so he can snuggle underneath them with me. And then we both go back to sleep. Some kind of Surrender had to take place in me and I had to let It in.

Yesterday I had a major deadline to meet. I was at Staples making copies and things were not going my way. The copier printed 170 pages of my work with a big black line through each one. The 3-hole punch was on the wrong setting and the holes in 120 pages were skewed. I could feel that old rage starting to boil.

I took a deep breath and said, “Please help me. I can’t handle this.”

Moments later a woman who might be called the town loonie came stomping into the store. She was having some kind of psychotic episode. She was ranting unintelligibly and everyone just kind of stopped and stared. She did a tour around the cash registers and then she left.

This woman just happens to be one of my Symbols. There she was. Appearing almost immediately after I’d asked for Higher Guidance. I relaxed. Look at your life, Celia. Look at what you have. Your problems are not really problems. Things fell into their proper perspective.

Thinking back to a year ago and that morning of the first blog I can see the difference between who I was then and who I am now. Yes, I have changed. And I will continue to change if I continue to ask for that Help. I can’t do it by myself. I need something Greater, something More Powerful than my little old self. That part, thank goodness, hasn’t changed.

This is by no means the last blog, Dearest Readers, but I am going to take a bit of a break. I have a play to write and this precious time I take to post each day must now be used for that.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, a million times thank you for reading. Thank you for being there, for being You, for Be-ing. You are amazing!

Inspiring Message of the Day: When I am in need of Great Strength I will continue to ask for It. I will ask no matter where I am and no matter what I am doing. Today I will trust that when I ask for help It will come. It will come.

Lost and Found

Dearest Readers,

Good news! I am now blogging from a brand-new (used) 13″ MacBook and she’s an absolutely lovely little thing. The brilliant team at Meadia Solutions also managed to recover the contents of the hard drive off the iBook I lost last week.

All together now: Hallelujah!

This means that the 16 pages of GITA that I had painstakingly excavated from the Ether is intact. I don’t have to start from scratch. I was prepared to do that. I knew the chances of recovery were slim and that I may well have had to go back to the beginning. I was steeling myself for the results of the “operation” with a combination of gritted teeth and total surrender.

The surrendered part of me even began to be excited by the idea of having to start all over again. It felt like an opportunity to free fall. The gritted-teeth part of me, however, was not so excited about beginning anew. This idea felt more like having to climb Mount Everest. So you can imagine how thankful I am that those 16 pages are still in existence.

It was interesting to see the different reactions in people to the dilemma. One guy, a journalist friend, said, “Hey, I’ve lost stuff and the new draft was actually way better. A clean slate can do wonders for the piece.” His reaction helped bring on the excitement.

But another guy, a computer technician, grabbed his heart and practically fainted. He understands the importance of backing things up and for him it meant a monumental loss. His mock-heart-attack made me very glad I got the work back.

Last week, when I was in no man’s land, waiting for clarity on how to proceed after the laptop got cooked, I had tea with a fellow artist. During our discussion we spoke of all the challenges and the joys of creating and striving and persevering in our craft. When we parted she said something to me that hit me with such a weight that I had to write it down.

From my little notebook I now give you her gem:

“Let’s get together again and share about the desperately courageous act of trying to create.”

Whump. I don’t know where that hits you but if you’re an artist (or if you avoiding being an artist) it will hit you between the eyes, in the heart, the gut and the groin. Why? Because she nailed it.

It takes courage, desperate courage to create art. Creating is an act of trust. Something is going to come. Moving into that place of trust is often glorious, seldom easy and mostly terrifying. What keeps me going is believing deeply in that old adage about the artist being the instrument. It’s not about me.

So today I will get back to the writing of GITA and I will do so with 16 pages of a draft to support me. But if I didn’t have those 16 pages I would still summon that courage, that desperate courage, and I would begin anew, trusting that the ideas, the characters, the story would be there.

BTW, thanks be to the God of Hard Drives.

Inspiring Message of the Day: Today, despite the terror of beginning anew, I will jump in to the act of creation with Courage and Trust.

Bit By Little

Dearest Readers,

This month I am working on GITA and it’s proving to be a difficult challenge. Writing a play is never easy but I’ve had pretty good luck with the process in the past. Most (but not all) of the first drafts I’ve written have poured out of me without too much resistance. This one, however, is not so fluid.

As I described my writing activities to a friend last night I found myself back in that old familiar territory of “I’m not enough.” Here is a summary of our exchange:

Friend: So what are you up to for the rest of the summer?

Me: I’m supposed to be writing a play. But it’s not really happening. I’m not giving it a lot of time or focus. I’m managing between 10 minutes and 30 minutes a day but it’s not really enough.

Friend: That’s not bad. It’s better than nothing.

Me: That’s true. It is.

Friend: Starting something new isn’t easy.

Me: That’s true, too.

Ah! Don’t you love it when friends say the things to you that you would say to them? For some nutty reason we just can’t say these things to ourselves.

Starting a new project is not easy. Doing a little bit each day is progress, however slow. It is the action that counts. The effort, not the result.

So I better get off this post and make a little bit more effort!

Inspiring Message of the Day: Do I have a project that I would like to begin? What if I started with ten minutes a day? What if this could be enough? I will pick a project, do a little bit and accept progress rather than perfection as my success.

Lest We Forget

Dearest Readers,

New Orleans is a great city. I love the balconies, the floor-to-ceiling windows, the flagstone sidewalks. People look you  in the eye and say, “How you doin?'” when passing by. I now understand what is meant by Southern hospitality.

Yesterday the proverbial wind took me to the WWII Museum. I probably wouldn’t have gone in if it weren’t for GITA but because I’m now doing research for a play about war and peace I found myself sitting in the 3 o’clock showing of Beyond All Boundaries a 4-D multi-media experience narrated by Tom Hanks.

Did you know that WWII took 65,000,000 lives? Sixty-five million. I still cannot grasp this number. I keep saying it over and over, like an answerable question that begs an answer anyway: “Sixty-five million? Did I hear that right? Did I?”

One of the pieces of info I didn’t really remember from my school-day lessons was that the US did not, in fact, want to go to war. The President at the time, Franklin D. Roosevelt, said an uneqivocal “no” to joining the war effort. The attack on Pearl Harbour and Germany’s subsequent declaration of war on the US is what forced America to finally join the Allied Forces.

It was interesting to see the news reels depicting the US as a pacifist country. We think of them now as such war mongers. Perhaps WWII was the true catalyst for this change in their policy. America came out of WWII victorious (the film makes no real mention of the other Allied countries and their aid) and the victory made them an undeniable Super-Power.

The sidewalks outside the Museum are made of brick and upon each brick is carved the name of one of the Fallen. It felt strange to walk on top of their names, like walking through a graveyard, unsure of whether stepping on the Dead is akin to stepping on their honour. But I realized it was quite the opposite. My footprint on theirs. Mine from the sole of a shoe. Theirs from the Soul of a Life.

I’m a peacenik. I am. But if the Allies hadn’t fought the Axis what then? Is war sometimes necessary? Is the answer to this unanswerable question as clear as it seems?

Inspiring Message of the Day: As much as I would like things to be black and white the Truth is much more complex. I will continue to keep an open mind and give space to Life’s unanswerable questions.