Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 59: The Good Stuff

"Just think about the good stuff.  That's what's important."  

These were my boyfriend's words to me as I was anxiously anticipating the unpleasant task of seeing my ex in person for the first time in a year to sign some papers today.  "Just focus on the good stuff - the fantastic birthday party you just had, the fact that you have a loving relationship, all the voice students you're getting, how well your writing is going,  the amazing concert you're going to tonight..."  And of course, he was right.  There is so much good stuff, why let a little weirdness/unpleasantness mar that?  So I focused on the good stuff, and I survived just fine.

This reminds me of something my playwriting teacher said in class last night, that really resonated with me: "Pay attention to what you like, not what you don't like, because that is where the energy is."   On a first draft, there will be so much material that will be tossed out, it is pointless to worry overmuch about the stuff that you don't like or isn't working, because it will just fall away as you rewrite.  Focus on what people like, what they respond to, because that's the stuff that tells you "more of this, please."  It tells you the direction you want to go.

This further reminds me of the visualization my therapist had me do, where I was unpacking old happy memories I had stored away, as a way of saying more of this, please.   I had denied myself many of my happy memories in the aftermath of my divorce.  It's so much easier to focus on the bad stuff.  It's probably even an important part of the healing process, to be able to move on.  But there comes a time when I have to ask myself, if I'm focusing on the bad, am I asking for more of that?

Focusing on the bad stuff can keep us from moving toward the good stuff.  Sometimes it's useful to have something to push against, something to move away from, to be able to say I know I don't want that.  But unless you can then follow it up with but I do want this, you have nothing to move towards.

I don't want to move forwards by backing away from things.  The direction I go in might not end up being the direction I'll stick with, but at least if I'm facing front - moving towards more of this, please - I'll surely get further or at least be able to enjoy the view along the way.  To quote a line from the phenomenal-beyond-words Sondheim birthday concert I went to tonight: "The choice may have been mistaken, but choosing was not."  I have chosen something to move towards - writing - and am trying not to spend too much time looking back.

Focus on the good stuff.  That's where the energy is.
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