Oh, dear God! The roller coaster rides on, and this girl hangs on for dear life. Okay, not quite. But there was a moment several weeks ago when, sitting stressed at my desk, I came as close to fainting as I ever have. My book took a significant toll on my body. It scared me and rightly so.
How can I keep doing what I am all but certain I am here to do without doing myself in? The answer, I sense, lies in self-compassion. I need to love and honor myself more than I need the admiration that comes from a successful book. Now that I stop to write about it, I realize I’ve done a few small things to move myself in the direction of such self-love and care. Good for me.
In my last post I said “I hadn’t dared look at my book’s Amazon ranking.” That’s the telltale number on authors’ Amazon book pages showing where our book stands in relation to the other nearly nine million books for sale there. I see my reluctance differently now. It’s not so much that I didn’t dare check my book’s ranking. It’s that I made a conscious decision to protect myself from bad news. That’s self compassion, isn’t it? Or am I stretching it? You tell me.
A week or so ago while I was on a call with my book and web designer, Shannon secretly checked and told me my Amazon ranking was in the under-100,000 territory we consider respectable. I once told her to let me know should that ever happen. Well, it had! I was thrilled and so confident I asked Trond to login to our account to see how many books had been sold.
That most telltale of numbers—sales—is another one I’d been protecting myself from for a few months. But now, with my decent Amazon ranking, I couldn’t wait to see. Trond checked and, to my horror, the sales numbers were every bit as discouraging as the Amazon ranking number was encouraging. Go figure! I sat at our kitchen counter and bawled like a baby.
My ego was devastated. But on the spiritual front, which I can lose sight of when I get too caught up in bookwork results, all was not lost. I say I want to devastate that pushy old ego of mine, don’t I? With good reason. For when ego gets battered like it did by those abysmal numbers, the “I” that cares so much about success that it nearly kills me gets to dissolve in a torrent of tears. And I get to practice the surrender and humility that keep me honest and real.
What a blessing to have been forced back down into the heart and soul of me, where numbers don’t count, feelings rule, and I am that I am, no matter what happens to my book! I got to re-member that I am enough just as I am. Having deeply felt the pain of defining myself by the numbers, I really got, at the level of body, mind and spirit, how much I don’t want to do that to myself anymore. I’m too precious to squander (is what my heart kindly reminded me.)
It took a few hours to pick myself up, let the hurt go and go on. Not bad compared to the days it might have taken a few years ago. And before long, with Trond’s insistent and loving encouragement, I made a firmer than ever commitment, to myself and to him, not to look (or ask others to look) at those pesky ranking and sales numbers for a very long time. I dearly wanted to trust that I and the book are enough, damn it!—the ultimate act of self compassion for me.
Then, almost before I knew it, the universe I’d just surrendered to kicked in to support me in my commitment to greater self-love and trust. The support came in the form of comments that began appearing on my last blog post and were exactly the words I needed to hear:
Dagmar: “Just know you are not alone…we are all at the jumping off place, un-tethering ourselves from what feels safe and familiar, learning to let go…and let God. I only feel sane and good when I disconnect from 3D and tune in to the spiritual self-letting go of the need to control or understand anything. Your book is out there, it is, and that is all it needs to be.” (my italics)
Kanta: “Those who need to connect with your book will. Life is funny that way.”
Kimberly: “Yes! The people whom you wrote for will find your book! It is so beautiful, even a “sleeper” awakens those who find it. Keep being sweet to yourself.”
In another small act of self-compassion, I have read and reread those words. Thank God for this blog and for you who show up to support me in it. The book may or may not “sell.” But here at least, I can keep writing to inspire and be inspired. Yes indeed. Please add your voice to the mix!