Recently, Wynette & I were discussing a difficulty we share in the area of keeping up with our blogs: the fact that, as publishers and people with a dizzying variety of involvements in the tiny little arena of the publishing world, more often than not the thing that most occupies our minds is a thing it would be inappropriate to get into in public. There are days when it feels impossible to say anything in public at all.
Once in a while, fortunately, there are elixirs we can distill from the peat bogs of our lives and share. Here is today’s brew:
Some months back, Sonja watched some film about people swimming the English Channel. This is an activity that makes no sense whatsoever to me, but I suppose that most people would find all the craziness that goes into writing and publishing incomprehensible, when it implies making sacrifices in key areas such as free time, one’s social life, and the leeway in which to pursue really high-yield pyramid schemes. I digress, as usual. My point lies in what Sonja took away from this nameless film.
In watching the film, as I understand it, Sonja was forcibly struck by the fact that the swimmers who crossed the English Channel didn’t make that insane crossing alone: to go it alone was acknowledged to be tantamount to suicide. They were accompanied by support teams, who brought them potable water and (I’m guessing now; I haven’t seen the film in question) let them hang off the boat for a bit of a breather now and then. The point is that the one person who the media et al might notice was just the visible part of a vitally important team. Sonja’s take, upon reflection: “I need a soul team.”
What did she mean? In reflecting on the journey we all make in trying to grow and develop our selves, our craft, our souls, we all need support teams of people who — whether or not they always agree with us — at least understand and support our goals and give us help, water, and maybe the side of a boat to cling to when the going gets tough. Because, let’s face it, it does. In any all-out creative endeavor, whether it’s starting and running one’s own business, writing the novel, achieving enlightenment, or whatever, attempting to go it alone is to plan to fail. This doesn’t mean that the people on our soul teams must lay aside their dreams and goals in favor of ours; just the opposite. It means we must take care of our soul-team-mates as we pursue our various paths, and share our journeys, and support one another when the water is choppy.
I have been in the midst of some rough lessons lately — which, of course, is part of why I’ve been quiet on the blog. But I have been blessed with, and grateful for, the support of my Soul Team, who have let me hang from the side of the boat now and then, helped me consult my (hopefully waterproof) map of the mysterious territory I’m attempting to traverse, and especially brought me the emotional nourishment and support I’ve needed while I’ve done my work.
Mark, Wynette, Sonja, Ron… thanks for the water. 🙂