Monday, April 30, 2012

Held together by bailing wire and chewing gum

After smiling the day before, I hoped yesterday would be filled with smiles as well.  Not so much.  The day started out well.  We were invited to dear friends for breakfast and then planned to go to our 12-Step meeting.  Somewhere in that lovely plan, things went awry. 

When we think about our future, some of the planning is fun, up to a certain point.  Then one of the many roadblocks comes into view and everything quickly seems dismal.  Given the large amount of unknowns regarding where we are in the process with our insurance company, what our final options may be, or even where we want to be, nothing is certain.  And, due to the instability and upheaval of the last month, it is relatively easy to come unhinged.  Yesterday David said, “We are held together right now by bailing wire and chewing gum”.

On initial viewing, we may seem ok, but if you come closer and peer into our souls you will see the roiling lava.  Push us a little too far in either direction, and things blow apart.  Things blew apart yesterday.  Unfortunately, it was a dear friend that lit the match that led to me losing my shit.  Too much input, too many ideas being floated coupled with some of my friends concern for both us as well as stress he has been dealing with personally.  My heart thumping in my chest, I wanted to run – and I wanted to avoid making a scene.  For the moment, I was successful but unfortunately, the angst needed an outlet and the recipient of that was my beloved husband.  David had also been triggered in the conversation, mostly by me, so he was not exactly a clear space ready to receive my agro energy.  And, this is an old pattern for us – a well-trod couple “dance” where we both do our part and end up stomping all over each others toes. 

My dance moves look like extreme upset over something that triggers my not so frequently seen dismally dark pit of despair.  In attempting to express this level of deep anguish, I become angry and often throw lightning bolts around.  They aren’t necessarily directed at David but some graze him as they fly by.  I am a whirling dervish being swallowed up by a sea of sorrow.  I feel myself going off the edge and am desperately seeking connection at this moment.  His dance moves look like: crazy lady approaching, duck for cover.  Aware that he feels triggered by me, which is confirmation of my utter isolation, I become more triggered.  The verdict in the moment: no one can or will stand here with me.  No one can or will help me.  This is verification of the horrible knowing that no help is ever coming.  I retreat further into my lunacy; the silent scream building in my psyche.

We have talked about my infrequent explosions and I have fully admitted my culpability.  I have likened my pattern to a ferocious hurricane – and I have asked him, if at all possible when these moments emerge, to put on the foul weather gear and stand in the storm with me.  Often he can do that, and of course, sometimes he can’t.  Given how tapped out we both are, it is no surprise that he was unable to stand in the storm with me yesterday.  Unfortunately, rational understanding eludes me in these moments. 

The desperation I feel in these times reminds me of teenage torment when hormones are raging and the world doesn’t make sense.  As a teenager, of course I was attracted to an even more volatile boyfriend.  We stopped short of a true domestic violence scene but the drama was intense often leading to me jumping out of moving cars.  After one exceptional brouhaha, the argument exploded while I was driving and I crashed into a telephone pole, totaling my car.  Thankfully we both escaped without serious injury, however the psychological trauma was extreme.  He thought I tried to kill him.   I only remember snapping when the tension grew to great.  Concerns for safety were absent from my mind, the screaming thought was “get out now” or “run!”  We were both insane during these years; both beginning our perilous descent into addiction.  To escape that relationship, I ran away and never looked back.  Fortunately, I then got sober in 1989.  I don’t think he ever did. 

Thank God for my tools.  Thank God for my training.  Thank God for my ability to stop in the moment and to have some semblance of sanity even in the midst of my insanity.  Violent thoughts do fill my mind and fortunately I don’t act on most of them.  Occasionally I break things.  Once last year, I cleared a shelf in my bedroom with the sweep of my arm sending pictures and books crashing across the room and breaking glass, terrifying my poor dogs and seriously pissing off my husband. 

No external aggression occurred yesterday but the deep rage and grief surfaced in a hysterical wail.  I dropped David at our meeting and tried to disappear into nothingness by driving off into the sunset.  Only the sun wasn’t setting and I knew I needed to meet him again at 1pm.  But drive, I did.  Picking another burned out forest as my destination, I followed a dirt road through acres of blackened toothpicks that once were trees juxtaposed against the red soil and deep blue sky.  Twelve years later and still a moonscape.  Not much hope here.  The road narrowed and I watched the fuel light come on.  Stubbornly I kept going, seeking something at the end of my journey to bring some peace.  The road passed along a river and I hoped to cool my heels in the ice-cold water.  All private land and I decided not to add trespassing to my list of sins for the day.  I finally turned around realizing I didn’t want to be late to pick up my husband. 

What is my rage?  These occurrences are blessedly rare but when they occur I am swallowed whole.  In these moments, I understand the horrible things humans do.  I get a glimpse into the insanity that precedes acts of horrible violence directed either externally or internally.  It is a good thing I have been sober for so long and have the tools that I do.  Many cliffs have beckoned me as I drive by; singing their siren song; calling me home.  I don’t act on these thoughts but entertain them for a brief moment.  Wouldn’t it be easier to plummet through the air, free for those brief seconds, before crashing to my death?  Of course, each time I choose life and in choosing I am aware that it is all just a choice. 

Clearly it’s difficult to be around this level of intensity in another.  We all have our shadow side whether it surfaces regularly or not.  It is there.  So many people stuff it down deep and it comes out in addiction, overeating, overspending, work-a-holism, sex addiction, domestic violence, or whatever your own personal brand of poison might be.

I certainly don’t enjoy the feeling of being out of control.  Often I hear the small voice in my head whispering to me, saying “drop it” or “let go”.  Angrily, I push by this voice aside to find the source of my rage.  If I just find the source, maybe I can have mastery over it.  It seems evasive – and eternal.  It is Edward Munch’s the Scream, a face twisted in anguish, a body swirling into nothingness.  It is the grasping for safety in an unsafe world.  It is the desperate seeking of groundedness as we float through the universe suspended only by gravity.  There is no ground, it does not exist.  There is no certainty.  There are no guarantees.  And, just because something terrible happens, we are not protected from more horrific events.  One wise friend admonished, “no one is entitled to a perfect life.”  She should know.  Her two children died as the car driven by a babysitter, stalled out on a railroad track.  Then a short time later her husband died of cancer.

This is the existential angst that philosophers have discussed for eons.  Life is delicate.  There are no guarantees.  No one is entitled to a perfect life.  There are gifts that come from destruction but they often come wrapped in barbed wire.  We don’t know they are a gift at the time – and the truth is, they are only a gift if we are willing to see.  If we are willing to shift our perspective enough.  May people don’t and they end up bitter to the end always feeling cheated by the world and it’s people. 

Of course I will see the gifts from this recent course correction.  In the meantime my raging banshee may emerge again and David may duck for cover.  David’s boiling anger may emerge and I will respond the best way I can too.  Life may throw more curve balls and we will walk through them all.  I will not drive off a cliff. I will not jump out of a moving vehicle. I will not aim my lightening bolts in your direction.  But I may wail like the banshee that burns in my soul.  

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A crack in the armor

Yesterday we smiled.  Not that we haven’t smiled at all during the last month but the smiles previously were fleeting and slight.  Yesterday we smiled a lot.  As we scrambled to get out of the house to meet the Fire Marshall, we bumped into each other, our non-existent patience worn thin.  I had a conference call to start my authors on their writing day – another one I wouldn’t be joining – and begged their forgiveness as I adjusted the time to make our important appointment. 

When we arrived, we were greeted by a group of neighbors, Randy the Fire Marshall, Kate from the County, Sean from Planning and Zoning and Dan from the Fire Department – with a shiny red fire truck.  Although the sun was shining, a biting wind chilled us to our core as we stood and waited for the bad news to begin.  This meeting was to detail our “options” around improving our road.  We had received the news that due to the poor condition of our private roads, unless we brought them up to snuff, we would not have rights to any future emergency services which would prohibit the desire of any insurance company to insure us again (if they ever would anyway…).  This was very bad news when we first got wind of it.  A major roadblock in our future plans with a giant price tag attached. 

Randy welcomed and gathered us around.  I liked this man the first time I met him last summer when we were petitioning to join Inter-Canyon Fire Department and be released from North Fork.  Our house was much closer to ICFD so it made practical sense.  He made a few site visits at the time.  I responded instantly to his no nonsense approach and Sam Sheppard twinkle.  This time, he was the bearer of bad news.  David and I snuggled against the wind and waited for Randy to throw down the gauntlet in this bureaucratic behemoth. 

Randy began, “We know how much you are dealing with and we have decided that we don’t want to add even more to your plate.  We will be making recommendations – not requirements - for road improvement.”  An audible sob caught in my throat.  The first piece of good news since this nightmare began.  After that, all the details of filing of permits, checking easements, erosion assessments, septic requirements, well tests and such all seemed minor.  Here was a group of government employees on a Saturday morning declaring their support to us through the process.  Yes, it is still an arduous process but we saw some good from our government versus all the finger pointing and throat clearing that has been coming from our swash-buckling Sherriff and Governor. 

My sass then emerged, and all I wanted to do was to ride in the fire truck.  I began in my normal way, “can I drive the fire truck?” and settled on a ride to my property a mile down the road.  I climbed into the belly of the beast and we bounced along our jeep trail of a road toward our place.  I looked for sirens I could sound or PA’s I could key to announce our approach.  I decided not to push my luck, certainly not wanting to further traumatize my already shell-shocked neighbors.  As we approached the last turns before our property, I noticed a wisp of smoke.  Poking Dan, I asked what it was.  He stopped to investigate and discovered it was the fire, still alive, still burning in the roots of a tree.  We climbed down to the source and could see the spot had worked on as there was a deep hole to dampen the area.  Yet, a whole month later, it still smoldered.  (And, again, tell me what made the forest service think that 3 days of putting out their controlled burn was enough?)  I asked Dan if I could spray the hose.  He used the lighter hose and instructed me to hold it close to my body and spray the F out of the fire.  (He didn’t say that exactly…)  I hankered to blast the F out of it; to vent my rage and fury on this destructive fiend that still breathed after devouring my home.  Instead, the hose flowed, and then trickled, yet clouds of steam filled the air as I doused it as best I could.  The water turned white and bubbly, it sizzled and smoked as it took its last breaths.  My initiation complete on my inaugural journey. 

Having fought fire, I worked up quite and appetite and chose to head to Evergreen instead of to the house for a day of insurance inventory.  After benedict at Wildflower CafĂ©, we visited Evergreen Gallery.  When we bought the house, David gave me a painting called “Re-Birth” of a momma and baby elephant.  Along with most of our art (minus 2 of my mom’s original paintings), this piece went up in flames.  The Gallery was able to find this exact piece 9 years later – and discovered an original actually exists.  We only saw pictures of it and will go back when the artist is in town but in the meantime, my craving for art began to emerge. 

As I shared yesterday, I am joining forces with the Aspens in our mutual healing journey.  Being a small gallery in a mountain town, there were plenty of Aspen motifs.  A vivid photograph mounted on heavy piece of slate jumped out at both of us.  A lone golden Aspen set against a forest of snow-covered pines.  I know they are pines, and it is snow, but when I gaze at it it transforms to ash covered trees, decimated by fire with the solo Aspen blazing it’s golden glory and will to survive.  It makes me happy.  Another piece grabbed my heart – a transparent photo with a view up into a thick grove of Aspen’s in all their greenery set against the blue sky.  When rested against a window, this piece is further illuminated from the sun, shining brightly with its promise of hope.

We are still being quite choosy about what we buy yet, if feels good to have a few pieces.  I stare at the lone Aspen as I write this morning.  It will be the placeholder of all those glorious trees that we lost.  They say that Aspen are the first to come back after a fire.  I hope so.  I have always loved and felt kinship with them.  Appearing to be individual trees on the surface, in truth, they are connected through the earth with a common root system.  The metaphors are obvious.  I will allow their fortitude to fortify me.  I will patiently wait for their glory to return.  

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Healing with the trees

I coach my author clients to sit for as long as it takes to get words on a page.  This morning, my resistance is robust.  I am pulled to zone out.  I don’t want to write.  Tired of saying the same things in different ways, I worry you are tired too.  I indulged in a very large peanut butter cookie last night (I know, alert the press!) and have a sugar hangover.  Fuzzy headed, my thoughts are sludge.  I misplaced my reading glasses so I squint and barely make out the screen.  Yet, still I sit.  I remember my darkest day yet was the day I chose not write... I don’t want to go there again.  Writing has become my way of greeting the day, of processing what needs to be processed.  Yes, I may be saying similar things.  My brain is still attempting to make sense of the nonsensical.  It is still processing the trauma.  And, as the numbness wears off the jagged reality emerges.  There is no going back.  This is my new life.  Who would have thunk it?

Yesterday, I watched the last of the metal scraps that once were my house be towed away.  As the flatbed flexed to pick up the load, I caught a final glimpse before it disappeared from view.  Pieces of my house, pieces of my life, memories turned into heaps of metal tumbled together then vanished down the road on their journey to recycling.

As I waited for my next “appointment”, with Skybeam (our internet provider), a mostly decimated Aspen grove beckoned me.  Heeding the call, I sat with the trees for a few minutes.  The moment I entered the grove, I felt their sadness, saw their tears, experienced their pain.  Some had exploded into tiny pieces, dismembered, the stark white bark against blackened soil.  Some lay intact, yet disconnected forever from their earth, their roots turned into black sooty mush.  Some remained standing, their ultimate fate unknown.  Smokey perfume filled the grove; I held their dead bodies and wept for us all. 

Then Skybeam showed up and I shifted gears as we went to explore the next phase of this journey – the prospect of home office-ing out of our Airstream.  It turned out that the strongest signal is at our property, and I made the executive decision that we would move the trailer to our land and begin living there May 11th. 

Miraculously, grass is growing on the land bringing some color and life to the moonscape.  It is fitting to think about living there again.  Like us, it is scorched, edgy, raw, tired, and wounded and yet the will to transform is evident.  The invitation is to walk through this together.  The dark sooty ground, mangled trees and scorched rocks will normalize our pain.  The delicate clumps of green grass will remind us of the regenerative power of nature. 

The world will go on, yet we will heal gradually with the land.  We don’t have to rush our process.  It will take decades for the land to truly heal.  It will be patient with us and we will be patient with it.  When the world seems to forget our pain, we will be comforted to know the land hasn’t forgotten.  Eventually our scars will mend and something new will arise.  We can’t know what it will look like yet.  We can’t know who we will be yet.  We will discover who we will become together.  Every season we will morph and change, yet our hard-earned raw beauty will remain, always a reminder of the power of fire to transform.    

Friday, April 27, 2012

All of it

My mornings are a combination of checking email and Facebook, making coffee and sitting down to write.  I used to treat my writing time as more of a “sacred space”. Not wanting to bring in any distractions, I would calm myself first, absolutely not check email or Facebook and sit down to write for my appointed time.  I have abandoned this practice.  Now, I jump around a little manically and still manage to write. 

This morning, I explore the symptoms of PTSD and while on this track, I listen to Louis GK’s “Everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy” diatribe on Conan.  F-ing brilliant!  Edgy, real and making fun of all we hold precious.  Because I laugh, does that mean I don’t have any PTSD symptoms?  No, it doesn’t mean that. 

Fortunately I have the ability to view my situation and myself objectively.  I know the most important thing I can do is to be where I am, and not judge my process.  I am pretty good at that. 

Here are some symptoms of PTSD:
  • Repeated upsetting memories of the event – uh, yeah.
  • Strong, uncomfortable reactions to situations that remind you of the event – check
  • Difficulty concentrating - what was that again?
  • Startling easily – eeeks, I do NOT like loud noises
  • Feeling more aware (hyper vigilance) – seems like a smart idea to me
  • Feeling irritable or having outbursts of anger – do NOT get in my way!
  • Having trouble falling or staying asleep – I love my 4am wakeup, not!

Some of the symptoms of PTSD seem obvious.  It’s a strange diagnosis.  It says, in PTSD symptoms are present for at least 30 days.  Who heals from any trauma in 30 days???  Jeez.

Healing typically takes at least a year as you go through anniversaries, seasons and events for the first time without whatever or whoever was lost.  Everyone knows that.  PTSD diagnosis requires a significant impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning.  I would say I can relate. 

Then I take a break to watch “Shit Life Coaches Say”, another brilliant piece of perspective.  Those of us who are seasoned on this journey of personal growth realize we can become a parody of ourselves.  Watching this, I laugh and cringe as I first make fun with them, then hear words I have said to client’s… eeegads.  Us self-helpers are a funny bunch. 

Moving from being a Therapist to being a Life Coach gave me more freedom to be how I wanted.  I respect and admire Therapists for their work and love my new Therapist (just started yesterday with the kind and talented Cynic Winter who will use some EMDR and other techniques to work with my PTSD symptoms).  Therapists have more patience than coaches.  We coaches like to tell people what to do while therapist will give space for a client to come to their own understanding.  We bark commands while therapists whisper suggestions.  Have I pissed off any coaches yet? 

Then, my move to being an Author Coach and letting go of general Life Coaching opened things up even more.  The notion of writing a book provided something to focus on.  It is a measurable goal with many ways to determine if progress is being made.  If the goal is to write a book, you know you have achieved that goal by whether a book exists or not.  It is not mysterious.  Yes, many people discover much more along the way and realize other goals and dreams.  But in the long run, either you have a book – or you do not. 

I also brought more of my angsty darkness to my work with authors.  I gave myself so much more space to share my continuing struggles with the human condition: my self-doubt, anxieties, fears, and ego.  Somehow I thought as a Life Coach I shouldn’t do this.  Now, in my writing, I am letting it all hang out.  I am not doing it for any purpose other than to process and share with my people.  Writing has become my release.  It is my prayer and my meditation. 

Yesterday, my new therapist brought up the topic of meditation and I braced.  Don’t make me be quiet, please!  I forgot to tell you this, Cynic, so I am telling you now.  I can’t be too quiet right now.  Quiet is where the memories lie.  Quiet is where the grief lies.  I can be quiet when I am guided by a healing practitioner or for brief moments on the massage table but I don’t want to be quiet by myself.  God no.  Not yet.  Someday maybe.  Not now.

Being the overachiever and eternal seeker, I had not one but two healing sessions which sandwiched my live radio show where my guest Ellen Melko Moore and I discussed the healing journey, delusional realism and comedic spiritual advice... whatever that means.  All I know is, it was fun.  I laughed – and said “balls” live on air.  We bantered and brought edgy perspective to tragic issues.  I highly recommend listening.  My show is going to a whole new level as I allow more and more of this edgy, burned up version of me to emerge. 

Before the show, I spent 2 hours on the phone with a Shaman.  I will share more about this later, but suffice it to say it was one of the most (if not the most) powerful sessions I have ever had in my entire existence on this planet.  Besides that, it was pretty good.  By the time I got to Cyncie’s couch in the afternoon, I kicked off my shoes and went horizontal.  Exhausted in a better way than the deep exhaustion I have been feeling, I let her guide me in visualization and trusted my tender heart to her loving care. 

I allow all of it – the extreme darkness, the wicked laughter, the disillusionment, the anger at God, the edgy remarks, the snot and slobber, the dumb blond mistakes I keep making, the momentary appreciation for all things.  All of it.  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I just want to go home.

Bad dream early this morning.  We were living in a police state where some group had taken over everything.  On the surface it looked ok, but some of us knew the truth.  Curfews were in place and people were mysteriously disappearing.  I had been forewarned and somehow David and I were not together.  He was back in the town – and I was on the edge of the woods on the outside of the boundary lines.  Communication was sketchy.  Cell phones were working intermittently and we didn’t want to have our ringers to alert anyone to our location.  I kept trying to reach David and left him partial messages each time we were cut off.  The group I was with was heading out soon.  I was begging David to come quickly.  He kept saying he would leave in 9 minutes but each time I reached him he hadn’t left yet.  Suddenly my group was gone without telling me and I was alone.  Franticly, I searched for David, sneaking back into town obscuring my head and face in a hat and mask. 

I could see groups of people being herded into a large fenced area – after this point they were “processed” into the system and there was no turning back.  They were taking group photographs – smiling and laughing – blind to their fate.  I failed to find David and headed back to the woods.  Then somehow we found each other and a small group of others who were fleeing.  We had our dogs with us and removed their jingling tags so nothing would make a sound on the trail.  I knew we would need to stay off the main path and had rough directions but we realized that we would be walking in the dark with no flashlights and no compass.  Time was off the essence but all of a sudden there were more delays.  Someone wanted a sandwich, David had to go to the bathroom, and I was doing something else.  We split up for a minute and suddenly I screamed, “Where are the dogs?”  In the last minute confusion both of us thought the other was watching the dogs.  My dogs had disappeared into the night, into the police state, into the unknown.  We called and called them and they never came back.

Waking with this dream I am heavy.  I keep checking on my boys as they lounge in the sun.  They are settling in to our vagabond life.  I am not.  Not yet.  Last night my grief was intense.  Earlier, I invited Dusty and Cassidy to the mall for an escape where we wandered and laughed for a few hours.  Shopping with a teenager is certainly fun.  When I dropped them off, the dark silence descended quickly.  Knowing this might be the case, Dusty stopped me and I sobbed through my car window into her arms.  “I just want to go home”, I said.  As we parted I saw the trail of her mascara filled tears running down her cheek.  Thank you for sharing my grief, Dusty.  Thank you all. 

My heart breaks this morning.  My tears want to come but I am so tired.  What’s the point of crying right now?  It’s just heavy and dark.  I miss everything about my house.  I miss my comforts.  I want to go back to some other space and time.  Sure, I want my new lessons of transformation (which I have barely glimpsed) but can I please have my home?  I will give up other things, I promise.  I will give up books, stress, overwhelm, driveness, the need to succeed, clothes – and even shoes!  I just want my home. 

It is alive right now.  I can see it and feel it.  Like a phantom limb, I am sure it is still there standing on its idyllic perch with its sweet profile staring into the vast expanse.  It is waiting for me to find it.  It is simply tucked away somewhere like that lone sock that disappears.  My brain is desperately searching through folds of time and space, sorting memories.  If I can just get back there, everything will be ok.  I can have my sanctuary.  I do not want this pain.  I do not welcome it.  There is no good ending right now.  There is no happily ever after.  I just want to go home. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Contentment? Je ne sais quoi.

Contentment consists not in adding more fuel, but in taking away some fire - Thomas Fuller

On my women’s abundance call, we discussed the concept of contentment.  What does it mean to be content?  When are we most content?  The inquiry ended with an invitation to begin each day in contentment as a context for our day.  I politely declined.  I don’t want to do that right now. 

I am not sure I really know what it means to be content.  Or maybe I do know, and I just forget.   I do long for it.  But the truth is, I have always longed for it. Even in all my appreciation of and gratitude for my life, contentment alluded me.  If I don’t end up more content on the other side of this grand adventure, I want my money back!

Yes, I do know that contentment is not an arrival point… I know it but I don’t live from that knowing.  My Mac tells me that contentment means: “quietly satisfied and happy”.  It’s the satisfaction part that gets me.  What is it to be satisfied?  What does that feel like?  

Pre-fire, I believed I need to do more, be more, achieve more – and then I could relax, one day.  Just this one more thing, then I will know I am ok.  I need to be a New York Times bestselling author, not a just a bestselling author; I need to be a TED speaker, not just a TEDx speaker; I need to have 50 clients, not just 25; I need to write more books, not just one; I need to have everyone like me, not just some people.  Blah blah blah!  The level of acceptance I lived was night and day different from the deep self-destruction of my early days, yet I still wanted to prove something and get somewhere.  The illusive “there” would give me all I need.  One day I would arrive and whoever was keeping score would give me my prize and I could finally stop. 

As I have shared before, nights are my worst time.  Alone, with my thoughts in those moments before drifting off to sleep, my brain goes in all sorts of sad places.  Last night I was very angry at God.  Pisssed would be a better way to say it.  F-ing pissed.  I know he can take it.  I swore at him as I tossed and turned.  And, though I still don’t say “why me?”, I do say “why”?  And, I do say, what the F?  Really, I mean that, what the F?  Seriously.  I have been very very good.  I do the right thing, I work hard, I love big.  WTF?  What gives?  What is the point of this?  Why all of us?  And, yes, maybe a little “why me?”…

What more do you want from me Universe?  I didn’t expect to have life absent of any more curve balls, but this one?  My sanctuary?  Really, it had to be this one?  Of course, I review the other possible scenarios of potential disasters and there are not many I would choose.  Stage 4 Lung Cancer, no thank you.  David dying, no way.  Paralysis, awful.  Dogs running away, noooooooooooo. 

Last night on my author call, my sweet clients share they are writing more since I have been.  Their see their tired excuses, hear their old tapes and are learning to put their money where there mouth is – to write regardless.  Their newfound inspiration inspires me in turn and I am fed by their generosity of commitment to make their mark on the world.  They share their struggles with self-doubt, their ups and downs in the process – and when they tap into their fiery passion of why they are writing, they astound themselves.  It is remarkable to watch.  I am happy to have this outlet still.  It is one thing that is constant in my world where not much else is. 

I too have a writing deadline – a promised piece to turn in on Tuesday and a phone call with my new publisher to back that up.  Will I be able to write in that way?  My blogging has become my outlet yet I let it develop as I go – winding and turning at each shift in thought.  This writing will be different.  And, although she says I can keep it raw for the first draft, big surprise, I find my perfectionism rising to the surface.  It’s amazing how “having” to write can dampen the creative juices.  Suddenly it becomes about performance versus expression.  I want to get it right.  The driveness resurfaces.  All the doubts rush to the foreground and thoughts flee from my brain.  I wonder how will I start? How will I finish?  Am I really up to this task?  These are the questions of the hour….

How will I start?  I will start.  How will I finish?  I will finish.  Am I really up to the task?  One moment at a time, I am.  What other choice is there, really.  I could fold, give up, sink, run.  I know I won’t do that.  I will do what is in front of me; I will ride this roller coaster called life.  I will scream as I plummet.  I will laugh hysterically as I level off.  I will breath a sigh of relief when the ride slows.  I will enjoy the heights.  I will weep at the lows.  I will ride the ride. 

If I view the entirety momentous job ahead of us that seems to deepen with ‘must do’ tasks as we go, I become frozen.  But right now, sitting in the corner of this great living room in Lynn’s least favorite chair, I am ok.  My dogs are restless wanting me to quit this writing and take them on a w-a-l-k; the dishwasher is swooshing and doing its job; birds are chirping; my stomach is growling.  Life is happening.  In this moment, there is no problem.  In the next moment, there may be but right now my mind is still.  I don’t have to do this thing perfectly.  I can, will and am letting some balls drop.  I am forgetting to call people back, leaving my laundry on the floor, letting my hair stay greasy, saying no to new clients, moving very slowly on my inventory list. 

As my thoughts rush to the day ahead, I turn them back to right now.  I am not going as far as claiming contentment.  Oh no no.  Well maybe a small flash of it, reminding me it is there waiting for me when I am ready to see that it has been here all along.