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March 2012

When Death Happens, Do We Quit?


I buried my Dad two days ago.

This won’t be a memorial post...I’ll do that soon. :o)

Sky fieldBut as I was chatting to a few people on Twitter and Facebook, I realized that I’ve received compassionate, wise advice repeated often:

Be gentle with yourself.

Take it easy.

Don’t overdo it.

Of course, this is especially wonderful advice to someone who normally runs on two speeds: Inertia…and “too much is never enough”. I tend to be “all or nothing” in my approach. 

As a quadruple Scorpio who has witnessed the death of three people, I’m no stranger to the deeper mysteries and scary things of life.

My first reaction leans towards extreme Hermit mode, wanting to cut off ties from “extraneous” people and “frivolous” pursuits. Then, Destroyer mode kicks in, and I want to scrap everything I’m working on and blow up every blog I run. 

But the flip side of the Destroyer is the Creator…arguably the strongest archetype at play in my psyche.

Then, the Sun dawns and I remember to NOT to create means to stagnate. Stagnation equals “not growing”. 

When you’re not growing, you die. That is, die before you’re dead.

My Dad wouldn’t be honored if I stagnate; it would be a form of soul-death.

Uprooting the tender shoots of planted ideas wouldn’t serve the living. Turning away from my gifts that vine their way through my writings wouldn’t serve me, either.

Yes, it’s conceivable that I, or anyone else, could “bury” themselves in work or other pursuits to “avoid feeling”. 

I know what that feels like. What it looks like.

I’m grateful for well-meaning friends and colleagues reminding me to be easy on myself.

And they’re right.

Sky field 2 smallYet, I’m discovering that “easy on myself” doesn’t mean quitting writing. 

Rather, it means to pay attention to what my soul wants (needs?) to communicate via words—even if only to myself in a private journal. To refuse to play the popularity game that so many writers get caught up in, especially with the admonition to “build your platform!” or “never go dark!” in social media efforts.

I remember the poets, essayists, and storytellers of old who communicated their soul without the help of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ or Klout. 

These ones told stories and captured the human condition for others to ponder because they were compelled to, not necessarily because they were ABLE to.

My Dad’s death reminded me of this important distinction: If I’m not writing or communicating from a deeply authentic place, then I’m just doing it because I can. And, even if I write well—and others agree—that doesn’t mean it’s fulfilling or meaningful.

I think we extroverts may get caught up in the “how am I driving?” social media and traffic metrics more than introverts, because we usually look outward for feedback—a sounding board to echo back our effectiveness and to help us refine what we feel, think and value. 

None of us know if we’ll be here 24 hours from now. Life is too short to do what deadens you.

Do what you love.

-- Janet Boyer, Amazon Hall of Fame/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time Tarot,Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013). Featured in Tales of the Revolution: True Stories of People Who Are Poking the Box and Making a Difference (A Domino Project eBook edited by Seth Godin