“When people don't express themselves, they die one piece at a time.”
Laurie Halse Anderson
It’s a creative paralysis that strikes when you think you have nothing to say, or if you do, no backbone to share it.
Most of us know exactly when something we want to say and do is buried inside us. We also know how much is locked away out of fear, doubt, perfectionism, or any of the lies we tell ourselves as we get older—we’re not healthy enough, witty enough, young enough, special enough.
Losing our voice doesn’t just silence us. It zaps our energy, kills enthusiasm, and keeps us from taking chances and saying yes to all the things that feed our soul. It quietly crushes our spirit—the part of us that is aching to be expressed and shared.
And take it from me, just because you have your voice, doesn’t mean you always will.
We need to fight to keep it. If we give up that fight—and we know how easy that can be—eventually, our voices will become buried in some dark corner of the intestines, where they turn into acid reflux for the soul—a burning pain that burps up discontent that can linger for the rest of our lives.
We are alive and breathing oxygen…but there is no buzz!
Oxygen without Buzz? Can You Imagine?
Now, at this point, we have two choices:
- We could keep swallowing our voices down with denial and a pocketful of Tums, in which case, we’ll want to surround ourselves with other people who’ve also lost their voices. It’s the go-to solution for billions of idle dreamers—find mirrors that reflect where you want to stay.
- OR…we could use that burp of discontent as a wake-up call to go looking for who we are and what we were put on Earth to do. We could use that discontent to find our voice and get back our buzz.
And should you choose the latter…talk about good karma.
You just happen to be on a website called Oxygen Buzz—a site dedicated to finding your voice in pursuit of a creative and awakened second half of life.
What are the odds of that?
And, yes, it’s unfortunate that your guide happens to be afraid of his own shadow, let alone his voice and small squirrels (perhaps a reason to open another tab on your browser).
Nevertheless, it’s a new day at Oxygen Buzz. Today, we once again begin our quest to find and share our voices in service to a better life. Of course, this won’t happen by accident. We have to work hard and put action behind our dreams.
In that spirit, you will now find Oxygen Buzz Challenges at the end of each post—reminders to put into practice the truths that will lead to the lives we want to live.
Putting the Creative and Awakened Life into Practice
Oxygen Buzz Challenge #1: Finding Your Voice
Something to Ponder:
- Our voices are not only the words we speak or write or even the art we make; it’s also how we approach the world, or as defined in the Oxygen Buzz Unabridged Dictionary: “What we say in word, thought, deed, and spirit; what makes us come alive; our soul expressed, shouting with delight.”
Actions to Take:
- Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who are also looking to discover their unique voice in the world. Find individuals who will inspire, teach, and keep you accountable. They’re out there. Your job is to find them and invite them into your life. And, while you’re at it, let them find you, too. Go ahead, make the call. Write the email. Reach out today.
- Grab a notebook (keep it with you always) and start paying attention to your curiosities; that which excites, fires up, and inspires you; your interests, obsessions, and nudges. Let your curiosities turn you left, spin you around, and point you in the direction of your voice.
- Don’t compare what you contribute with what others contribute. It keeps you from saying or doing anything that matters. Remind yourself that you don’t need to be as good or better than anyone else, including your younger self. You need to be real and authentic. That’s what people want.
- Treat your day like an experiment and your life like a laboratory. Your lab doesn’t have to be neat and tidy or serious and practical. Let whim and fancy rule your lab and lead you to unexpected discoveries. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “All life is an experiment. The more experiments the better.”
- Stop being so hard on yourself. Let go of all those unworthy tapes that run through your brain and keep you from doing what matters. Stop expecting things from yourself that you’d never expect from others. Allow yourself to be perfectly imperfect. Better yet, lead with your imperfections honestly and vulnerably. You’ll be surprised who follows.
- Let go of being original. As the French writer, André Gide said, “Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since no one was listening, everything must be said again.” Not just by Seth Godin or Brené Brown or J.K. Rowling—by you and me. Remember, no one can say or do something exactly like you can.
- Finally, do something that scares you every day. I’m starting by stealing that cliché. I’ll follow with a personal request that you do the Buzz a favor and sign up below for our mailing list. Better yet, share it with a friend or two. You can’t be seen or heard unless you put yourself out there.
The truth is, all you need for the journey into the second half of life—and to cure your own creative paralysis—is an open mind and the courage to discover what makes your soul come alive and shout with delight.
Find your voice and put a little Buzz back into your life.
Ahhh, all is right with the world again! Welcome back, Oxygen Buzz and Bill Apablasa!!! I’ve been languishing a bit creatively myself, so I’m ready to take up the challenge again, too! It’s so good to read your irreverent and ever-wise prose and to remind myself that this journey is ever-changing. We just have to pick it up again, dust it off and find what’s been happening in the meantime.
Pick it up and dust it off…that’s my philosophy in a nutshell. Thanks Martha!
Welcome back! I too love your wise and well-written words of wisdom. You also very generously spoke to me about a project I was trying to get started with maybe 18 months or so ago—and I am so much further along now. Many thanks to you, Bill. You are a great person with a big heart and important things to say that I know, I’d like to hear! All the best to you
Yes, I remember Amy…and hope that project is up and running. The world needs your voice! Best to you as well!
You have been missed.
It’s good to be back! And thank you!
Thanks Bill. Your article reminded why I have taken up writing a daily poem. I have also been working with a young artist who is one part mentee / one part guide and I persuaded him to do the same.
I have shared your recommended actions and love the inspiration I found there. My only addition would be – you don’t need to take yourself seriously, but treat your work with respect.
Ah, thanks Jeff. And I couldn’t agree more about respecting your work. It helps us show up consistently with awe and gratitude for the process. And just what I needed to hear.
Will you be giving your readers a challenge?
Just the blog post challenges for now, Heather. But more is planned for later. Thanks!
We have communicated before and you introduced me to Tracy Stevens, who lives in my village of Carlsbad. Thanks for that, she’s great.
I’m trying to upgrade my job, from answering phones to concierge at my hotel. Without going into detail, I was offered the job and then the offer was taken back. It seems unethical to me, but except for writing an introduction letter, which I had not included in the application originally and told I did not need, I have not raised my voice in protest. Your message is now making me think I have to find my voice.
I’m coming from a place of fear that I may lose my job by “rocking the boat”.
I’m having a hard time to both rise above the fear and convince them I can do the job.
My two cents…regardless of what you may or may not say to your employer (always a tough call), finding your voice is always a good thing. It allows you to speak (and live) from your truth…and to do it with clarity and confidence. Feel free to reach out privately if you want to discuss further.
Hey Bill! (yet another version of hello?)
I believe that I can speak for so many souls out here in the world who hunger and thirst for your words of wisdom. Wecome back, dear, good man! Little did I know just how much I have needed to hear your inimitable voice speaking to the paralyzing ennui that has brought me to a place of quiet desperation and loss of hope for a return to living my life fully with energy for each day and joy in a life well-lived.
You just pushed me ever so gently over the cliff of complacency…being stuck in between my desire to live as I know I can and an overpowering desire to go back to bed repeatedly throughout the day. Thank you for that gentle push into a place of hope that I am experiencing tonight!
The power in sharing your words and unique insights is so much more than I think you realize, Bill Apablasa. At the least, I am one very grateful person who is touched deeply by what you have to say and I would surely win a bet that many, many others feel the same way. Thank you, thank you for putting me on the path back to the person I wish to be.
Chris, that’s some crazy, powerful words right there for which I am filled with gratitude. Having you along for this journey makes it all the sweeter.
Bill is back! And I’m so excited I can hardly stand it! It is writing like this: “…eventually, our voices will become buried in some dark corner of the intestines, where they turn into acid reflux for the soul—a burning pain that burps up discontent that can linger for the rest of our lives.”…that makes me eager to read what you write next!
And I love how you’ve added the call to action (well, actions, plural). Well done my friend! I’m so excited Oxygen Buzz is back!