"Difficulty at the Beginning" is the 3rd Hexagram from the I-Ching. The I-Ching is an ancient Chinese oracle that I have come to rely upon since the age of sixteen.
"It is through the meeting of Heaven and Earth, that individuals are born; and this birth is replete with difficulties. It is only through struggle that we finally attain form." Hexagram 3, I Ching
Our life is full of beginnings. Each morning is a start to a new day. When we commit to a project, a relationship or an intention, we give ourselves a start to something. The I Ching counsels us that "if we persevere a great success is at hand." The success of completion, the success of relationship, the success of connection and financial reward. And the success of figuring something out.
I find that the difficulty (at the beginning) is what makes a commitment worthwhile (and engaging). For readers, if our novels, essays or memoirs don't start with some conflict or difficulty, we are not likely to hook our readers.
We seek the tension and drama of a good read. We seek resolution too. But our successes and resolutions come after our perseverance through difficulty.
"Beyond the difficulties and pressures that surround you, a success lies waiting." Brain Browne Walker, The I Ching, A Guide to Life's Turning Points.
Of course I recommend writing as you go. Write through your difficulties. And make sure your future reader is given the richness of your challenges and difficulties, whether your stories be fictionalized or full-on truth.
Without our difficulties where's the story?
Difficulty at the Beginning by Karen Holden
I sleep folded, as if I had no bones;
my hands so bent and flattened in sharp
downward curve to my chest that I wake
up numb. My knees lifted, ankles crossed,
feet curled, as if I was made of strips
of paper, or green bamboo. My shoulders
curve inward so far I walk with a slump,
the knobby human knuckles of my spine
grind and shift as if they remember
the black fluid body they once were and the
brief, ventilated life of dark and fragrant
pleasure. I can imagine the quick movements
from flower to flower through air as fine
as hair and no sleep until death. Each
morning still, it is as if I emerge from
some gray spun cocoon formed from strands
of my own being, and fight my way through
that same fine air; flexing, merely
waiting for my wings to dry.
Karen Holden, Book of Changes, Poems.
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Julie lives in Mount Horeb WI where she walks her dog through Stewart Park, gardens her corner lot, attends yoga at Bliss Flow Yoga in Madison and waits for spring 11 months of the year. She is author of The Zero Point Agreement & ten other books. She also writes for the local Mount Horeb paper and in her free time listens in on others' conversations at Sjolinds.