It's a practice, not a perfect.
When it comes to chronic health stuff, this most definitely applies. When it comes to being an artist, this most definitely applies.
I'm not thrilled with this piece here. Perfection is a long ways off with this one (with every one, if I'm honest!). But the point of it isn't perfection anyway. The point is to remind myself that it is all practice. I am worthy of taking things one day at a time, one moment at a time, one brush stroke at a time, next breath, next step. I am worthy of continuing to make art. Even when it isn't perfect (it never is!). Even when I don't feel perfectly healthy (chronic means I never am really!).
Rejections come with the territory of being an artist and writer. It had been a good year since I worked up any submissions or was published in anything. So I started pulling submission guideline notifications into my Facebook feed recently. That puts opportunities in my face, and reminds me to take chances!
And in the past couple of weeks, I've gotten two rejections. One a standard form letter that many others probably got, too. The second, a little more personal with reason why the art doesn't fit and suggestion for how to try again with something a little more inline with what they want. So oddly enough, my idea that "the only antidote to rejection is trying again" comes right into play with the "rejector" giving me "try agains" right in the rejection. :) Very funny how we manifest stuff.
AND there was also one acceptance and publication in Issue 50 of Haiku Journal so it wasn't all rejection!
One thing I do notice about rejection is that it touches on something akin to grief in me. I shut down completely after my son died because I felt rejected as a woman and mother -- the Universe itself rejected my submission to be a woman and a mother. It took years to work through that. And so it also seems all these little rejections touch on the nerves of that big one somehow. I use the noticing of that in each experience to be a little raised flag, waving, calling out to me saying, "Hello!?! Over here. Do a little tending, will ya?!" And I remind myself in that space about practice, not perfect AND next breath, next step.
Another aspect of the "sticking to it" for me, is to practice finding gratitude in my disappointment. Here are a few quick gratitudes that generate for me in this practice:
- I'm sooooo grateful that I have access to the internet to find things like guidelines and to email inquiries.
- It's an amazing universe where there is always another publication to try after a rejection.
- And bless the editors of all these places because I know how much time it takes to sift through it all and try to make "objective" decisions in a world where there is no objectivity ever. It's all subjective. We are all subject to our own personalities and experience and such. And that's an interesting facet of being human.
And hey, look, life is up and down for us all. For those of us dealing with chronic health stuff, mental and physical, on top of everyday life, well, it is a challenge. But I keep reminding myself that we can practice habits that support us. And here's one:
If you are looking for a cool, interesting way to experiment with keeping yourself prompted and for getting an energy boost each day, try the free app BoosterBuddy:
I know it can seem a little odd to suggest you buddy up with an animated raccoon, but I swear its daily reminder to take care of my basics and keep taking next breath, next step have been so helpful recently!
Hope you, too, keep taking next breath, next step today, Loves.
From the radical grandma,
[Original version published in Radical Creativity June 24, 2008;
updated May 2017 to give update and new app resource tip]