October 15, 2013

Gazing into the Unknown

"Happiness is not forcing the sun to shine, 
but letting go of that which blocks the light."
~Stephen and Ondrea Levine

Willpower . . . we use so much of it on our quest to obtain what we want that oftentimes willpower is what keeps us from receiving the best outcome for ourselves. If I see a road before me, tunnel vision can help rid me of distractions, but it can also keep me from picking up on the subtleties of data that can enhance my experience of traveling through life. Here's a personal example, where my stubborn focus and awareness of only one thing instead of the whole came to teach me to have 
gaze instead of a stare.

For years I have been typing away at a novel, researching the occupations of the characters and studying cultural differences between America and Italy, weaving in highs and lows into the plot. But, I began the story with the end in mind, which motivated the passions the characters displayed throughout. I clearly saw the conclusion before the first chapter was even written. Now, many times writers can do this fluidly, so this is not necessarily "writers' sabotage." But in my case, the strict focus on the closing scene repeatedly short-circuited me, diffusing the flame that was supposed to guide me like a teacher throughout the story. I found I wasn't allowing the spontaneous elements of the story--such as arguments, additional plot tension, humor, a new character entering and shaking things up--to flow. With so much willpower and determination to get to the fixed end scene, I had actually burned a hole in the proverbial pages with my harsh stare instead of creating a warm glow with my gaze at the big picture.

So, in order to get my heels out of the dirt and let my characters' destinies be open to a myriad of possibilities, I "put away" my closing scene. Maybe I'll come back to it. Maybe, like things in life, I'll be pleasantly surprised that what I thought I wanted wasn't the right fit, and my willingness to release my willpower and open myself toward the unknown, unplanned future is really the serving the highest good for my characters . . . and, speaking personally, for myself.