June 9, 2011 § 16 Comments
Before last September, I had never read a blog. Sure, I read some of those New York Times blogs, but I never could tell the difference between that and a real column. All it took to change that was to start a blog. Now, I am completely blown away by the quality of writing out there in the blogosphere. And the fact that some of these amazing writers have become my friends is even more wonderful.
So it is with this sense of joy that I bring you my first guest post (which begins right under the photo). Lindsey of A Design So Vast – a gorgeous blog, the reading of which has become a daily ritual – has written a beautiful piece about trust, in particular, trust in our path through life. In our dharma. In the journey we choose, or, more likely, that chooses us. As I told Lindsey, having her words on my space here feels like hanging up an amazing new work of art. Check out her blog and you’ll see what I mean, that despite what she says, she is indeed a writer.
They say that what you wanted to be when you grew up, as a child, is the truest expression of your dreams. Well, I wanted to be a writer, and also a doctor. Somehow I got lost on life’s roads, though, and I wound up with an MBA and a 15-year career in business. Over the last few years I’ve been slowly finding my way back to that original, essential dream. I can’t point to a single inflection point, a single day that I sat down at the blank page again. But I know that two things came together to push me back to writing.
First, while I’d always charted my life course by the next goal, the next achievement, there came a time in my late 20s when suddenly there was nowhere else to go. And without a destination, I had to learn to live inside my own life, rather than sprinting through it on my way to the next shiny brass ring. To live here, now, required me to sit still. This had always been – and remains – very, very hard for me. Being still and quiet allows the shadows inside me to come up and, probably hardest of all, forces me to confront the basic fact that life passes. I had to admit, accept, embrace, even, the fact that I could not stop the relentless passage of my life. I could not outrun it.
And secondly, the experience of having my children and watching them grow startled me awake. I had not remotely anticipated the heartbreak of parenting, nor the way this realization dovetailed with the you-must-sit-here-now message that was simultaneously ringing in my ears. The passage of time took a seat at the table of my soul and refused to get up. As Grace’s pants grew too short and Whit’s shoes seemed too tight overnight, I was unable to ignore the incessant turning forward of my days.
And so I turned to the page. To cope with my own profound sadness about life’s impermanence, I chronicled it all. I took pictures constantly. I wrote letters to each child on their birthdays. I started blogging to record the little moments of everyday life that I knew I’d forget. Were all of these attempts to memorialize my days, like insects frozen forever in amber? Or were these actually efforts to better inhabit these days, because I realized quickly the details only really revealed themselves when I was paying attention?
I suspect it is both. With the perspective of years, I realize now that I was simply walking the path back to where I started: to writing. Over time my writing – particularly on my blog, and the in opportunities that came to me because of it – grew in importance to me. It’s now a big part of my life. As I learn to sit more still, I am beginning to hear a voice whispering in my ear. That voice says one single word, over and over again: trust. Trust that things are unfolding as they should. Trust that I am okay just as I am. Trust that all will be well.
I’m not yet at the point where I’m a “writer.” I still work in the business world. I am working on a book, which took me a long time to say out loud. I am taking an ongoing class with my favorite writer in the world. I am blogging. I am also parenting my ever-challenging and ever-wonderful children and working at a job I genuinely love. For now, that is the right balance for me. My life is full and rich and chaotic and tangled. Writing is now a robust and full-fledged ingredient in the mix, which is something I would never have guessed five years ago. And I keep wading through the swamp, thick with both wonder and heartbreak, trying to write it down, trying to trust.