Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Clearing the Space

"The first step in starting an enterprise is to clear the space for it, or till the ground. This clearing process is a must...We like to think just forging ahead is going to be enough to start, but when you run into gnarled old roots where your new plants need to grow, you've got problems."---Barrie Donick, Simple Spells for Success, via The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women by Gail McMeekin

In the interests of creating space in my life for new things, I'm retiring from Amazon reviewing. I've been doing it for 12 years and am currently #15 out of over 5 million Amazon reviewers. This necessitates a lot of maintenance involving reading lots and lots of books (sheer fun) but also taking notes on them as I read them and writing an average of 25-40 reviews or more each month. More when I am wanting to advance in rank. I also write reviews for other items, especially teas and household items. Some strategy is involved as well, such as reviewing new items early and gaining spotlight positioning to get more helpful votes.

With the new health and energy I have, I want to channel my efforts into things that lead me in other directions, into something that will provide actual income for me. I have had the great satisfaction of helping others with their Amazon purchases for all of these years and received many free products and books, including my Flip Mino video camera. However, I am ready for a change. I'm sure I'll occasionally review an item I am very excited about, but I don't want the self-imposed responsibility of "having" to do any particular item or book or to produce a certain volume.

I have one more obligatory review for an advance copy of a book I've received, which I hope to finish this week, and then I'll be done.

As little of a thing as this it is---this ranking---it will be very hard for me to let go and leave it alone and watch my ranking fall. I've been building it for so long. It is, embarrassingly, a part of my identity. Thus I consider the letting go a spiritual practice as well, because the ranking is simply a construct based upon a game that I've been playing. And unless I want to keep playing (which I don't) it is time to move on. And time to be who I am without externally judged rankings, especially relatively meaningless ones. Isn't it funny that it is so hard?

It is funny how we cling to such things sometimes. How scary it is to just be who we are.

I am excited to give this up and to look ahead to what the future may hold. I'm excited to look at some of my real dreams and other more difficult challenges---things like earning a living and finishing my abandoned NaNoWriMo 2007 book---and more. Things that I cannot even imagine right now.

I hope I'm ready to JUMP!


Kim Mailhot said...

Letting go of this thing that brings you recognition is a brave thing, Olivia ! What is most remarkable to me is that you have decided to really listen to what your spirit wants to you do and clear the decks for new challenges. This isnpite of how it looks on the outside - like this type of recognition is a positive thing that you wouldn't want to give up. It is so true that many of us have a tendancy to hold on to patterns way longer than we need too.
Here's to tilling the soil !

ox ox

Olivia said...

Thank you, Kim. Yes, yes, yes. I appreciate the acknowledgment and encouragement. You know it's such a small thing, but as a stay-at-home housewife it's easy to reach out for whatever to give myself identity instead of creating it from the inside out, and just "being" without that external validation. I'm a veteran of academic grades as well--being defined by my GPA.

The time for those things are past!

Thanks again, Kim,

Wishing you a wonderful day,


Kikipotamus said...

Oh, wow, Olivia. I can sort of feel that funny feeling in my belly too, thinking of watching your rating drop, drop. What a jump! It really is hard, isn't it? We invest so deeply in those constructs you talk about. We build them up and think they are the real deal, that it is who we are. But it ain't so! :) I am just getting the first tiny taste of the freedom of letting go of some of those constructs.

Leah said...

I just love that you crossed out "I hope" before "I'm ready to jump!" Yay! I'm cheering you on!!

Olivia said...

Yes, Kelly, it is so freeing, and the more that time goes by with it the better I feel...even though it's hard...it's hard good. Love, O

Olivia said...

Thanks, Leah. Thanks for your support! Love, O

Elena Rego said...

"simply a construct based upon a game that I've been playing"

This hit me so potently. Such a clear realization...

I am so reverberating with what this phrase has done in my body that I have no words...

mmm... amazing.

Olivia said...

Elena, I'm glad that this touched you in such a deep way. It sort of hit me in a similar way as I wrote it. I have to keep reminding myself of it as my letting go of this is a process. But it is not a real thing---this ranking---I have made it thus, and given it all of the meaning it has even beyond what Amazon has done. Much of what we do is a game, I think.

Namaste, O