Now, the Buddhist teachings tell us that the motivation behind our speech and action is paramount. So, as I write this post, I must be mindful of why I want to tell you this, friends of Life’s a Mango. The reason I’m sharing this is because a recent experience is a confirmation of what Lady Gaga has said, that not everybody in this life will get you or give you their permission to be the shining star that you are. Some will say you are too bright, too close to the Earth, too massive, too hot, too this or too that. As we grow older, if we’re lucky, we create a filter and allow useful messages to come in that resonate with our true, inner being, and we block those that we know are harmful or not in alignment with our higher self. On life’s journey, it usually takes some years for us to get good at this skill and damage is often caused in our early years when we actually believe and internalize the messages we receive from our elders.
Recently, I went through the process of an edit on my book. Initially, it was a disappointing and painful experience as with each of her comments, I realized that the editor didn’t understand me, didn’t understand where I was coming from, didn’t appreciate my poetry and also gave me incorrect language advice. At first, all the negative emotions came to the surface. You know the ones: anger, frustration, etc but as I painstakingly went through every single word of the text (because I didn’t trust the expertise of the editor any more), a shift started to occur. I made a conscious decision to accept this editor for who she was and where she was at on life’s journey and forgive her too for making comments and judgements about my work that were, to my mind, totally mistaken. So, every time she changed ‘cause to because or changed pronouns because she didn’t understand what I was trying to do, I just breathed deeply and typed an explanation to her of what I was trying to do with my poetry. To be fair, I did accept a few of her suggestions.
Now, I don’t think I’m quite on par with Picasso as a creative but can you imagine how he would have reacted if someone had informed him that his painted portrait didn’t quite work because the eyes on the woman were not aligned, her head was not perfectly round and one of her breasts was higher than the other. Not to mention that the colours were totally unrealistic! I’m guessing he would not have even bothered with a reply because the comments about his painting display a sign which reveals to us that this person cannot be an art critic if he/she does not appreciate what Picasso is essentially trying to do.
This is where my initial disappointment and frustration came from. I imagined that all editors would be educated and skilled enough to appreciate an author’s work and when it became glaringly obvious that this was not the case, I was a bit dumbfounded. I guess we’ve all had disappointments with bankers, teachers, lawyers, cleaners, taxi drivers, shop assistants, agents, plumbers and electricians! We have a picture in our mind of how we think a person carrying out a job should conduct themselves and when this is not forthcoming, we become slightly irritable and/or frustrated. Has this happened to you?
For me, this story has had a positive outcome. I’ve realized that I do possess the power and the confidence in knowing exactly how I want my creative work to be and the magic I want it to weave. If someone can’t see that, that’s ok – I’m happy to explain it to them if that’s what it takes. Patience, little grasshopper. Patience.
An article by Eggins (1994) reinforces my point. She says, language has unlimited creative potential because it allows us to mean whatever we want it to mean.