Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dream. Do. Detach.: Akilah Richards Takes Over My Blog for Radical Self-Expression

DO NOT BE ALARMED!

My name is Akilah Richards, and I have commandeered Christie's blog for a moment.

You may have noticed things have been scarce here for a bit... and with good reason.  If you follow her on any social networks you know she's been hella busy. But, as a personal friend of hers, I know she's been struggling creatively as well.

Christie is a badass writer...
(if you're here reading this, you didn't need me to tell you that)
She and I share an undeniable obsession for the written word and the craft of turning pieces of wisdom and creativity into finished, published indelibly inked babies (also known as books). As she and I conversed via email about all the barriers and bullshit that keep us writers enmeshed in everything but writing, Christie shared a thought that both moved me and reminded me just how beautiful a writer she can be.

I'm going to let you in on our little conversation... and share with you, like I did with her...

How Radical Self-Expression Can Help Turn Ideas Into Completed Work

Check it...
Christie told me this...
"My mantra for this year is Dream. Do. Detach. Especially the "Detach" part.The "Dream" part is always easy.  The "Do" part has it's challenges, but I still "do" a lot.  To "Detach" means to not worry about it after I do it.  Not be so invested in the outcome.  Let go, and let God...so to speak.  If I have done my best... if I have done what is expected of me... then what happens after all that, I have no control over.  Checking [blog] stats or looking to see if I have any comments, or replies, or likes, or mentions does not determine my worth, but it will deplete it.  Looking for praise, recognition, and validation outside of myself is pointless.  If it comes, great.  I don't need to hunt for it... and more importantly, whore for it.  [I need to] understand and appreciate the notion of "no news (most of the time) is good news."  Dream. Do. Detach.
But it is HARD!  Especially being in this line of work... where visibility and relevance and popularity can make or break you.  So... I am detaching from that as well.  Not from being a blogger... but from the expectations.  I'm working on being a blogger for ME.  What happens after I press publish is up to God."
Are you familiar with that space?  Do you have more than a passing curiosity about a particular thing, or a deep desire to put a certain thing into your daily practice, but struggle to go from the intellectual knowing to the actual integration?

A simpler question is: Have you gained the life skill of going from Dream to Do without the burden of paralyzing fear?

Most of us can say that we have applied that skill in some way, but don't consider ourselves versed in that art.  I get that. I've lived in that house and allowed that space to rule over my life.  But I got so tired of feeling so unfulfilled and so muted, that my I shifted my life (including my work) to a focus on the polar opposite of that muted space: Radical Self-Expression.

You can live in that polar opposite space too, and you don't have to be a fearless warrior woman or man to live that way either.  Let's talk about how the practice of Radical Self-Expression offers what I call strategic soulwork for the muted spaces that stop us from dreaming, doing, and detaching...
Radical Self-Expression is practiced through the exploration of your spiritual strengtheners; the words, actions, and feelings that are most aligned with who you are and how you prefer to live and to feel.  
Christie’s sense of alignment to her spiritual strengtheners is inextricably linked to her ability to create, complete, and share herself through her work as a writer.  So if she is just writing, but not completing or sharing her talents, she will not feel fulfilled.  Here’s how I propose Christie use two of the Principles of Radical Self-Expression to integrate that create/complete/share/repeat pattern into her daily life.

PRINCIPLE 1   :: OLD KNOWINGS ::

This principle is about recognizing your personal patters, specifically, how those patterns relate to your deepest interests.  A passion for written word is not a new event for Christie.  She knows that she is a writer, not just because she has written and published books in the past, and not because she blogs today, but because when she writes, she FEELS like herself.

When she commits words to paper (or to screen), she does so, not just because of choice or obligation, but also because of desire.  She WANTS to write, and has wanted to write for a long time.

That Old Knowing, that pattern of wanting to write is part of Christie’s natural grain.  Somewhere along her journey, she learned to use written words to access, explore, and express herself, whether through creative fiction or insightful non-fiction.

One of the most important beliefs we can nurture is our belief in ourselves. Inextricably linked to this belief is our ability to call upon wisdom that is beyond the scope of our individual memories, and deeply rooted in the fibers of who we naturally are.

Old Knowings ask the questions: What do you KNOW about yourself, even if you cannot prove it to yourself? What images, people, stories, and words call to you stronger and more consistently than most? 

These are the nudges of Old Knowings, and if you use them up, feel them out, and follow them even when you are afraid, you will find the amplifiers for your voice and the clarity for your next step forward.

Christie has already established a connection to her Old Knowings, because she identifies as a writer, and puts that identification into practice through her blog.  But since she wants to go further, since she wants to use what she knows to fuel what she desires, she has to move on to the next principle…

PRINCIPLE 2  :: NEW BEGINNINGS ::

Once you recognize yourself, I mean really recognize yourself, and decide you are ready for a different experience in a particular area of your life, you need something new to focus on. You can’t try to upgrade your old mindset.  Instead you’re going to have to release it altogether, to make room for your own evolution.

Christie wants to publish another book, and she wants to start traveling again (the way she used to in her pre-children, corporate baller days), perhaps through her work as a writer. In order to shift her Old Knowing (I am a Writer) to a New Commitment (I am a Writer who will create, complete, and publish a book in 2014) she has to turn that desire into an actual plan.

When you finally accept a truth about yourself, you have to let the full effect of that choice work in your favor. Her work now is to commit to publishing in 2014, and seek opportunities to stand in that commitment.

Since Christie has a great handle on the how-to of social media engagement, the type of question that would turn her desire into a plan would be... How can I leverage what I know to get what I crave?

From there, she can follow up with a plan for walking down all the possibilities for leverage opportunities...

  • She could start a blog series where she interviews working travel writers…
  • She could create a running list of resort and villa companies through the Caribbean and contact them about doing social media marketing campaigns during their low seasons.
  • She could publish an e-book on a fictional topic, just to whet her appetite for publishing bodies of work that aren’t on blogs.
  • She could write her book publicly.  The entire thing, on her blog, with the faults, the good stuff, the “meh” stuff, all of it, with a public deadline, and regular updates. Tell us when your cover art is done. She could tell us when you've done the final round of edits (is there even really such a thing?).  She could tell us when you set a launch date.  AND... she could tell us when she feels like she’s going to stop.  

Sometimes, you’ve got to be willing to use your outside voice to access your internal baggage. Baggage/fear isn't always readily apparent, and public work can help you shed light on it.  Just be careful not to put too much weight on people's opinions. If Christie were to choose this option, the process would be for and about Christie, not her readers.

  • She could start a web video series on the barriers to successful writing (or travel writing) in efforts to create a community around emerging and aspiring fellow writers


See the pattern?

New Commitments are about NOT letting the absence of our desired results get in the way of consistent efforts.  Sometimes we wait until “work” comes our way before we lean in; that’s a mistake.

Start creating SIMPLE projects around your desires, and watch how those projects often segue into paid work.  Stop treating your passion like your man/woman on the side.  Put it front-and-center, even in the absence of a financial return.

I’m not saying Christie should only be focused on writing and traveling, but I am saying that she should prioritize them.

Prioritization is at the core of New Commitments.  Before you, I, or Christie can go past dreaming and doing, and on to detaching, we’ve got to recognize what we crave (Old Knowings), and create a strategy for prioritizing that Knowing (New Commitments).

There’s a popular saying that “the universe is constantly conspiring in our favor”, but I can’t help but imagine that our relationships with Universe (which I see as God) is not unlike any other relationship with someone we love.  If the goals and the work are one-sided, the results might show up, but they won’t stick.  Any one person can initiate a relationship, but if it is not a mutually beneficial, emotionally fulfilling, dual commitment environment, then it’s far less a relationship, and more so a situation.

If you want to leave your situation and transition into a relationship with your deepest Old Knowings, commit, co-conspire, and be consistent.  Go ahead and dream, design the strategy for doing it, but don’t forget that a goal without a plan is merely an idea; and ideas—let’s be real—are not in high demand, but quality finished work never has to endure a low season.

There is always a market for quality, your job is to align your desires with your skills, and walk them both toward completion, over and over, until you are exactly where you need to be to feel fulfilled, and fully expressed.

I hope you enjoyed this blog-takover as much as I did and I do hope some part of this resonated with you and encouraged your own movement to Radical Self-Expression.  To learn more about me and my personal journeys, click HERE.