Friday, May 21, 2010

Lesson by Lesson and Bird by Bird

I have recently embarked on process of obtaining more coaching cred.  More to the point, getting more certification as a creativity coach.  And really to be honest, to challenge myself and expand my knowledge of the creative process and hopefully help others do the same. In choosing the program to work in, my main thing was that it had to have some sort of challenge element to it.  Something I felt would stretch me and would really be difficult for me to attempt to trick myself and others into, looking like I was doing the work but not really doing the work.  That mind set is a pretty safe place for me to go to sometimes.  Then I wonder why I'm not achieving as much and feeling like I got gyped.  I'm currently enrolled and started doing the course work for this creativity coaching certification.  I'm starting with reading requirement.  Choose 5 book from a list of 20 classics on creativity.  This is cake. I thought.  I'll do this in no time.  Then I got the study guides and essay questions.  Then I got stuck.  I feel like by the time I finishing reading these five books, and write the essays I will have completed a master thesis.  Talk about challenge.  Talk about wanting to run to my safe place.  Talk about wanting to figure out how to get out of doing all this work and still get the cred I want.  Talk about feeling overwhelmed.  Then the first book in my five arrived on my door step.  Bird by Bird-Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott.  I knew nothing about this book or the writer.  I chose the title because it sounded like fun and I call Mickeygirl, Bird sometimes. It was written about 15 years ago and is considered a classic.  How did I miss this one?  I cracked open the book and started to read.  Ms. Lamott is not only funny, honest and insightful, she speaks her truth.  I felt like I found a kinder spirit.   She talks about writing, but really what she talks about can be applied to any creative project and most importantly to life. Ms. Lamott doesn't mess around here.
So, far the main theme is speaking (or writing) the truth.  The truth.  Your truth.
She also talks a great deal about being in the moment and taking things bird by bird (one thing at a time).  She resonates with me so much because I have always felt like the creative process is well within our grasp.  We just have to wake up and not make such a big deal about getting to the creating portion of the program.  Creating isn't just for the special few.  It's for everyone.  And what a huge shame if we stop ourselves from the joy and heartbreak, contribution and all the life and living found in this process, all because we think that creating is the road to fame and fortune.  Not always and not in the traditional sense. So, it's sort like saying. "Well, if I can't be rich and famous by being creative, then I'm not going to play."  What a sad waste and really cheating yourself and the world.
In talking with a friend about this reading requirement, I felt overwhelmed. I was starting to feel scared about what I had to say on the essays.  What if I don't finish the books? (I'm also famous for buying books with good intentions, starting them and then ditching them after page 40.)  Yet I was excited about the discovery of this wonderful book.  She started asking my questions about the book and the reading requirement.  It dawned on me some of the lessons from the book were at play here.  For the essays, I needed to tell my truth about what I was learning. As for getting reading complete on all five books, it was to stay with my intuition on which order to read them, thus keeping it interesting and being able to relate to what lessons in my life I needed at the time of reading the book .  For the entire requirement, it was taking it bird by bird or in this case one book at a time, one essay question at a time.  Overall, stepping back from this reading requirement and going after this additional certification, would be like the folks who are afraid to approach the exploration of their creative process and bringing it into their world.  It would make it impossible for me to coach people, if I stepped back now.  It would be like saying to them. "I'm right here. You go ahead and face that challenge no matter what. Maybe that will work for you.  I just don't do it in my own life."  It would feel like a scam.  And not truthful.  Thank you, Anne Lamott.  Thank you universe for sending me this book at this time. Thank you, Suzi for helping me articulate what was going on with me here.  It's all just what I needed.  It will be interesting to see what the other books bring to my life.  I'll take it lesson by lesson.  Bird by bird.


  1. Anne Lamott is my I've-never-met-you-but-I'm-gonna-call-you-my-mentor-okay? Mentor. He writings have gotten me through writer's blocks, rough patches with my kids, sorrowful and joyful times. I'm glad you found her.


  2. Well said, or shall I say written! I whole-heartedly agree. This author is spot on. I love her writing style. I can actually hear her speak. She speaks with such knowledge and wisdom when her personality pokes in with a quip it just adds a new dimension to the writing.

    Thank you, DeeDee, for recommending it to me and expect to receive a short story about my school lunch soon.

  3. @CAS...I can so see you being an Anne Lamott fan.
    @ Tourist...See? Can I say...I told you Anne Lamott rocks. It just gets better. Can't wait to read about school lunches. :)