Saturday, January 21, 2012
not to live with a reptilian heart
We all know the differences between mammals and reptiles. One of the main ones is that we are warm-blooded while snakes and lizards are cold-blooded. While their blood temperature fluctuates with the weather, ours stays at a pretty stable 36 or 37 degrees celsius. The benefit for us is that we don't have to tuck ourselves away during icy snaps because we're too sluggish to move and don't want to freeze. Hooray for that.
Now, I wish my moods would function in a similar way to my blood. It occurred to me what the problem is. I tend to have what you might call a 'cold-blooded heart.' It makes my spirits soar or plummet according to what's going on around me.
In November when I flew up to Brisbane for the Writer's Fair and then arrived home to celebrate my daughter's thirteenth birthday, the mercury in my thermometer would have been shooting over the top. But today, somebody wrote a pretty disparaging 2-star review of one of my book-babies, Best Forgotten on Amazon. I could almost feel my spirit draining out of me as I read it.
Yeah, I know the things we're supposed to tell ourselves. If you want to be a writer, you have to be prepared to deal with a bit of bad press. Other people have different taste to you. Remember everyone who enjoyed it. I still felt like curling up in a corner somewhere for a good cry. I didn't really learn much from this reviewer because I thought her criticism was the picky sort rather than constructive. I even disagreed with a lot of what she said. Of course I'll get over this and keep on going with my new book, but I can't help stinging at the moment. Yes, I know it's a normal reaction. That mercury will soon begin to swell again.
Once again, I remember that Jesus wasn't moved from his state of peace by people's affirmation or rejection. When he was treated with hostility by the people who knew him from his boyhood in Capernaum, he simply moved on. I want to react with the same refreshing equilibrium and simply take things as they came.
Of course, Jesus deeply understood the principles of nature, which we were designed to live in. There are always ebbs and flows, summer and winter, seed time and harvest. On New Year's Eve, we took Emma and Blake, our two youngest children, to Port Elliot's Horseshoe Bay for a swim in the sea. We were buffetted around by its famous surf, enjoying body surfing in the waves and getting sand burn from being dumped into the shallows. I'm certain daily life has the same peaks and troughs of the ocean waves.
One reviewer wrote that, in her opinion, Best Forgotten was the most refreshing, unpredictable and engaging story she's read for a long time. I was high on a wave that day. This recent person thinks it's like a skid mark on the underpants of life (She didn't really use those words. I just borrowed them from Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird.) So right now I'm being scraped through the weed at the bottom of the sea, but I'll be swept up again. It's a law of nature.
I'm reminding myself that I really do have a human heart and spirit to match. I can choose to be calm and peaceful.