“Yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops?” ~ David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas
“… for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.” ~ George Eliot, Middlemarch
“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it.” ~ Lao Tzu
“I am the light of the world. … Humility consists of accepting your role in salvation and in taking no other.” ~ A Course In Miracles, Lesson 61
I’ve been feeling overwhelmed this last week or so. It’s a busy semester. I’m teaching three classes and one of them is a play production. It’s been difficult to keep up with my writing projects on top of the teaching duties. I’m not good at multi-tasking so I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself to do everything required and do them all well.
When I get stressed I begin comparing myself to other people. Social media is full of invitations to join this or that class or workshop so you can learn the secrets to this or that process that will make your life easier, or make you more prosperous, etc., etc., etc. Seeing those makes me crazy, because I’m tempted to think that I need to be different than I am in order to be a complete person. I need to be an extravert, I need to reach my audience, I need to … Ack! I’m so tempted to let those outer voices become my inner voices but I was saved these last couple of days from those thoughts by two things.
First, I just finished reading Ursula K. Le Guin’s book The Left Hand of Darkness. One character in particular, Estraven, sacrifices his career, his reputation, and his life for Genly Ai, an Envoy from another planet. His mission is to establish ties between Estraven’s planet and an alliance of planets he belongs to. Estraven is the only one on his world unafraid of the arrival of the alien Envoy. He sees that joining this group will be good for the backward governments on his world. Estraven was one man who made a difference by allowing his title and wealth to be stripped from him for a greater cause. Not many of his people knew the full extent of what he did.
The other thing that helped me was our neighbor. He came by to asked my advice on how to write a book. What! You’re asking me, an amateur, to give you advice? Immediately I felt small and unequal to the task. But I had to admit that I do know a little bit about the writing process.
I always shrink from telling other people how to do things. I mean, what works for me, might not work for them. I know that sounds funny coming from a teacher, but as a teacher I try to show my students all the possible ways they can complete a project or paper and then I let them use their own creative skills to do it. So, that’s what I did with my neighbor. He left happy.
I don’t know why I’m so hard on myself. I’m not alone in that. We are, after all, just one drop in a much larger ocean. We don’t have to fix all the problems that exist. Most of the time we never know the good that comes after us as a result of just living our lives.
Today, I’m taking a day off to relax and recoup. Here is a wonderful song I borrowed from Pam Grout’s blog post by India Arie to sing you into a fabulous weekend.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.