Heavy title. I know.
A friend of mine told me I should talk about a “writing exercise” on here. So I am. Yes, this has everything to do with writing.
The United States needs therapy. As a Whole. It needs to get in touch with its humanity, because too many people are trying to make too many other people into tiny business models. I feel we’re artificially being injected with a new form of beauty, and it’s corporate beauty. Dollar signs look so very, very delicious.
For those of us who disagree (myself among them), some of us have a difficulty understanding how to find our humanity, or even ourselves, among the overstimulating commercials, the numbing effects of fake sugars and complex carbs, and the general desensitization toward sex and violence. We also live in a culture of instant gratification: faster phones, communication, shorter distances, etc. And the faster you get it, the better you supposedly are at being an American.
Wellness – N. The state of being in good physical and mental health. I believe spiritual health also plays a strong impact to overall “wellness,” and as a writer this is very important I explain.
I had the good fortune to spend five years with a spiritual “Wellness” nut. Even though things didn’t work out between us, she still left a pretty strong impression on me concerning ways to improve overall wellness. And here’s a secret for you: it’s similar to how rich people make more money.
Filling the “void” vs embracing it
Hear me out. Today I had an “epiphany” moment. You know when people use the phrase “filling the void” to explain why they were addicted to something, or why they preferred to do something unhealthy or damaging to themselves? “Oh I shopped so much to fill the void from when my boyfriend left me. These shoes are just another way of not dealing with things properly.”
The void is an assumed empty hole left behind when something major, or otherwise tragic, or otherwise difficult to deal with happens. This can be anything at all. A roller coaster fetish because you miss your dad throwing you up in the air as a child. A love for super expensive sushi (even though you can’t afford it) because it tastes like ecstasy. It happens. I’ve had my own “void” moments, where I played video games instead of dealing with real life stuff, spent money on crap food because I felt lonely or afraid or angry or whatever, splurged on stuff I found out was crap. It happens to all of us.
BUT! What if the “void” is always there, and it is, of itself, a thing to be embraced? I mean meditation is a pursuit of an inner calm, an inner peace, of pushing all the energies of negative (and positive) thought out of the body and mind. Doesn’t that sound like you’re trying to create a void? But you already have one. You have something you’re trying to fill, right? Yet you have a filled space you’re trying to open up for meditation.
I think they’re the same void. When something traumatic happens, you have front row seats to the center of you–the void–and you look at it and hate it, or realize it’s so empty, or you realize whatever. It’s a huge deal. Meditation comes from a pursuit to cultivate that space. A person able to reach that space of inner calm is much more capable to handle the world. I think it’s a bad idea to try to fill it. But what’s the alternative? We never think about that much. “Ooh. I was trying to fill a hole left behind from my friend’s death.” The alternative is to see the bad habit and stop it to stop trying to fill the hole. Because the hole will never be filled. Why? Because it’s a symptom to a larger problem? Possibly. Moreso, the void is something to be embraced.
Embrace that hole. I find it similar to how Robert Kiyosaki talks about money (yes. I’ve read most of his books. No, I haven’t figured out how to incorporate them into my life).
Making money to spend vs making money
Just like we find ways to fill the hole, we seem to look at the dollar as a means to an end instead of an end in itself.
“It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep, how hard it works for you, and how many generations you keep it for.” –Robert Kiyosaki (Author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad series)
The guy is very, very intelligent. He knows a lot, and one of the many lessons I learned while reading his books is the importance of understanding money as a thing you can own. The money itself, and not whatever toys you spend it on. Owning money means you make more of it. Spending it is inherently bad because then you don’t have money anymore, but stuff.
In this capitalistic society, we think “stuff” is the best. THE BEST. Right now I’m looking at two computers, an iPhone, an iPad, and an iPod Touch. I don’t need all of that. In fact, I don’t need much of any of it. They were all purchased with specific goals in mind, to be sure, and I use them to move forward with my goals. But they are wanted. Not needed.
Right now, right now, I need money. The money I spent on that stuff could be put toward making more money. We always need money. But not to keep money, but to spend it on other things. It’s the capitalistic nightmare. One of them, I think. We’re told be media society that, damn it, you need to spend your cash ASAP because you can’t live another day without really good food, or really great shoes, or that new supercool XBOX ONE, or whatever. It’s a snuffing prophecy: you get money only to spend it, and ultimately it goes to someone else who saves it.
Much like how we see the void as something to fill, we see money as something to spend.
I think it’d be much healthier to look at the void as something to embrace, much as Kiyosaki believes you should embrace money (and not spend it).
So if I were to take this guy’s quote and change just a little bit, toward understanding Wellness, it’s this:
It’s not how hard you work to fill your void, but the time you spend with it, how much you let go to be in it, and how fulfilling it becomes in your ultimate centeredness.
I think that’s a run-on. But in my defense, his was too.
What is “Wellness” as it pertains to writing?
Distractions distractions distractions. We all spend well over our fair share of trying to fill empty space and time: TV shows, movies, video games, Facebook, Twitter, tumblr, Reddit (ugh). We spend time shopping and eating and cooking and–some of this is unavoidable. Laundry, for instance, and food, and running/working out, and cleaning, and job. It’s all important. But these distractions kill our creativity, gobbles up our time, and throws us off our center. It’s part of why I deem it so important to eliminate as many distractions as possible before I write.
Furthermore, any good writer will tell you about the moments when he dissolves into his story, where the whole world disappears for stretches at a time, and nothing exists but his typing, his characters, his story. It’s so very beautiful. It’s meditative. It’s a place of laser focus.
It isn’t the void. Let me be clear about this: where I go to write is NOT my void. My inner calm. Where I go before I write? I visit myself.
Gosh, meditation is the heart of most of my inspiration. It’s why/how I dream so vividly, it’s why I can handle so much bullshit in life, it’s why I see a crushing failure of biblical proportions and try to glean whatever lessons out of it before moving on. Meditation is key to my writing life.
Simultaneously, money is key to my writing life. They all go hand-in-hand, they’re all connected, and it’s important to balance. The “Wellness” nut could meditate for days at a time. That might seem like insane-talk to some people, but I really respected her for it. I know a lot of people out there who can’t even count ten breaths before they’re distracted on something else. Gotta get the dog to the kennel! Gotta make lunch for work tomorrow! Gotta do X, Y, Z. I understand. Life is important. But what is more important, and what has helped me tremendously in my writing, is being able to push it all out and simply sit, in silence, listening to my heart beat.
It’s huge. For me, the void must be embraced as an end in itself, much like those who know how to keep money understand the dollar bill is more than just a means to a spend.
Do you have a finished novel you want read? I have an interest in reading it. I’m honest, blunt, and have an opinion. I’d love to share it with you or anyone you want me to. Do you have a novel/story/focus you want proofed/edited? I’d be happy to assist, free of charge. I’m looking for community.