Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Deciding that we matter

I am deep in a self-conversation about what matters (see http://www.thewritingwheel.blogspot.com/ for my ideas on mattering and creativity), sparked by a book I'm reading on anxiety and artists. The author, Eric Maisel, suggests that making a decision to matter is central to relieving ourselves of anxiety. I've been in a related conversation for a while about what matters to me, in other words, what my priorities are: writing, painting, well-being, friends and family, paid work. Some of my friends also have a service category but I see all these five priorities as forms of service.

But Maisel is taking this further. It's acknowledging and believing and acting from a stance that who we are matters. Anxiety and meaninglessness are good chums and so deciding, declaring that I matter, that what I do matters, each day, each thingis meaningful is rather revolutionary for me and certainly for our culture as we now live in it. In our culture today, most things are seen as pretty meaningless in the grand scheme of the universe, a small kindness is dismissed because it doesn't solve the global issue. Our efforts seem puny on the huge scale of a tsunami or nuclear meltdown and so we shop and eat and watch TV. And all this leads to an underlying anxiety that fuels more distractions.

But if I matter, if writing this blog matters, if doing my dishes matters, if painting or writing a poem or editing a website matters, then my life feels different to me, richer, clearer, more important--to me. And that may just be enough.

1 comment:

sorella said...

Dear Jill,

This is such a critical issue for me, too. For too long I have relied too heavily on others to define what matters to me. The result? A panicky, hollow feeling that *nothing* matters. I'm looking forward to building my own list -- without apology! -- of what matters to *me*. Thank you for leading the way.