Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Taking the Leap

So here I am. I've done it. I've started a blog.

I have been reading one of my old friend's blogs rather frequently, and it inspired me in such a great way. It's interesting because she just writes about everyday life and maybe adds a few recipes, but what struck me is her dedication to her views. I thought, how wonderful would it be to know how you viewed the world and to have beliefs to fall back on when everything seems confusing? Maybe that's idealistic and naive, and of course everyone's beliefs--no matter how strong-- get put into question from time to time, but I thought that I would like to set out on some kind of cliche quest to figure what exactly my core beliefs could be. As far as I know, I can't ally myself with a religion. I was raised a Unitarian Universalist, which although I still don't completely understand it to this day, my parents always explained it to me as a religion that picks and chooses from other religions, but basically believes in the interconnectedness of all beings. Which is pretty cool. And that's a nice thought to look at now and then and go: "Yeah, that's me, I believe in that." But it's not the kind of thing I contemplate every day, or perform rituals to consecrate myself to it everyday (which I know isn't what religion is about). So in some ways, it's a good start to figuring out what my beliefs are, but the nail hasn't been thoroughly whacked on the head.

However, I have taken a great interest in synchronicity.

Hmm, let's see. According the Oxford Canadian Dictionary, synchronicity means: the simultaneous occurence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible connection. KEY WORD: no discernible connection. Little does Oxford know, there might be some serious energy going on making these things synchronous. And even if synchronicity is a happy figment of my imagination, I would like to keep it that way. I don't see any harm in thinking that maybe if you act (or even think) in a certain way, it will have a rippling effect (hopefully positive). I think this belief is upheld in many different forms. Call it God, call it the Universe, call it Fate, call it Chance. Lots of people seem to think that, although the connection is indiscernible, it's there.

My interest in synchronicity first came to life when I read The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron (for some reason I always called her Julie in my head). The Artist's Way is a twelve-week course in a book on "Discovering and Recovering your Creative Self." It was one of my main projects during my year off before university. It changed my world, seriously. Of course, it got a little cheesy and a hoaxy and a little hard to take sometimes, but the things it taught me almost made its cheesiness, hoaxiness (that's just cynical) and the parts that were hard to take... take-able. Although it has taken nearly a year since starting it for that actual creative inspiration part to take effect, at the time, it taught me many valuable skills that seemingly had nothing to do with creativity. Number One, it helped me love myself again, after years of suffering from cripplingly low self esteem after the love of my life broke up with me (I was fifteen, it was real. Taking three years to get over it is real enough for me), so that was a nice outcome. Number Two, it got me hooked on writing three pages of WHATEVER every morning. I now, in an orderly fashion, get up an hour before I have to do anything in my day, do some basic yoga and write my three pages. Yoga was something I had been meaning to add into my morning routine anyway (or rather, the likeness of a morning routine that I had always dreamed of before then). Now, with this morning routine dream team of yoga and Pages, I start my day with a limber body (and hey! my chronic back pain went away!) and a clear, or somewhat sorted out, mind. The purpose of the Pages is to get out all the crap that normally bogs down your thoughts during the day. And seriously, if I skip Pages, I am a crazy person. They are a serious mental-health saver. I must have been in exactly the right spot, desperate to get my creative imagination and inspiration back when my friend Janet recommended The Artist's Way to me, that I didn't once question doing the Pages that "Julie" deemed I do every day. It was my year off, and I was ready to mould my life in any way, accept whatever kind of seemingly reputable advice I could get. (*Note: In the beginning, of course I missed some days of Pages---OK, several days---, and still do now and then. But Pages have become such an integrated part of my day that it seems weird not to do them. OK, I'm going on a bit of a tangent, but you know when you're like: "Aw, yea, I'm going to change my whole routine and add this and this and this in" and then after a couple days or a week (if you're lucky) it turns out to have been completely unrealistic? Well, either we all suck at committing to ourselves or are doing it for the wrong reasons, or incorporating Pages and yoga into my mornings was exceptionally manageable and realistic, neat). It also taught me many other valuable lessons, which I'm sure I'll get to in the future of this blog, because they really, truly are a big a part of my life now. I sound like a cheesy success story on one of those five-minute-long television adds trying to sell you something for just $29.99, buy now, satisfaction guaranteed or your money back.

HOWEVER what did The Artist's Way teach me about synchronicity that stuck? Well, basically "Julie" has this whole idea that there is a Great Creator (that was a concept that was reeeally hard for me to take, but I eventually kind of reconciled myself to it...but that's a story for another time, hopefully it will come up). Creativity is the energy that the Great Creator channels into you, or something like that. So "Julie" was saying that as soon as you start positively affirming your creative abilities and the value of yourself (By the way, Positive Affirmations are another kind of magic. Once again, they feel REALLY STUPID when you're doing them, but when you recognize that the cynical asshole who is saying they're stupid in your head is actually the weak one, you can enjoy believing positive things about yourself. Voila, step one to recovering from low self esteem), the Great Creator will start acting in mysterious ways. You will notice things in your life starting to point in the direction of what you're aiming for. People will start encouraging you along in subtle ways, you might see an ad posted somewhere that is something you're looking for, et cetera, you get the idea. And while the signs of this synchronicity don't come hurdling in your direction, you will begin to notice them, as soon as you open yourself up to them. I always get a little bit of a happy feeling inside when synchronicity gives me a pat on the shoulder. Sometimes I'll be thinking about something like taking a Calculus course so I can keep studying Psychology next year, and then the weekly talk I go to for the program I'm in will be a guy talking about how everybody can do Math and they're learning new ways of getting students who seem like they'll never get it to excel. It's pretty cool.

PHEWF. So now that I've explained my interest in synchronicity, I'll try to say a little about what else I'd like to get out of this blog.

I'm just about finished reading The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje. If you're clever, you'll notice that I've already included it in my favourite novels. I won't write in detail what I think about it, because that will be the special topic for a future post (but you can tell that I hate it so far). As well, I will be watching Pulp Fiction for the first time on Saturday, which according to one of my good friends is one of the best movies ever. One of the things I would like to use this blog for is writing reviews of books and movies. I don't know if I'm very good at writing reviews, and they won't be very intricately written. I'm the kind of person that writes reactions, so maybe I'll start calling them that instead. I don't go back over the book or movie to find specific passages and come up with some deep dark meaning, I give you my gut reaction upon finishing the ...book/movie/whatever else I have a reaction to. Maybe it will be mostly for my sake (as the rest of this blog is as well, let's be honest), but I hope that these "reactions" and that even the rest of my blog will give you something to think about, something to scoff at, something to laugh at, something to (hey!) react to.

This brings me to one of the principal reasons why I have issues sharing my writing and even have doubts about starting a blog. I am constantly, every day, scared shitless (sorry) of what people are thinking. Is my personality detestable? Is my appearance sloppy? Is what I say clumsy and stupid and a turn off? Is my laugh obnoxious? Is my writing Shit (that's right, capital S)? Is my writing boring as all get out? Is my writing too cliche and done-before? Is my writing trying too hard? Am I trying too hard? ...So. Needless to say, I had qualms with myself about starting a blog, which is a tool to primarily talk about YOUR thoughts and stuff that interests YOU. This blog is my big leap of faith, my hope that "leap and the net will appear" is a true statement. And despite all my nervousness and insecurities, almost every part of me is like "ERIN! DO IT! YOU'LL LOVE IT! THIS IS A GREAT IDEA! JUMP! LEAP! HOP!" I'm hoping that this will be a good way to get my stuff out there, even if I never do decide to post some of my writing (oh yeah, that's what else I'm going to do maybe, probably... because I've committed myself now, I have to... that's the idea...funny the games you have to play with yourself).

Another thing I'd like to do, which relates to Thought, is posting my thoughts about the stuff I'm learning at university, and the thoughts that occur to me about goodness-knows-what throughout my days. So I've left the subject(s) of this blog nice and vague so, hopefully, I won't run out of things to talk about or interest in it.

There. I hope I didn't use too many tangents (or side-bars and attempts at humour in brackets). If I did, oh well, I'm learning. AND THAT'S THE OTHER POINT OF THIS BLOG. I am learning, learning, learning in every way, all the time. And I hope to share my learnins' with you (whoever will read this). Maybe you'll get some learnins' too.

Thanks for caring and being a cool person.

Your friendly neighbourhood Erin.


  1. Blogging IS a leap of faith - I stuggle with it too - having enough self assurance to put yourself out there and not care too much about what people think. But you are a great writer Erin. You expressed yourself clearly and I was interested. And you spelled things right and used correct grammar and punctuation. That's the clincher for me, I'm subscribing :)
    Your morning routine sounds lovely! I try to start each day with coffee, a few chapters of my Bible, prayer and then a "brain dump" - not three pages (that's dedicated!) but just dumping out my mental to-do list onto paper so I don't have to try to remember everything I have to do as the day goes on. It's really helpful... when I remember to do it :)
    I'm looking forward to reading more posts. Keep it up!

    1. Emily! I have been avidly reading your blog! I love hearing about your babies and recipes and your insights on life and its issues. I am so glad to have your feedback. And I'm glad to know everything is going so well for you.

      I really think it's important to have a few things to anchor you first thing in the morning. You can start out thinking it's going to be a bad day, but then with these tools you sort yourself out and gain perspective.

      More posts to come soon! :)

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  3. Replies
    1. :D I'm glad you checked it out! (and liked it!)