This was the short poem that inspired my year of chasing wild horses.
As I sort out agents and publishers, get small and ground into the dirt and do the dirty-work, like any other writer... and try to get over myself enough to actually send out these letters and pieces of what was both: a gnarly mess of the tangled bits of a broken and lost and lonely soul plunged into Dark, and simultaneously a chronicle of adventure, travel, faith, hope, acceptance, connection, self-love, nature-loving, and crazy-beautiful magic and Light.
Despite the burning urge to destroy every page and take up some safe and cozy knitting...
I can only say that it was all worth it. Every moment. I can say, for those artists with anxiety -- trigger-divers, fear-pushers, dream-chasers -- that it never really goes away, does it? That niggling feeling, inside, the trepidation. The initial rumble inside. The part that paints the world in much more colorful and whimsical brush strokes. As artists, we just see the world differently, and that must be understood, accepted, nurtured, and honored for the gift that it is... if we're to live and move in this world, successfully. But we grow stronger and more resilient, more curious and less guarded, as we move forward through Life.
See, the scales begin to level out, if you let them... where Fear was always way too heavy on one side... never giving that Love side a shot... if we pile on enough Love, consciously, heaps and heaps and heaps of it, from within, from without, from wherever... it comes back to center. Love rises up to meet Fear, head-on. To look it in the eye. Love, well, she has her own ferocity and her own strength, doesn't she, though she may present it differently, at times. Love is actually much more powerful than Fear. And dismantling anxiety gives it a chance, that's all. A fair chance. And experience then becomes a bit more neutral, like a blank canvas.
So, rather than seeing the potential of a falling sky at every turn, always ready to flinch and defend, we can learn to lower our shoulders out of our ears and gaze up long enough to know... that it's all still up there. Steady. Safe and sound. We begin to realize that the projection of the outside world echoes the Fear we feel, inside. And that we can tackle the Fear, there, at its root, and re-create the world that we see and live in, out here on the ground. And once we let that Fear lessen, we start to see... waves of birds in flight. Inspired formations of clouds. That Sun, that life-giving, warming, healing Sun. Rainbows. Sunsets. Sunrises. Blue skies and endless horizons and buds and blooms and kind eyes and helping hands.
With an open and healing heart, with the gift of forgiveness, the world, our own little sacred worlds, can become works of Art. Our own living stories. The journey that's worth taking.
I think that journeying brings needed perspective -- both physical travel and spiritual journeying -- we get to see Life from all sides of experience (and this can go very, very deep) as we look into Life's mirror, without flinching. We've got to see the deep, dark bottom and the ugliest and cruelest parts of ourselves, to find Grace and to be lifted into the place that we're meant to be. To see the worst and make peace with it. Forgiving the Self builds empathy, in an outward way. Then, such a sacred perspective brings gratitude and wit. Gratitude lightens the weight of whatever we're carrying, enough to open our arms for more. Wit and presence arm us with a grounded common sense and the knowing that we also need to protect ourselves from those things that don't wish us well, which really, is more rare than we imagine. And in that sweet spot of intelligent boundary setting, and faith and self-love in our open-armed and steady stance, comes Love. That sacred chest of goodies, that's been inside, all along. It's in our own hearts.
I sat with my inner William Blake, this morning. I spoke of my dire need to hide this work, this little inconsequential book of nothings, really, that also, coincidentally, bore my utmost vulnerability and questioning and seeking and healing and serendipity and insight. And he said that I had to let it out. That it was imperative. That those right here, next to and close to me, won't understand it, for sure, but that it's not for them. That it's for the others: the seekers, the wanderers, the feelers, the questioners and dreamers, the lovers and healers, the deep-feeling artists, out there... the kindred, he said, the kindred. That it was for them. Those special and dear ones that are so much like me that they are whispers away. That my little, tiny piece of experience and meaning, this bit of so-called nothing, could be one tiny little puzzle piece along the road in getting to their little bit of oh-my-God everything. Because we -- us seeking, wandering, creating, magical folk, well -- we need each other. He said. We are those wild things... he said.
** And moments after writing this, my inner Stephen King said... "let the reader decide if they get it. Just do your job, do the work. And then leave it alone." **