So after a few months of editing and tweaking and obsessing...I released my little novella into the world last night. Wow. What a ride...
It is an incredible thing to envision an idea. To take a first step toward it. To say it out loud, to hear yourself saying it, and to commit to it. To declare it. And to follow through with a promise you've made...to yourself.
There is an indescribable peace that floods through us when we allow the culmination of creating something new. And again...a letting go. I may tweak something here or there if typos are brought to my attention...but for the most part, my little book is free. Out on her own, living her own life, speaking to whomever listens to what she has to say. I love that.
A question I heard a few times today was: "am I in the book? Where do you get your characters?"
All I can say is this: these people are inspired by so many. The women are an amalgam of many women, both real and fictional, with such similar stories at the root of things -- just at different stages of their lives, perhaps. Real-life connections always inspire my writing, to be sure. But not directly. Meaning, I absorb some qualities, some quirks, some physical attributes from a range of people...and I throw all of that into a blender, until I have a sort of stew made from their essence. And from this ooze, I craft entirely new people. And then they start to speak. I often say, "it's not my story, it's theirs." I just listen to it, and share it...in case someone, somewhere, is waiting for those words, from those characters.
And there are a myriad of characters in this work, for a reason. They all had different things to say, different behaviors, different ways of experiencing life. But we see all of that through Ana's eyes. We interpret them through her anxious mind, we feel them through her healing heart.
Everything that crosses or exits Ana's path does so for a reason; such is life.
Once we make a decision to honor what our hearts tell us, in secret whispers, in loud thumps...once we connect to something magical, something beyond what we have always understood...we see our lives differently. Each new event presents itself differently, as an opportunity to learn more. To evolve, to be true. Each series of thoughts can bear more weight, because we realize how powerful our ways of thinking can really be. Each moment...is new.
As we move forward into a new way of seeing life and ourselves...our place within it...everything starts to shift. We are evolving, we are changing. Collectively. The freedom that comes in allowing ourselves to simply be, is exquisite. We have spent generations and years trying to become ideals of people that may not ever exist. Believing what we're fed, from an early age. So we build up these ideas about who we're supposed to become. And we struggle, and we take on the burden of being 'not good enough.' To please, to impress, to find validation. We forget that we're pretty amazing at the start. And so, we need to allow this cleanse -- this peeling back of who we thought we were supposed to be. Layers of deluded and failed perfection. All of these labels, these descriptions, these mediocre summaries of who we are.
So we live out our lives hiding, in these shells...waiting. Until we are enough. Once I have THIS job...then, life will begin. Once I get THAT house...then...then, we've made it. Once I have more money....whoa, look out. And the big clock ticks.
I do believe that we are spiritual beings and that life goes on after we leave our bodies. That time can be relative. I have my own understandings about that. But even so, this particular experience of life...is happening now. Right now. And every moment that we wait for something or put it off until we feel good enough...is a moment that could be wasted. Not all down time is wasteful...because all things take time to develop, to grow, to ripen. That's life, it's the nature of things. A small seed may be lovely, in itself. But it must break open its shell in order to grow into what it's meant to be, so that it can continue to create more life.
That's the essence of it. Our planet, is alive. The birds outside your window in the morning, the trees that sway and lean with the wind, the wind itself...all of it is life. We...are life. To awaken to this fact, that we are living, feeling, dreaming, marvelous creatures capable of growth and vision and pain and resilience and creating what we wish to see...is life-changing. Once we appreciate and see, daily, that we are alive, and part of the same system...living in connection and unity with the trees, the whales, the insects, the winds, the rain, electricity, spirit, each other, and the whole universe, really...we are given a gift. A perspective. And we get to choose, through each moment, who we are, what we want, and what sort of world we'd like to live in and leave to our children.
There is a John Mayer song, called "Something's Missing." I've listened to it so many times in my life, and it always gets better. It has levels to it. The idea is that we consume, and buy, and spend, and slave away...until we have all the things we want. The fancy car. The big house. The new gadgets. Maybe we've achieved fame and glory and amazing credentials. And yet still...somewhere deep inside...we feel lost and disconnected. Something's missing. It won't be found in things. In wads of cash. In the "right partner." In the job, the life, that looks best on paper. In all the riches you could imagine. Or in the television or on the Internet. Because it starts within. It's not out there...
If something feels missing...it's time to look inside. Feel around. Spend quiet moments alone and allow your real thoughts to surface. The only thing missing...is you. US. Because when you find your inner peace, your Source, your passion...you find connection. To all that is. You are unique and special and part of a larger system. Just as there are countless systems within us, we are also a working part of a larger system. We are all tethered together. But we've been sleeping, and oblivious to each other.
But that is changing. We are becoming more aware. Slowly. In waves. And I believe it's a privilege to be able to share what we know and to be of service, despite ourselves, and our own perceptions. If we can see that we're part of a whole...we can see how our actions affect that whole. If we can find peace and strength and harmony within ourselves, if we can find that balance inside...then maybe the big, bad world out there will echo our hearts. Give to give. Create to put something new into the world, to inspire more creation. Love to love. To place conditions and demands on these ideas...creates conflict within. And thereby...on the outside, as well.
Our thoughts...are just thoughts. Connection comes through feeling and knowing. Patience and faith. Acceptance, struggle, and release. Hiding from pain, burying doubts, swallowing secrets is like stuffing socks into a vacuum cleaner. It'll clog things up. It won't work anymore. If you want things to flow smoothly...get the junk out. All of it. It takes as long as it takes. And then...you find moments of overwhelming gratitude. Awe. Beauty. Better relationships. Pure communication. Simplicity. Peace. A joy that you never knew was waiting inside you, beneath layers of wreckage and broken dreams. It takes courage to look at ourselves in such an unflinching way: being accountable, seeing the truth. But just beyond those clouds, the funk, the stormy weather...lies peace and a fresh, clean, pure space. Where anything is possible...really, if you want it. Know what you want. Because we're attracting things to us all the time. Know what you want, and place your focus there...instead of on what you simply have no control over. (Trust me on this one.) Uncover your spark, find your strength, and be what you wish to see. Forget the rest. We can only walk our own paths -- don't surrender that privilege to someone else. You can, you will...find people who feel and think in the same way and you'll have great friends to walk beside you.
We are the world we live in. Accept every little flawed, banged up, weird, wonderful, amazing thing about you. And love all of those things, the dark and the light, because they are all you. Love and accept them...and see how you grow. Work intentionally on what you aren't fond of, and celebrate what you love. Make peace with yourself, as you are. Don't wait until you're perfect to fall in love with yourself, with life. Because it won't happen. Love now, live now. Enjoy it. Grow with it. Love that you're alive and get to do it again, everyday.
When we can interact with people and intrinsically see ourselves in them, and respond from love and patience and sincerity, in the way we'd like to be treated...a shift occurs. Everything changes. In a sublime and wonderful way. Just love. It works. It's worth it. xoxo