“True progress quietly and persistently moves along without notice.” -St. Francis of Assisi
Today, my book Love that Works was accepted by an alternative publishing house/distributor for national distribution! I am overjoyed to be part of the 3% of the material that they accept and promote. I must admit that I had some shadows of doubt that I was continuously having to sweep aside about whether my book was viable. After reading and re-reading the content a hundred times, it is hard to know whether you are really saying anything.
What the book has taught me more than any other single lesson is that progress forward is often always discernible. The important thing is the act of coming back over and over again, despite the doubts or the frustrations. It is the same in our relationships, that sometimes the only progress we make is to keep our promises to keep trying. By all outward signs we feel like we are in a stalemate or the details consume the entire picture. It is easy to give up hope but this is the progress killer.
This slow imperceptible progress is also at the heart of our emotional issues. I can’t even count the number of times that I have worked to let go of my past relationship to my business. Even as I am excited to begin a new phase of work and feel fortunate to have so much talent and resources to replace me, I still find myself clenched, sad, and overcome by what is over. A recall the sage advice of a friend- “There is no how to letting go, even if you are at 99%, the last one is holding you as fast as the rest. You just open your hands.”
All of the meaningful work of our lives shares this one truth in common, that progress is made of the smallest choices each day. It is how you look and what you look for and it is the patience and faith to know that there is movement even when it is not visible. Van Gogh is one of my favorite artists for the bold ways he loved and the broad strokes of color that he allowed in his work. Every day I wake to several of his visions of the world in the fields of Europe. My favorite is a couple sleeping close together in the shade of a haystack in the late afternoon sun. It says “Rest together.”
As prolific as he was, this was how he described his own progress: “It would be difficult for me to express all my thoughts about it. It remains a constant disappointment to me that my drawings are not yet what I want them to be. The difficulties are indeed numerous and great, and cannot be overcome immediately. Making progress is like miners’ work: it doesn’t advance as quickly as one should like, and also as others expect; but faced with such a task, patience and faithfulness are essential. In fact, I don’t think much about the difficulties because if one thought of them too much, one would get dazed or confused.”
The continuous learning of how to think, how to look at what has happened each day with patience and still be able to look forward to the next with faith that small steps are always being made. A truckload of books arrived today too… and soon I will have distribution to send them into the hands of many.