Sometimes the words flow, the ideas gel and everything comes together so easily it feels fake. Today is not one of those days. Today I have been at my computer for hours and have nothing to show for it but deleted documents.
The words seem stuck somewhere between stupid and boring.
What I wanted to share was how change is inevitable and how sometimes doing something new or different feels like the scariest thing in the world, but when you make those first few steps the feelings become more closely aligned with excitement. And excitement and fear often very much the same.
I wanted to say something that would reach you so deeply, you would feel heard and understood. That you would know that you aren’t alone, that no matter who you are or where you are, we all get scared. We all fight change. We all resist. We all have that little voice inside that says, “whoa, wait a minute. Who do you think you are to try that?”
I wanted to tell you how I’ve decided to marry again and take my business in a different direction, not because I wanted to say, “hey, look at me”, but because then I could tell you that as happy and excited as I am, I have anxiety too.
Because I could rattle off a long list of what seem like past failures, my marriages (yes, two not one), changing direction in my business after three years and two books supporting one direction, not being fluent in my new adoptive language, not meeting the finish date on my novel.
I could hold on to these things as evidence that I am not good enough, that I shouldn’t risk getting married, working on my French; that I should just chuck my novel and plod along the same course for my business, after all my second book is coming out in print soon and my publishers are fully expecting me to do my part to launch it. I could dig in, avoid change. I could.
Or I could rush into life, jump off the cliff and see what happens.
Some of my friends see me as fearless. I smile when they tell me this, because yes I am, some days.
I am just now finishing this letter to you, because as I said at the beginning, yesterday was a challenge day. So, I stopped, went for a walk on the beach, collected some shells and then came home. I sat down pulled out a notebook and took the time to ask myself where I was and what I needed. As it turned out, I wanted a break. I wanted to just chill out and not feel guilty. So, I did. I poured a glass of wine and cuddled up on the sofa with the TV remote.
But, taking the time to get in touch with what I needed allowed me to untangle the negative messages from the truth. It allowed me to invite curiosity in and release the horde of mean voices that wanted to tell me I failed.
And that is what I most wanted to share with you, not everything you try comes up sunshine and unicorns. Not every day works out like you expect. Not every decision yields the outcome you were hoping for.
But, what if you were able to unmask, to be vulnerable, ask for what you want, to pursue your passions that way a toddler pursues learning to walk, to untangle the narrative of your life with a sense of wonder and curiosity instead of judgment?
What if the next time you had an argument with your spouse or lover, instead of hearing hopeless or anger or fear, you just sat down for 20 minutes and wrote all the things that you were thinking out in a list and then asked yourself if they were really true statements?
What if you did that the next time you said something negative to yourself, just stopped for a minute, wrote it down and looked at the words?
There is something magical that happens when you take your thoughts out of your head, write them down on a piece of paper and look at them in black and white (or purple and white if you are me. I like colored inks.)
Give it a try. Instead of defaulting to a bad mental loop of berating thoughts the next time something goes sideways, write it down. Ask yourself if it is true? And even if you decide it is, ask yourself if it something you want to keep.
What a thrill it is when you realize you get to choose what you want to believe, about everything.
You become fearless too.