I Lack . . . and I Can Anyway

About a year ago, I discovered a powerful urge to write. I started to subscribe to writing magazines and I listened to writing podcasts. I bought books on writing and even read a few. I journaled.

But every time my heart thrilled with possibility, I bumped into what I knew I lacked: time, experience, confidence — never mind a topic, a format, an audience.

So, my conversations went something like this: I want to write, but I don’t know what to say. I want to write, but no one will read it. I want to write, but if they read it they won’t like it. I want to write, but I can’t find the time.

In May last year, I picked up this nifty trick: See what happens in my head when I swap the “but” for an “and.” So I did.

I wrote my list again and discovered something amazing. Under my ordinary framing, my two truths — (1) I want to write; (2) I don’t have time — had curled in toward each other and made a world-excluding whole. Complete, true and impenetrable.

beige seashell
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

When I reframed my thought, the two truths became the first cars of a growing train.  I want to write. I don’t have time. AND what am I going to do about that?

My starting principle — I want to write — became the engine. And my worry became the car right behind it. And here’s where the crazy thing happened: Suddenly, I saw that car reaching back to invite a third and fourth car to link up. Those cars? Ideas and experiments about ways to sneak in a bit of writing here and there. In other words, “and” allowed me to honor my worries and carry on anyway.

That’s how I started this blog. I’d say to myself, “I want to write, but it’s very hard to get published.” Well, that’s true. It’s very hard to get published in magazines and journals. And I can publish myself on a blog. And I can learn about blogging. And I can just get started. And I can make mistakes. And I can learn from each one of then. And, and, and.

And, by the way, I became so inspired by you, dear reader (my own personal hand-picked audience), that I started finding lots of time to write. Funny, that.

I encourage you to give it a try. State a desire. Then find the things that are holding you back from pursuing that desire. Use the conjunction “but,” and study its effect on you.

Each statement is true. And, for me, each operates like a thumb and forefinger snipping a bud and flicking it away. The conjunction “but” here excuses me from my desire. I set my desire aside as unrealistic and myself as ill-equipped. I strip myself of power and my desire of integrity.

Then utter the same sentence with the conjunction “and.” How does that affect you?

Each statement, again, is true. And each statement now is a gateway to possibility. That gateway invites me to develop a plan. It restores my power to choose and act. And it restores integrity to my desire.

The fingers don’t flick the bloom away. Instead, they are finding a way to bring it to flower.

My favorite flower, my favorite color. Washington, DC

When I couple my desires with what I lack, I spotlight my impediments and at the same time illuminate the path ahead.

And with that much light shining on the situation, it becomes much harder to say no.

I wrote this piece for Five Minute Friday, a faith-based community blogging site at  https://fiveminutefriday.com/2019/04/11/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-lack/  Scroll all the way down and check out the other short essays on the topic of “Lack.”

9 thoughts on “I Lack . . . and I Can Anyway

  1. Who knew the power in a tiny conjunction! But when you think of it, the couplings between railroad cars are small by comparison to the cars, yet they are indispensable to the task of moving them down the track. I too started my blog as a first step toward becoming a published writer. I wish you well in your endeavors. Keep it up! –Angela, your FMF neighbor #49


    1. Dear Angela — Thank you for embellishing the train metaphor and infusing it with potency. And thank you for connecting me back to your blog. https://theabundantheartblog.com/2019/04/13/fmf-i-nothing-lack/I've admired your work before! I wish you all the best too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re most welcome, Carol.


  2. kelly @kellyblackwell April 14, 2019 — 3:15 am

    Wow. Seriously I can see why you want to write. You are incredibly gifted. It seems a lot happens when you activate “and” into your process. I’ve had many struggles in my desire to write. I definitely feel rewarded when I finally just push the frustrations and worry aside and give into the want.

    Have a beautiful weekend FMF neighbor!


    1. Dear Kelly — Your words took my breath away. Thank you, THANK YOU. Gaining confidence is easier with such kind friends and FNF neighbors cheering me on. Yes, as you say, pushing the worry aside is the first step. I look forward to visiting with you again in the FNF community!


  3. Carolyn Wallace April 14, 2019 — 6:42 pm

    Yes, this is an example of how we can let go of old limitations by simply changing the way we think. Thank you! Much needed wisdom in today’s world.


    1. Thank you, Carolyn. I like the idea of “old” limitations. That framing is freeing too!


  4. I love this, as you thought I might! A friend of mine pointed out to me recently that I was constantly saying “but” when talking about stretching for a big goal – and that was negating all the positive stuff I was saying. I will work on substituting “and.”


    1. Dear Cheryl — Thank you for sharing this story. I, too, have been heeding the number of times I say “but” in my common speech. And I’m working hard to eradicate it! It’s hard, and freeing. We’re lucky to have such good friends to help us see these things!


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