I published a book last month! [does a happy dance in celebration]
I published a book last month. [wipes sweat from brow and collapses in exhaustion]
I published a book last month… [runs for the hills in terror]
Well, which is it? All of the above, to be honest.
This is at least my 5th attempt at writing Shaumbra Heartbeat for September 2020. The first few tries got bogged down in didactic lectures or lost in wandering metaphors, so I give up. I’m just going to tell the story.
The fact is, I really did publish my first book a few weeks ago! However, getting to that end result meant I took a long, meandering path full of stops and starts, doubts and dreams, and plenty of “yes, buts.” And I know a lot of other people who also seem to run into obstacles when it comes to bringing dreams into this reality. What’s up with that? We are, after all, divine creators manifesting our self-selected realities and experiences. Why, then, was it so hard to come up with a book when I already write quite a few pages every month? I don’t know about you, but I found a couple of surprising answers for myself.
When it comes to solving creativity issues, I could talk about turning roadblocks into building blocks, all the boring drudge work it takes to manifest a dream, the doubts about whether I have anything unique to say or even worth sharing, the expectations of “acceptable” creative endeavors, or any of several other aspects of the whole creative process. But all those things are profusely addressed in the self-help section of any bookstore, and I don’t think any of us are looking for a motivational lecture. What I really want to talk about is hiding (versus radiating) and how insanely “powerful” our creator abilities really are.
For more than 15 years I’ve known there are several books I want to write, and at least four of them have actually been started. But life has plenty of things that need attention, and I’ve always had ample justification for ongoing delays and postponements. Plus, the simple inertia of the status quo coupled with lack of enthusiasm for all the mundane details made it easy to keep this dream in the other realms. But it was also something I really, truly wanted to do, so I started working on it in earnest last year. As the project neared completion, I chose a publish date of 8/8/2020, because it was a cool date and also to give myself an actual deadline.
I’ve already gone through the publishing process several times with our Crimson Circle books, and so felt very capable of going through those last steps with my own. Finally, two days before my deadline, everything was ready. I took Friday, August 7th off from work, and dived in.
First step: Login to my personal account on the publishing website.
First roadblock: My personal account is not working and comes up with strange error messages – blocked, disabled, “404 page not found,” account terminated – no matter what I tried. What? How can this be? I ran through the possible causes: Is it my IP address? Can they see my location and not allow one person to manage two accounts? Did I enter the information wrong (a dozen times)? Nothing makes sense, but I try and retry everything I can think of. I even find a back-door way to get to the publishing page, but after all the information is entered, I click “submit” and it vanishes into oblivion.
Crap, I have a deadline! I send an urgent message to customer service, then post on a help forum asking for advice. The next morning, customer service has emailed to let me know that it is not allowed for one person to have duplicate accounts. They clearly don’t understand the situation, and I write back a passionate answer explaining what I need to do. A few helpful souls have posted answers in the forum too, but everything they suggest I have already tried.
Deciding it must be the IP/location issue, I call a friend across town and have her login to my account. Same problem. As a last resort, I go to the neighborhood WiFi hotspot down the road. This hotspot is so hot that my phone connects to it when I’m merely driving past, but this time it is impossible to logon to the network. I enter the password once, twice, triple checking it; other people are logged on, it’s obviously working. But I only get the spinning wheel of death and finally the “network not available” error. Again, how is this possible? I’m a creator, dammit! I know this process well; it should be flowing easily!
I come back home and manage to find a phone number for customer service. Finally connecting with a real live person, I do my best to explain these Very Strange Issues. My case clearly stated, I pause and wait for her response. The line is silent. “Hello? Is anyone there?” I ask. No response. Nothing. With a sigh, I hang up and try again, except now I can’t even get a dial tone. The non-existent call has seized my phone line and won’t let it go.
Clearly, some part of me is determined to bring this entire process to a screeching halt. (If only my “creative powers” were that strong at going instead of stopping…) It’s time to have a talk with Self, so I open up my journal – the “go to” place for clarity, wisdom and helpful advice – and pour out my frustrations.
Energy is moving, without a doubt. My arms and hands start throbbing with a strange, undefinable pain. My face is burning. Tears feel clogged up behind my dry eyes. My stomach is considering a wholehearted rejection of this morning’s breakfast. “What’s going on?” I ask.
Your life will change, my Self declares.
Oh, come on, life always changes. That is not the issue.
Being seen by absolute strangers, likely misunderstood, rejected, mocked; are you ready for that? You know what’s happened in the past…
Yeah, but this is a different time. They won’t burn me at the stake, and I can deal with the rest.
You’ve been here before, you know. Remember those bright ideas you had back in Atlantis? You sold them so well that thousands, even millions of people believed you – and look what happened! Look at the mess you made. What if people are hurt by your words again? How do you know that won’t happen?
I cringe. There is no suitable answer.
Hundreds of thousands of years of guilt and shame, and you clearly still carrying some wizard abilities. Did you really think this would go smoothly?
My face is hot and dry, all I can do is keep breathing. Am I really ready to face this stuff? I’m just trying to tell a few stories. It’s just a simple book, why do I have to go through all this? But the dragon won’t let up. (She is me, after all, and I am nothing if not persistent.)
I realize that if I cannot allow myself to be seen by other humans, it is an indication that I’m not yet willing to be fully seen by my Self. Apparently, I am still trying to hide, still carrying guilt and remorse somewhere deep within. I thought I’d let it go, but my desire for “privacy” is really just my cloak of shame. If all is my own energy anyway, who is there to see me but my Self?
Drawing a deep breath, I open for a deeper look – a deeper feel – into this white-hot heat. My face is literally red and burning, my hands are trembling. It’s not done. I feel the volcano deep within charging up for another belch. Can I handle it? What more could there possibly be? And then it comes, the title of my book: Stories from My Last Lifetime.
My LAST lifetime? Really?? By God and all that’s holy, what right do I have to quit and walk away? Patience, strength, persistence, righteousness, suffering – all of that and more I can offer in spades. But abandoning humanity to fend for themselves before the clean-up is done, before I’ve finally fixed things? It goes against everything within me, everything I’ve done, every reason for every lifetime I’ve ever lived since then. How can I just give up and leave? And how dare I announce that to the world?
Well… this is enlightening.
Hot tears fall at last, breath coming in ragged gasps, body weary to the bone, throat constricted in grief, heart crushed beneath the weight of eons. My precious human self has borne a debt so huge, a responsibility so immense that it could not possibly ever be fulfilled. And yet she tried. She worked so hard, gave so much, returned again and yet again, only to find repayment utterly impossible. Guilt compounded upon guilt, shame upon shame, until she started to believe the fault was hers alone.
When a debt cannot be paid, the only possibility that remains is forgiveness. Will she receive it? Can she allow the weight to be lifted even though she hasn’t done enough? Will she let it go, even when undeserving of such freedom?
And I thought publishing a book would be a simple process.
The day – and my sanity – was spent. The clever deadline was missed. There was nothing to be done but sink into a comforting bath and go to sleep, after handing it all over to my soul for whatever could be done. The next morning, I decided to contact customer service again. This time the call did not go into oblivion and the very helpful person on the other end offered an incredibly simple solution. By day’s end the process was complete, and the next morning the page was live, the book was for sale, and the happy news could finally be shared.
As for my human self? All that guilt and shame that she’s been trying to resolve for eons, well, the absence of such an ancient, close companion feels a little strange, but she’s starting to get used to it. She walks with a little more dignity and breaths a little more free. And, though still a little bruised from the dragon’s fierce compassion, she wonders what wonders still lie beneath.
Being truly seen by Self means it’s finally safe to be seen by all.
Realizing that a debt can never be repaid means the only option is forgiveness.
Stories from My Last Lifetime is available on Amazon HERE.