There’s this new thing called “mindfulness” out there in the self-help arena of writers and otherwise self-proclaimed pontificate-ors of helpful hints for living a tranquil life. I understand (believe me, I do) that it’s difficult to live life in peace these days. All the anti-social media, the increasing numbers of people weaving in and out of traffic on the freeways of death, and the implicit expectations of the immediately surrounding culture to meet or exceed current standards around appearance, possessions, beliefs, and various degrees of “coolness.” Do kids still use the word “cool?” It’s hard to believe that the seventies happened forty years ago, eh? Seems like yesterday I was wearing satin bell-bottoms and platforms with a lovely velvet jacket, fake id in the front pocket.
Oh yes. Mindfulness. I think mindfulness lends itself to the experience of epiphany (I don’t think that’s grammatically correct…will look it up). Lack of mindfulness can lead to overwhelmingly murky and chaotic thought, often triggering impulsive behaviors aimed at regaining control, like perseverating about whether an innocuous sentence is grammatically correct and then wasting several hours looking for the right reference book containing the perfect answer to an irrelevant question. These are the things I do.
Here’s another example. Mindfulness is against perfectionism. They fight. Perfectionism wants to think she already knows the answer and doesn’t need to pay attention to outside sources that may contradict what she thinks she already knows. Mindfulness demands openness to new information, i.e., epiphanic experiences.
See what I mean?
So anyway, I’ve been experimenting with paid promotion services for my books in an effort to grow my reader mailing list. Mailing lists are important to an indie author. Since we don’t have traditional publishing houses serving as the bridge between our readers and us, we need some way of reaching out and building relationships. It makes sense.
As an introvert, it completely freaks me out.
Mindfulness would ask, “What are you so afraid of?”
And I would say, “What makes you think I’m afraid?”
And she would say, “Well, you’re all anxious and worried over how successful your ad has been. What’s up with that? Isn’t that what you want?”
And in response, I would experience an epiphany of small but substantial importance.
Instead of being mindful, which means being present in the moment and attentive to the voice of my soul (unofficial Shannon Kuzmich definition), I have spent too much time running mental what-if scenarios. Sometimes running scenarios is fun; it’s part of the creative process. But sometimes running scenarios leads me to fears of having to be somebody else in order to succeed. Maybe I’ve been reading too many amateur books on introversion (which, by the way, all make a lot of really lame assumptions about introverts). It doesn’t matter. The key is to know the difference and stop the fearsome type of thought pattern from gaining a stronghold.
I did that this morning. And now my extraordinary ad results no longer intimidate me. They are what they are. I now have nearly 600 readers on my list. Yippee!
To put it into perspective, my course instructor Mark Dawson has 65,000 readers on his mailing list, and he seems just fine.
He’s an introvert too. A mindful introvert.