How the hell do you write a book?
I have no idea, but here I am trying.
I figure it's like all things that you are scared to do, that you have built up in your head as being an impossible and even ridiculous goal.
Case in point, a few years ago, I led a retreat to Costa Rica with a great group of yogis with rather adventurous spirits. We decided as a group to go zip lining through the rainforest. I sat with this group and agreed that it would be a chance of a lifetime, one not to be missed. Great plan, let's DO IT. My ego was writing big checks, my mouth was shooting off a little more than it should have.
I forgot something important.
I am knee knocking, panic attack inducing, pray to deities I don't even know -terrified of heights. I get a feeling deep in my first chakra that things are NOT going to be ok whenever I find myself non on terre firma.
So, when the time comes to go zip lining, I am seriously second guessing myself.
I strap into my harness, sweat dripping from my upper lip as I try to be the "leader" of this group. All the shame and embarrassment of fifth grade gym class comes welling up inside me as I worry that I won't be light enough to swing through the trees, or that my harness will buckle under the weight of too many tacos. The leaders of the group seemed unconcerned about my harness not working so I trusted them. Trusted them while praying to Mother Earth and Father Time that I didn't want to fall to my death.
The zip lining adventure consisted of 10 different "lines" that you would ride from one point to the other. The first line was relatively "tame", meaning that you went slowly, didn't spin around, felt like you were in control. Each line got progressively more "exciting" for the rider.
I made it through the first 9 lines.
I was actually having the time of my life, screaming and crying as I zipped through the most amazing forest I'd ever seen. I got caught up in the bliss of adventure and forgot about my self consciousness, forgot about the chaffing of the harness on my groin, forgot about my fear.
The last line, the end of the zip lining tour, ended by jumping off a cliff to fly over a huge canyon that had water and rocks and probably piranas beneath it. I let every single one of my companions go first. My heart was racing, my hands were shaking, I was very sure that I was going to die.
The sweet, extremely handsome Costa Rican man who was standing at the edge helping people jump looked right into my face. I'm pretty sure he sighed deeply. Maybe with irritation, but I might have been being sensitive.
"You can sit down on the ledge and scoot off, if you need to," he said calmly. This was not his first rodeo with people like me.
As soon as he said it though, something welled up in me that came from a place deep in my psyche that I don't access that often.
I didn't come all the way to Costa Rica to "scoot" off anything. Eff that.
So, I stood there, glancing at handsome tour guide man, and I decided to jump like I have never jumped before. I knew in the moment that it was so much bigger than a zip line, it was a metaphor for jumping into all the areas of discomfort in my life.
I could hear all my friends on the other side of the canyone laughing and hollering at me. I felt like I might pass out.
And I jumped.
Flying through the air, screaming from a place deep in my body that was primal and raw....
And I landed, after what felt like an hour long flight, on the other side.
I collapsed into a sobbing heap on the ground.
I did it. I faced one of my most primal fears, looked it in the face, and fucking jumped.
And that is what writing this book feels like.
I have two conversations going on, one from my higher self, and one from my lower self. The higher self tells me that there are people who want to read what I have to say. That when I talk about writing a book about self-love and empowerment and transformation, they want to read it. That I have something important to say and that I have the skills to say it.
The lower self tells me I am crazy. I don't have anything to say that hasn't been said before. I am delusional to think that someday this work will be published and people will read it and identify with it. My lower self tells me to eat some Doritoes and take a nap. Who the hell do you think you are?
This push and pull is part of what I want to talk about. I want to explore what happens when you take one little step forward, one small movement towards what you want in your life. After that, taking one more little step towards what you want. Before you know it, you have started down the path to the life that you want.
I'm always looking for grand, dramatic gestures. I, like many, dream of the quick fix. Lose 20lbs in 30 days. Write a book in 90 days. Raise a perfect child in 10 simple steps. I want this book to just be written already.
However, there are no quick fixes. There is only the messy, disorganized, uncertain path towards the life you want to live.
I'm obsessed with the quote from William Hutchinson Murray that goes like this:
"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of iniative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and spleidid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sort of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raiing in one's favour all manner of unforseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have deamt would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets: Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genuis, power, and magic in it"
This quote is the "just do it" slogan of the philosophical world.
So, my dear reader, we are going to go on a mad adventure. We are going to uncover some truths, some lies, have some a-ha moments, and maybe laugh (and or cry) together.
I have no idea what I am doing.
And neither do you.
That's what makes this so great. If we stick our necks out there and take one little step towards what we want in our lives, we are closer to our higher self. The self that knows that we are each unique and divine and ultimately clueless about what the hell we are doing on our journey.
I pledge to you to jump off that cliff, over the canyon, to the other side. What awaits us there is anyone's guess. I am going to show up and I am going to write every single week, and at the end of this adventure I am going to have a book. One day, a young woman who doesn't trust herself or her desires will wander into a used bookstore in Prague, and she will find this book. She will read it and realize that it's ok that she feels lost and alone, that's it's ok to not have any idea what you're doing right now. She will feel comfort in knowing that someone walked before her, and learned some lessons that she's willing to share.
The idea of this young woman reading these words, sipping a cup of tea, and just tickling that part of her that knows deep down that her gifts are just as unique, makes me so unbelivably happy. Like I could have this conversation with women just like her long after I am dead.
Isn't it more fun to think that just by taking one little step towards what dreams live within us, that we could change the entire world?
I encourage you to think about what you really want. What is holding you back from taking one small step toward your desire, right freaking now?