Words: On Fear, Contentment and Life

I’ve yet to meet anyone who is totally confident in their abilities as a “creative”. Whether it’s painting, making music, designing living spaces, creating a great meal or writing, every creative individual I know faces a moment of fear (perhaps many of them) when they think that maybe they don’t have what it takes.

I’ve offered a guest post on the blog at Breathe Christian Writers website about a time I nearly let the darkness of doubt overwhelm me.

Even in the stark cold of winter, we find little gifts of color. Harvested on my Christmas Day walk in the valley.
Even in the stark cold of winter, we find little gifts of color. Harvested on my Christmas Day walk in the valley.

During the Christmas season, I came across a short essay by a writing friend that gave me a focus for the coming year. I wasn’t searching for one and had even sworn off the “My One Word” tradition, but her simple yet profound piece gave me encouragement and pause. She spoke words that I purpose to live out in 2016, and beyond:

“allow it”

My friend shares that she was struck by the simplicity of this submissive statement and the attitude it implies: “a consent of both heart and mind. ‘Allow it’ and relax. No bracing, straining, plotting to change or avoid.” (I’ll send you to Nancy Nordenson’s lovely blog to read the rest of her words here. )

For me, those words are a passageway to contentment. How often do I strain against what I cannot change or plot to influence situations or people it’s not my business to change?

The Merriam Webster definition of contentment is “the state of being happy and satisfied”. When things do not go my way or when people in my life cause discouragement, choosing to simply allow it in both my heart and my mind can only be healthy for me — in body and spirit.

And ultimately, I think this one choice will save time as I refrain from the unproductive habit of fretting and stewing.

It will take practice, but I’m claiming “allow it” as my resolution, my intention, my mantra and my one word (okay, two) for 2016.

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Finally, because I love sharing good things, I want to direct you to one more website and blog. A writer I met in October has shared an important season in her life in the beautiful book “So Many Africas: Six Years in a Zambian Village”. Jill Kandel’s award-winning memoir takes you to a country and on a journey most will never experience, but which may shed light on periods of struggle and growth in your own life.

Jill’s beautifully written account of her life in Zambia lingers in my mind long after I’ve passed her book on for others to read. I’m expecting to read it again.

Jill’s work has been featured in numerous periodicals and anthologies (both print and online). You can get a taste of her multi-cultural life in and around Fargo, North Dakota, by visiting her website www.jillkandel.com.

 

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