Chapter Two: Resilience.

“It takes six million grains of pollen to seed one peony, and salmon need a lifetime of swimming to find their way home, so we mustn’t be alarmed or discouraged when it takes us years to find love or years to understand our calling in life. Everything in nature is given some form of resilience by which it can rehearse finding its way, so that, when it does, it is practiced and ready to seize the moment.”

– Mark Nepo

One year ago today I typed my very first blog post for Courage 2 Create.

Once my post was published, I read it out loud to my sister and a friend of mine. (Both of them had been in the room with me as I was writing it.) It felt awkward, but it also felt right to say for the first time what I actually felt, what I actually believed, and what I actually wanted. What I wrote in that very first blog post came from deep inside me–unfiltered and unadulterated. My heart sang and I wrote down every musical note that it hit, and I didn’t leave out a single melody.

Who knew that just being me would bring so much wonder and joy into my life?

I shut my laptop that day and I joked to my sister that no one was every going to read this blog.

I’m happy to say that today, one year later, I was very wrong.

I’m not going to talk about what led me to that first post, and I already discussed in detail the challenges I was facing at the time I started this blog elsewhere, so I’m not going to repeat all that here. I’m also not going to talk about what happened during the first year of (Courage 2 Create), because you already know what happened. You have been witnessing it yourself, because I’ve shared with you every detail of the journey along the way. I’ve shared with you every up, and every down, and everything in between. You’ve seen me look ugly, and you’ve seen me look pretty. You’ve seen me nearly give up and you’ve seen me summon up some mysterious strength that helped me keep going, when everything seemed impossible. You’ve seen me grow, you’ve seen me change, and you’ve seen me transform and become someone who is so much more himself than he ever was before.

Many of you, in this past year, have grown with me. What I found to help me solve my problems, has helped you solve your problems. The wisdom I gained from all the challenges that I faced, was wisdom you were looking for as well. The clarity I was seeking, was also the clarity you were seeking. Through your comments and our discussions with each other, we were able to join fingers and point out the problem–whether it was a problem of the heart, the mind, the soul, the body, or the community. Together, with me, you looked for healing, you looked for peace, you looked for skill, and you looked for growth. Together, with me, you discovered hope, you discovered strength, and you discovered compassion for yourself that you didn’t know you had.

Together, with me, you learned how to believe in yourself, you learned how to trust yourself, and you learned to give yourself the chance you always wanted someone else to give you. Together, with me, you learned to shine, not because you wanted to please or impress others, but because shining was just in your very nature. Together, with me, you learned to laugh, to love, to smile, and to sit still, while everyone else clamored around in chaos.

Most importantly, we both discovered that taking a risk is required in return for every moment of joy, happiness and fulfillment. We must be willing to take a risk day-in and day-out in order to truly manifest what we really want to happen in our lives and in our work. No one else can take that risk for us. We must be willing to do what we always felt, deep inside, we needed to do. We must also do what is sometimes the hardest thing to do: lay the groundwork–the foundation–for what we want our life to be like and for what we want our life’s work to become.

The first draft of a novel is just like that: it is laying down the foundation of something you hope will be wonderful.

Once the initial idea is set on the page, once the purpose of the story is laid out, once the risk to create is taken, what lies next is the execution of that idea.

When a dancer choreographs a piece he will perform, he has accomplished a difficult and important task. But now that the basic choreography is in place, the dancer must work to sharpen every angle, every twirl, every curve of the thigh, every dip, ever bend, every leap, and every fall.

At this point of the journey, I feel like I’ve laid the groundwork and have set down what the story needs to be. I’ve taken the courage to pin-point the dream, to clarify what I wanted, to start the process, and now comes the need to summon up a different kind of courage: the courage to execute my dream, to achieve what I want, and to move this process forward.

As I move into the second year of the C2C, I realize that although things have gotten easier, they haven’t gotten easy. I may have become more comfortable taking risks, but I still am not sure whether I am resilient enough to handle all the new challenges that risk has awarded me with. Writing the first draft of a book is challenging, but keeping it up is going to be just as challenging. I feel I am entering a territory were fewer and fewer people have journeyed into, and I’m starting to feel more like one of the last three victims of a murder mystery. (If I don’t figure out that it’s Mr. Green in The Conservatory with the candlestick sooner than the other two guys–then I’m done for.)

But this is all good news for you, because it means that there’s still a whole lot I have to learn, and a whole lot more that I’ll be able to teach you.

If you’ve been with me from the beginning, I want to thank you so much, from the very bottom of my heart, for hanging around with me this long.

Now, to all my old readers, and to all my new ones:

Welcome to Chapter Two.

If you loved Chapter One–you ain’t seen nothing yet.

much “Happy One Year Anniversary Courage 2 Create!”


What was your favorite moment, discussion, or lesson during the first year of Courage 2 Create? Please share with all of us in the comments below.

>>> Novel Update: I’ve picked up my completed first draft and I started reading it and making general notes. I won’t be tracking my progress by chapter anymore, as I will be all over the place making more general revisions. The first thing that I will be focused on across the board will be ironing out the plot. Wish me luck!

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37 comments on “Chapter Two: Resilience.

  1. Jacqui says:

    I’ve had a similar experience with blogging. I find the blogs I like best are those that tell the truth. Now that I’ve opened up on my blog, I don’t know why it’s so difficult to do in the Real World. Do I read judgmental body language from those around me? Is it something in the eyes as they watch me that makes me want to shut up? Dunno, but whatever, it doesn’t happen in a blog.

    Your journey has been fun. Don’t dismiss your wonderful background image as why we-all visit your blog. The ocean, timeless rocks, picking your way through difficult terrain to reach your goal. I love it.

    • Ollin says:

      Great point. That’s why I think blogging is so transformative, it let’s us show our real selves to each other, and I think it makes it easier for us to be our real selves in real life.

      I wondered if people got that metaphor in my image! Thanks! A blogger actually just asked for that image to use in a guest post I wrote for her. Didn’t know it was so powerful!


  2. Linda says:

    Yay! Congrats on your one-year anniversary, brother! You are AWESOME. And yay, I took that picture. 😉

  3. Christina says:

    I love your blog posts because you don’t shy away from the tough parts. Personally, it took a whole lot of difficulties, of people telling me I’ve fallen short, for me to turn to writing for solace. It still is – like you pointed out – a challenge to pursue writing as a art but accepting who I am through the little worlds I create gives me strength to face the nay-sayers.

  4. Happy anniversary, Ollin! Your blog has grown fantastically since I first started reading, both in content and in readership. I’m really looking forward to the next year. =]

    • Ollin says:

      Thank you so much for being there at the beginning and for sticking with me. It’s first readers like you that got me through the more lonely moments of writing and blogging. Thanks! I’m looking forward to it, too.

  5. […] Resilience. « {Courage 2 Create} Share and […]

  6. Jillian says:

    Happy anniversary, Ollin. 🙂

  7. Hi Ollin,

    Congratulations on your success in the blogsphere. I found your work through my nosiness (think Scooby Doo and his gang) and investigating on how to become a better writer. The tipping point was your immensely helpful guest post recently on Thank you for sharing your ups and downs as a writer. I look forward to growing with you and seeing how you touch others with your work.

  8. Dearest Ollin,

    My favourite moment has been this whole year. I have been watching you, as you know, while working on milestones in my own life. I am excited to see you finish one year. It’s not an easy job to stick this long, and I know many do give up. But your commitment and exceptional honesty to yourself have led you to here.

    Congrats, and expect more to come

    I am always here if you need anything.


    • Ollin says:

      Aw, thank you BrownEyed, and thank YOU for sticking with me for so long. Its early readers like you that gave me the confidence to keep it at.


  9. tahliaN says:

    Olin, I just like your angle on everything. I guess it’s who you are shining through everything you write. You encourage us all to have the courage to be ourselves. Thank you for your support.

  10. Cities of the Mind says:

    You’ve come a long way in a year! It will be interesting to see where the next one takes {C2C}.

  11. I’m glad I stumbled here from the initial days. Rock on…

  12. Tammy McLeod says:

    Happy Blogoversary Ollin and I love that photo of you! I think you’ve nailed the part about speaking authentically when our writing is a beautiful extension of ourselves like an aura. It is a pleasure to travel this journey with you.

    • Ollin says:

      That was beautifully said Tammy, very well put. It’s been fun being here with you and seeing your great success as well. I guess you can understand more than most–isn’t blogging a wonderful, transformative experience?

  13. Conor Ebbs says:

    Hey Ollin,

    A great article, pulsing with power.

    Reslience occupies the space between passion and proactivity.

    I just finished a poem called Risk, Change, Grow. It’s the first step in progressing the person that is you and cutting through more land to braid your streams.

    Thank you for taking the risk. You inspire.


  14. Happy anniversary Ollin!
    You have done a remarkable thing here in just one year and I am both truly impressed and very inspired!
    I have two favorite C2C moments. the first being Letter To My Enemy which was so very moving, wise and intelligent. The 2nd was your account of the story about the guest post that you posted here in error. Your dialogue with Leo Babuta made me laugh out loud for a long while… Thank you! 🙂

  15. clarbojahn says:

    I came across you as a first newbie blogger four months ago and since I’m also a writer I stuck around because it does take courage. You make the way a lot less lonely for me. I don’t have a favorite cause they’re all good. You are an inspiration.

  16. jannatwrites says:

    Happy anniversary, Ollin! You’ve had a spectacular first year and I have no doubt that year 2 will also be amazing. Good luck to you 🙂

  17. Hurray! Happy anniversary to C2C!! So glad to have been on board with it for several months so far and looking forward the second chapter indeed. Thank you for being a most welcome pocket of positivity 🙂

  18. Congratulations on your 1st year Bloggie anniversary, you given us so many great encouraging posts this year, can’t wait to reading them, thanks again M x

  19. souldipper says:

    A very happy first blogiversary, Ollin. Congratulations for accomplishing all your successes this year.

    I meant to mention before, I received Mark Nepo’s “The Book of Awakening” for my birthday and am loving the reading each day. His unique perceptions are refreshing and great for meditation.

    • Ollin says:

      Thanks for sticking with me over the months, and happy late birthday!

      As you can tell, I LOVE Mark Nepo. That book is so informative. It is a MUST READ. I repeat, A MUST READ.

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