Yesterday, my part of the world experienced a rather sizable earthquake of 7.2. As earthquakes go, this one was hard to ignore. Over 45 or so seconds, the things on my office desk went from vibrating to shaking to bouncing to jumping and then back to a slight hum of vibration and then stillness. It was dizzying and unsettling and surprising and scary.
And it reminded me of my journey over the last few months. Finding and focusing on the bliss in my life is becoming easier. Being thankful when things are going well is something I can do. But adding that element of unknown, that element of fear and finding the bliss in that – well, that’s when things get a bit iffy. And as I push myself to be more, I experience that same sensation internally that I felt in the moment of the earthquake. As things and relationships in my life begin to tremble and shake and change, I find that catch in my breath and the instinct to step back and away. The movement causes fear.
And I am realizing that fear is a major stumbling block when it comes to my writing and is something that I can no longer ignore or dance around if I want to move my writing into an actual career. And I am realizing I cannot separate who I want to be as a person and who I want to be as a writer. I must embrace both parts just as I must embrace the unknown.
Just as my dog barks at the after-shocks that make our shoulders tense up and our breath catch, I find myself metaphorically barking at my upsets and unplanned episodes that have gotten me off track. In Art & Fear, by David Bayles & Ted Orland: “Making art can feel dangerous and revealing. Making art is dangerous and revealing. Making art precipitates self-doubt, stirring deep waters that lay between what you know you should be, and what you fear you might be.”
Marianne Williamson said that our greatest fear is that we are “powerful beyond measure.” I think she’s onto something – that our movement into that direction is overwhelming with possibility that it stops us dead in our tracks.
In the middle of the quake, all we could do was hold on and hope for the best. I think that’s the life lesson here as well, both in my jumping off the cliff into a new life and making those brave decisions that allow movement and change into my writing. Hold on and hope for the best.