I crossed a huge threshold this weekend. I wrapped up the last stretch of writing and shifted into editing my book! It’s a goal I expected to achieve before the end of 2021 but it feels just as sweet to start 2022 with this accomplishment under my belt. I’ll be sharing more about my book in the coming weeks and months, as well as documenting my self-publishing journey, for all of you out there who might be curious about it.
What struck me this weekend though, as I finished my writing phase, which has taken over a year and been challenging enough that I’ve considered quitting a bunch of times, was how quickly my Ego raced in to cut my celebration short.
I was mid-exhale when I felt myself worrying that what I’ve written won’t be cohesive. Maybe I should add back one of the chapters I took out. Maybe the intro rambles. Maybe no one will want to read it. Maybe I’ve just dedicated myself to a long haul task that’s going to prove meaningless in the end.
I love the gestation phase of a thing more than the actual birth. I love ideas before they’ve found their words. I love the sketch. The rough outline. I love the kind of work that takes time. I love the feeling of being devoted to the work and how that devotion rests as an identity or an excuse upon the rest of my life, like a fat cat napping on my chest, pinning me to the couch for a whole Sunday morning.
“I’m writing a book” is a very different sentence than: “I wrote a book.” A dress rehearsal is different than an opening night. If I’ve already written the book, you could ask to read it. If you ask to read it, then it won’t belong to me exclusively any longer. It will have crossed the threshold from my private imagination into the vast reality the rest of us collectively share.
There’s an old story my meditation teacher used to tell about a pearl that goes up for auction. Nobody has enough so the pearl buys itself. I had a friend who ran her art business like this. Her sculptures were priced so high no one could afford them. In this way, she never had to part with them either.
I know the tender, gossamer thin line that exists between deliciousness and heartache.
There’s a divine kind of sweetness to courting a muse. No one else exists inside the connection. It’s alive and miraculous and real. But there’s a tipping point that always seems to kick in, where our longing to share what we’ve created outshines our need to keep it for ourselves.
Our longing to be seen and read and known scratches at the door and it’s hard to feel satisfied living all alone anymore once it does. We want to venture out. Take the chance. Share what we’ve made with the world. It’s terrifying. But terror and exhilaration are actually the same feeling, just with different story lines.
Fortunately I’m well acquainted with my Ego and all of its riff raff at this point in my life. I know the sounds of its footsteps before it’s even reached the door. I was amazed by how instantaneously my mood shifted from elation to dread as soon as my Ego busted into my thinking with its threats and second guesses and cautionary tales. I’d reached a major milestone but all I could think about were ways to turn around. To tie the finish line back together again.
A plane has to go very, very fast when it’s taking off. The same is true for us when it comes to going after what we want. If we’re striving toward our goals but we’re constantly barraged by Ego/fear-based thoughts about worst case scenarios or how dangerously high our hopes are, we kill our own momentum. This is the agenda of our fears. Pump the brakes. A change is coming and we won’t be the same on the other side of it.
Yes, it’s true, we won’t be the same on the other side of our accomplishments. We will change. We will be different.
But things that stop growing are dead.
We have to consider what kind of life we want for ourselves. A dead life or an alive one? We have to go very, very fast in order to take off. It might not feel so good. It might be scary. It might leave us wondering how bad we really want our dreams after all? Bad enough to endure the discomfort of going very, very fast and incurring the wrath of our Egos?
If you come to the point in your journey where this is the question you’re facing - the question of how bad you actually want what you want - I beg you to let your Soul answer. Your Ego will try to answer first. It will scream at you through the bull horn. But if you can, get still and wait for your Soul’s answer. Because that’s the one that matters most.
If your Soul is on the plane with you, you can go very, very fast and rest assured with no fear that you’re on the right track. Heading toward the place where you have always been meant to arrive.
Lots of love and patience to you friends, during these ongoingly challenging, dismantle-y times. And thank you, as always, for reading.