I have the pleasure of a guest post...
We are never handed a “Growth Manual” when we enter this life. We often learn by observation and tend to integrate things from there—or try to. Often, we’re left spending a good portion of our adult lives trying to decipher what the hell happened to us before we arrived at this curious new place of WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING TO ME?
If we had had been provided a Growth Manual, we could possibly sit more comfortably knowing—even in the midst of great uncertainty—that when it comes to growth—real growth and personal development—comfort rarely factors into the mix. That comes later. And then … there is more lessons to learn; more opportunities for growth.
I bring all this up at the moment because, well, it all came up when I was proposed a recent question: “What scares you the most or makes you the happiest about writing?”
What an opportunity to dive deep with that one.
What scares me the most about writing is that the notion that the “high” that typically comes from it will not nor will ever be available—ever again. At all. Nothing. Zip.
There have been so many moments during my writing time when that connection to something larger than the Me I think I know is so evident that that Me seems to take a backseat to, well, Me. It becomes the curious observer as to what is taking place—which is the act of creation. Many creatives note that they feel as if they are a kind of “vessel” from which creativity can flow through. I relate to that very much and once sparked by an idea, off and creating—and writing—I go. This does not only apply to writing however—many people experience this when they are living in their Flow. (Isn’t that why we’re often reminded to “go with the flow?”)
In any case, with writing, I notice there is sometimes a fear of never arriving at that moment of ‘ah-ha” ever again—as if it was just this one-time occurrence.
One trip to the Smorgasbord line. “That was all you get. No more!”
That is all the Universe has to offer. Move along now.
I am so often proven wrong.
Which brings me to what makes me most happiest—that high that typically accompanies that free fall into the creative portals where there is no time / space.
In terms of my latest book, Grace Revealed: a memoir … I believe that the most frightening thing about moving through that was the intense emotion that came with creating it. It was unlike any other writing and creative journey I ever experienced. Had it been fiction, I still may have been effected by the family’s story arc—think Spielberg film—however the fact that I was exploring and uncovering my Polish family’s nearly forgotten odyssey—and the odyssey of nearly one million Polish people, in fact—during Stalin’s mass deportations of Polish people during the early 1940s, sent me deeply into the past and into a tale of survival that was both mesmerizing and haunting. Additionally, there was this great push from within to bring justice to the story of the Polish people who were sent to the Gulags, and who later became refugees traveling throughout Southern Russia, Uzbekistan, Tehran and later, Karachi, India, before finding refuge in Eastern Africa, and other portals around the world during that time.
With today’s feverish growth of interest in ancestry and genealogy, I have found at recent book events that readers are more deeply interested in their heritage than ever before. The desire to know where they came from; what happened before them … is undeniably strong. Often fierce. Have you noticed it, too?
I have told people to “go there; explore, ask questions” from their family members; that they may learn so much more about them—and themselves—than they ever imagined.
Which brings us full circle. Growth. It makes sense that we are often never told that when it comes to real growth, real transformation, that it is often not comfortable. Who would sign up for such a thing? And yet, at some point during our lives, we are given major opportunities—as I had been given to step deeply into my family’s past—to shed the armor we are wearing, forget what we think we know about ourselves and free fall into a kind of abyss, trusting that on the other side, we’ll find our footing again on softer pastures, where the scenery looks entirely different.
by Greg Archer
GREG ARCHER is an author, cultural moderator, award-winning journalist, television host and motivational speaker. His latest book, Grace Revealed: a memoir, goes from glitz to the Gulags as the popular entertainment reporter takes a step back from Hollywood to explore his Polish family’s mesmerizing tale surviving Joseph Stalin’s mass deportation of Poles during the 1940s. What he uncovers along the way fuels his mission to not only expose the nearly forgotten odyssey that befell nearly 2 million Poles 75 years ago, but to also expose the ripple effects that remain today.
“Powerful, touching and heartfelt.”—The Huffington Post
How had my family served me by example?
As I slipped into the front seat of my very low-resting Mazda Miata, cursing the fact that despite nearly a decade of Bikram Yoga, middle age was beginning to have its way with my Polish hips, I thanked the Universe for the interview. And, seeing that I had arrived at such a dramatic turning point—bored; how could you be bored?—I naturally asked for a sign on what I needed to do.
The broken picture frames flashed before my eyes.
I had been given a sign months ago. How many more signs did I need to receive? The message was clear: “Look at your family; look at their past.”
What? Did I want a much more flashy sign? Something like, “Hey, you’re going to be on the receiving end of buckets of cash if you turn right instead of left at the next traffic light?
Yes. Yes I did want that sign.
Still, when The Powers That Be instruct you to do something, you must do it. I had avoided doing what I was told and now I was weary, tired, listless and unhappy.
I turned the key in the ignition and sighed in frustration.
How the hell did I get here?
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Author, Journalist, Cultural Moderator, More …
GREG ARCHER’s work covering agents of change, history, travel and the entertainment industry have appeared in The Huffington Post, Oprah Magazine, San Francisco Examiner, The Advocate, Bust, Palm Springs Life, VIA Magazine, Jetset Extra and on variety of cable television outlets. A four-time recipient of the Best Writer Award in a popular San Francisco Bay Area Readers' Poll, he shines the light on change agents near and far, and other under-reported issues in society. His splits his time between his hometown of Chicago, and Palm Springs.
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