A few days ago as I stumbled around the kitchen trying to put together my morning pot of coffee I had a thought:

“People who have achieved greatness must do something different.”

I remember having this thought—this epiphany—while filling the carafe with water. I was kind of in the dumps. My house was a mess. Nano was/is coming up and I’m un-motivated and un-inspired. Weight-loss efforts have plateaued. My efforts to keep up with my 2011 maxims of ‘be a producer, not just a consumer’ and ‘waste not, want not’  have seemed to be dwindling, dwindling, dwindling.

So, at the same time I’m feeling this miasma of un-awesomeness I remembered simultaneously Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean Diet book (random) and Stephen King’s On Writing (not random, I think about this book all the time). Ms. Reno says that you have to prepare and plan for excellence and results. Stephen King basically says to stop being a bullshitter and write. If you don’t write, you’re not a writer.

And then, staring into my coffee carafe, I thought: “People who have achieved greatness must do something different.”

Different than what I was doing at the moment: yawning through my morning coffee, shuffling through my chores, using any spare time to entertain myself with the plethora of options around me. Nothing requiring real work. Nothing requiring any doing, really, no activation of the mind, heart, spirit. I work out, but even that has become so rote that I almost don’t feel like it counts.

That thought has stayed with me the past few days. My mind keeps returning to it. I don’t want to be a ‘great’ person. But I do want to get things done in this life. I want to achieve goals. Goals as simple as: have a house people feel welcome in (clean, warm, energetically uplifting), keep a productive garden, exercise. Goals as complicated as: write a novel at least once a year, be a ‘good’ person/mom/wife/daughter, walk an honest path.

The most productive part of this past year I had been when I put myself on Internet lockdown. No message boards or forums. No TV shows. And like quitting coffee, the first few days resulted in general bitchiness and listlessness. What am I going to do?

Well, I ended up: reading, writing, gardening, cleaning, exercising, crafting, sewing, journaling, praying, investigating the Tarot. I got a lot done! And slowly, I didn’t miss being entertained all the time. I liked accomplishing things. It was fun. My mind was clear. I went to bed each day feeling tired and satisfied.

But slowly, I started to become kind of lonely. So back came the message boards. Then back came the Netflix. Then…well, then, it wasn’t long before the words dried up. And reading was saved for bedtime.

I’m not condemning entertainment, not at all. I love it. I’m passionate about stories of all form, whether it’s movies, TV or books. But for me to do things, for me to be great in my life, I need to start doing things different.

Ugh, I’ll say it. Fuck if I want to. There’s something so easy about being entertained, passing each day without thinking too much. Without being disappointed that I couldn’t finish a sewing project, without being frustrated that some plot device is working out. It’s easy to be entertained.

But being entertained does not equal being alive and living life.

People who achieve greatness–whatever their field–must do something different. They must actually do what their desire is. Not think about. Not talk about. Not wish for it.

Do it.

And so I must make that choice.



2 comments on “Greatness

  1. sweetcomice says:

    I think about this all of the time……how my daily life is reflecting my passions….or not.
    I teach kids. it is a powerful thing to know that I could turn them on to the ideas of finding
    what one is passionate about, delving deep, understanding process, not just getting from a to b, but actually understanding the air water earth fire concept of process, knowing where one is in the cycle, knowing how to break it down into realistic goals, how to gather energy.
    I am also surrounded by people who are consciously acting on their passions, painters, writers, and other teachers. This is good stuff. yet, I need a certain amount of solitary-ness too. but too much time alone makes for a kind of denial/fog that is not good for me. It is confusing is it not, how we like our solitary practice, guard against people messing with our understanding of our practice, still looking for a mentor maybe…….I write and send stuff out once in a while but being rejected sets me back energetically. I used to join in certain spiritual practices but stopped a few years ago when the patriarchal bs got too ugly. now, i move alone, or with a few friends who I believe have similar understandings. what is “play” for some is rich with meaning and action for me. I love the possibility that I could be teaching this “stuff” to my kids without any identifiable philosophical/religious framework.
    thanks for your post. It is all in the details I think……and coming from the center, moving out.
    And the center is gold.

  2. I love the “People who have achieved greatness must do something different.” I think I have always put too much emphasis on the “different” part – when really you are so right. The emphasis needs to be on the “do” part. 🙂

    I’m in the local RWA chapter – we usually meet on the second Tuesday of the month, but because of the holidays our next regular meeting won’t be until January. I have had so much writing inspiration and gained so much knowledge about publishing as an industry from that group. If you drop me an email I’d be happy to tell you more about it if you’re looking for writer types to get you doing in the writing direction!

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