The last couple of weeks have been difficult. Stressful, overwhelming, annoying, tiring. You name the negative adjective and it probably fits. The mule has worn me out. Instead of it working for me, I've been working for it.
When I got home last night, I was intent on resting, reading a good book, and just letting the last several days of non-stop mulish-ness wash away from my mind, my body, my emotions. And that's when it hit me. The mule was winning.
Instead of me taming the mule, using it, crafting it to serve me for the purpose of putting food on the table and maintaining the role of launching me into the dream, the opposite was happening. I was allowing this stubborn mule to wear me out, to get my mind and my heart off of the vision. I was giving it permission to put me in a state of numbness -too exhausted to create in the off hours. Permission to forget how to keep the creative fire burning even when the mule was present and beckoning for my attention.
The reality is that I should be taming the mule. It should be serving me -providing opportunities to glimpse into other worlds, soak up words that are new, unknown, or just plain interesting. To imagine how the others in the world of the mule might make for a new character, a character's name, how the others might have a life event that just screams to be noticed and reminds me that I have a character who needs a life & maybe, just maybe this particular life event would be perfect for him or her. I shouldn't be disgruntled or irritated or tired of the mule, I should be viewing the mule as an artistic tool.
It reminds me of the movie Shawshank Redemption (hands down one of my all time favorite movies). For Andy Dufresne, the prison was the mule. He was tied to it, anchored to it. It owned him. When prison life shifted and turned, he had to shift and turn with it. Until one day, he took control. He taught the mule to work for him. All it took was some creativity, some use of the knowledge he had acquired on the outside (before prison life made a crook out of him), time, determination, and a rock hammer. When he blended these ingredients together, they propelled him to his dream -the hotel on the beach in a faraway land.
I pledge to tame the mule. To remind myself daily (hourly if I must) of the benefits of the mule. To be on the lookout for ways to fan the flame of creativity during my hours with the mule. To take inventory of the skills the mule provides me with that will someday serve me well when the dream becomes a reality. To be grateful...to be inventive...to be as stubborn as the mule in making my dream become a reality.