Okay, so no one thought that the world was really going to end. However, many believe that this is the dawn of a new shift in energy – when the extraneous elements of life will be abandoned for the truly meaningful ones, and we will begin to find balance.
As I sit here about to launch into full blown holiday mode, having just finished three weeks of production on a film for San Diego’s One Billion Rising Campaign, juggling three writing jobs and attempting to make plans for the future, balance seems farther away than the point where the sun’s elliptical apparently crossed the equator of the Milky Way this morning.
However, leading up this End of Days, I have admittedly noticed a shift in my own life and the lives of those around me. Light bulbs seem to be popping up over everyone’s heads. I can’t tell you how many times I have had conversations with friends about their choices to do Plan B instead of Plan A, for no other reason than it felt more authentic to who they are. These new plans don’t make them more money, don’t grant them a path to fame or fortune or success, and often don’t even seem logical in the typical “way of doing things.” And yet, there my friends are: moving from New York City to Portland, Maine for a better quality of life, quitting jobs that don’t serve them, taking off for teaching assignments in foreign countries, going back to school for degrees that would just be enjoyable to earn rather than a guarantee of a career path. Seemingly crazy decisions – or are they?
When I started writing seriously this year, I experienced a balance I had never felt before. Thus far, my life had consisted of working really hard at school and jobs and feeling that if I didn’t have my hand in 50 activities simultaneously, that I wasn’t really living. How is it, then, that when I sit down to write a blog post to all of you lovely readers out there, I feel more balanced and energized and fulfilled than when I’ve done anything else?
A paradigm shift began to occur.
What if I did things that made me feel balanced…all the time? Or, at least…more often? What if I actually redirected my life to include more time for…this?
Of course, it’s one thing to recognize what makes my spirit sing, but it’s another thing to actually carve out the time to do it, and do it well. Thus began the Angst-Ridden Dilemma Decisions of 2012: Do I accept this part in this play, or do I make time for writing? Do I stay in this job that isn’t entirely serving me, or do I make time for writing? Do I allow myself to get distracted by errands and invites and day trips and doing for others, or do I make time for writing?
I soon began to realize that my levels of commitment to anything OTHER than writing were an addictive tendency I clung to in order to mask the one thing that was truly driving me: my fear of what would happen if I just did the thing I need/want/love/have to do.
And when I say “addictive,” I mean seriously addictive. Like, time for intervention and rehab kind of addiction.
Who could have thought that involvement in “stuff” and “things” could be as toxic as guzzling booze? But, there you have it. When I have thirty things on my to-do list, my mind is occupied, numbed in its busy-ness. It doesn’t have to go to the places of quiet solitude, where I am faced with a reflection of who I really am. I can avoid that NeverEnding Story Magic Mirror Gate moment because, after all, who knows what I will find there? The girl who is not doing enough to honor her authentic self? Or worse: the potential for greatness.
Doing stuff is so much easier!
The funny thing about the universe is that when you take one small step in the right direction, you get all sorts of kudos. Strike that. When you even turn your head in the right direction, the universe is like “You rock!” and you get all this fun stuff. Whether this means choosing a new thought, or saying no to a play, or doing whatever the “good for you” thing is that seems hard in the moment, it is when you take a leap of faith and honor your authentic self that the net appears. Truly. I knew what I had to do.
My first “no” happened in late September, shortly after I wrote my “Dark Spots” piece. I was offered a part in a play. I agonized for a week about accepting the part, which typically would have been a no-brainer. I upset myself to the point of nausea. The thought of saying “no” seemed nuts to me. Why would I do that? Why would I deny myself this artistic opportunity? Was I totally crazy? But deep down, I knew I couldn’t do both. I couldn’t prioritize writing and work on this show simultaneously. I looked ahead to the fall and winter months and began to hyperventilate.
But…to create blank space in my days with which to fill with writing seemed…completely frightening. I began to experience what would be my own personal brand of withdrawal pain: Oh, God. What would I do with hours free to sit in front of my computer? What if I wrote crap? What if I lost my way? What if I wrote and wrote and wrote and nothing came of it – ever? How would I ever find the tenacity and persistence to see it through in the first place, whatever that meant? What if I spent hours alone in my room or in some cozy coffee shop away from the world and people…forgot about me? Panic ensued. I needed hot chocolate, stat.
The thing about writing is that it takes time. For me, at least, it takes time. Thoughts and ideas have levels. The more time I spend with them, the deeper they go. Unless I granted myself that time, they would not manifest. (David Lynch wrote a nice piece about this for GOOD.)
And so, I made the call. I said “no.” And an amazing thing happened. No one hated me. No one ostracized me. No one condemned me for taking the time to shut my door and get to work. And so, I did it again. I said “no” to a job that I needed to let go of, the alarm bells of civilized society going off in my head the whole time. And yet, strangely, because of various freelance opportunities that immediately came my way, I found myself more financially stable than I had been in a long time. And also: I had time. All of a sudden, I had time.
Of course, honoring this new paradigm takes time as well – nobody’s perfect. As I said, I just finished producing a film, so yeah…not a lot of writing happened this month. However, here I am today, putting words to virtual paper, contemplating the apocalypse, and finally feeling more like myself again. I guess every day that the world doesn’t end is a new opportunity to figure out why it’s worth being here in the first place.
Do the thing.
Engywook: Next is the Magic Mirror Gate. Atreyu has to face his true self.
Falkor: So what? That won’t be too hard for him.
Engywook: Oh, that’s what everyone thinks! But kind people find that they are cruel. Brave men discover that they are really cowards! Confronted with their true selves, most men run away screaming!