I promised myself I would write, but I don’t.
There’s so many reasons not to.
The traffic is too loud.
The laundry needs to be done.
I want to have a beautiful view to stare at while I sit outside under one of those trellis things where the plants grow on them to shade the Mediterranean sun.
I’m not in the Mediterranean.
There is no sun.
What the hell am I doing?
What am I avoiding?
I love the feeling of it. Even here, now, writing this after only a few minutes, I can feel the surge of creative flow swelling within me.
The peace, the calm; with subtle excitement and anticipation of what I’m going to discover as the once-blank page starts to fill.
It’s like a treasure hunt. No, not a hunt, because I am not looking for something. More like things are revealed to me as I start to type.
Wonders appearing out of nowhere. Wow! No way! Look at this!
If I was a kid, I might squeal with delight.
I don’t necessarily know what is coming next. All I know is that I must stay present to myself. When I stay present, the words come. When I drift, I’m left floating in an ocean on a makeshift life raft with only one oar to steer me.
Presence. I wonder if that’s what I’m avoiding.
Being with me. Being with my Self.
Hanging out with the laundry, the dirty dishes, random emails trying to get me to buy stuff, and everyone else’s Insta-story is so much more interesting than just being with my Self.
At least that’s what I tell myself.
Staying with my Self is tough. It takes a bit of work. More like practice. Discipline. Focus. Commitment.
It also takes this weird form of Trust. Because I show up and I have no idea what I’m going to get. It could be rubbish. It could be genius. It could sit on my laptop forever without anyone ever reading it, or it could get published and never be forgotten.
I don’t know the outcome before I show up.
Sometimes I show up and I think I know what I want to say. I have an idea, or I’m feeling strongly and need to let out what feels like a bubble growing inside me. When that happens it’s like an itch that must be scratched, right now. My insides feel like one of those arcade games where you shoot the silver ball into the box and it bounces around and lights go off along with all these discombobulated noises until the ball settles back down in its place. Frenetic. Chaotic. I can’t do anything else until I sit down and get it out.
Other times it’s more of like being set-up on a blind date. I said I would go, and so reluctantly I show up, checking the clock to see how long this is going to last. I have nothing to say but might as well start talking to avoid the awkward silence. So I start mumbling about my day or what’s on my mind. Sometimes I get really cheeky and start talking about what I’m feeling in that exact very moment, thinking that I’ll be so randomly honest, I’ll scare my Self off. Then, to my surprise, something clicks. I’m intrigued, mezmorized. It turns into the best date ever.
It never turns out the way I thought it would. I think it’s going to be the best thing I ever wrote and even I’m bored reading it. Or I’m bored when I show up and then once I start I can’t stop.
Sometimes what comes out blows my mind. I didn’t even know It was in me. I didn’t know the words could be strung together that way. I didn’t know this wisdom lived inside me.
I say wisdom, I don’t mean wisdom. Ok maybe I do. It’s hard to explain.
It’s like I sit down and write and stuff comes out and then I read it and I think, “Holy shit! How did I know that? How did I see that? I didn’t know that 30 minutes ago; how come I see that now?”
It’s enticing. I want to know more, so I follow It. I fumble my way through the weeds and the trees trying to keep my eye on this thing that I don’t even have a name for.
It’s only with time that it reveals itself to me.
It teaches me, “You have to spend time with me. You have to engage with me. You have to show up.”
I ask this thing, “Why can’t I just sit on a cushion and we can hang out there? You can tell me everything I want to know. Give me all the answers I’m looking for. Tell me what to go do next.”
And it says, “Darling, isn’t this so much more fun?”
I agree. Yeah, it is. It feels really good.
So I ask, “If this feels so good, then why don’t I do it all the time? Why don’t I clear my calendar and show up every day?”
“Yeah, I ask myself that too sometimes.”
“You mean, you don’t know?”
“Well if you don’t know why, how am I supposed to know why?”
“I think you know why.”
“Chica, c’mon. Get real with yourself.”
“OK, here’s the deal. I’m really freakin scared.
I’m scared that if I make time to write and it doesn’t materialize into anything, then I’ll have wasted all that time for nothing. I’m scared that once I start, I’ll be sucked into this manic black hole where all I can do is write and everything else in my life falls apart. I’m scared that what I say will offend people. I’m scared that what I say will blow up and I’ll be bombarded with phone calls and texts and messages. You know I need my space.
I’m scared that I won’t be able to finish what I started. I’m scared I’ll run out of ideas. I’m scared it will take too long. I’m scared I don’t have enough time. I’m scared that people will want more and then I’ll have to do this properly and then the pressure is on.
And I’m also really scared that I actually want this. I’m scared that because I want it, it won’t happen. I’m scared that I don’t know how to make this happen.
Like I said, scared.”
“Honey, why don’t you leave all that to me. Why don’t you just do your part. Show up. I’ll take care of the rest.”
Hmmmm… so that’s what I was avoiding. A book deal with God.