You know when you've found a gem of a book when the introduction speaks to you. My daughter asked me to look for a copy of The Alchemist, by Paul Coelho for her to read during English class. Being the good Momma that I am, I complied and then promptly sat down to take a quick glean only to slide right into the story. Right away, a light bulb blinked on.....and not one of those annoying environmentally friendly dull ones. A big bright halogen BLINKED. And let me say, it's about fecking time my head hit the switch.
For ages I have struggled with why I feel so stuck, unable to move forward with some logical plan in my life with respect to my writing. I keep churning the stuff out like a banshee on fire, but I have yet to do anything concrete with any of it except post it here. Up pops a new thought and pling, it spews out of me. (eeeewwww, I now have Regan from the Exorcist in my imagination....hmmmm.......maybe writing is like an exorcism?) The words flow and flow through my veins and out my fingertips. For the life of me, I can't do more than that except give it an unfocused attempt to take the next necessary step.
"We all need to be aware of our personal calling. What is a personal calling? It is God's blessing, it is the path that God chose for you here on Earth. Whenever we do something that fills us with enthusiasm, we are following our legend. However, we don't all have the courage to confront our own dream?"
These are the words that thunked me in the head. Not new words, but perhaps timely words. Paulo Coehlo then identifies the four obstacles that inhibit our attempts at following our own legend......
1. We are told from childhood onward that everything we want to do is impossible. We grow up with this idea, and as the years accumulate, so too do the layers of prejudice, fear and guilt. There comes a time when our personal calling is so deeply buried in our soul as to be invisible. But it's still there.....
This one doesn't fit for me, but it does for many..... I was one of the lucky ones who had parents and other family members who consistently told me I could do whatever I set my sights on. This message continues.......and includes my husband and my children and close friends. I've had good wonderful mentors in my past too who also passed on this message.... Yes, I am very lucky to have so many in my court. It's not something I ever take for granted because I know of so many who are pushing their legend carts uphill alone.
So.....I read on.
2. "We know what we want to do but are afraid of hurting those around us by abandoning everything in order to pursue our dream. We do not realize that love is just a further impetus, not something that will prevent us going forward. (AT this point.......my internal light bulb begins to turn on.....) We do not realize that those who genuinely wish us well want us to be happy and are prepared to accompany us on that journey. "
This is where I was hooked.....because I had twisted this in my thinking. I was bending and leaning on this bizarre assumption. Of course the people who love us and support us want the best for us. Why was I using the thought that I would push over the family apple cart if I switched gears in order to pursue my writing? Big adjustments have already been made around here, which I am eternally grateful for. It was my family....my husband and my children who gave me my laptop. It was my family.....who encouraged me to take a trip last spring to fly across the pond to meet a very special emerald friend.
It also makes me wonder..........if there was an important person in my life who only purposefully wants to make me unhappy, then why would I continue to have this person in my life?
I continued to read...
Fear again.....rejection, rejection.....
3. "Fear of the defeats we will meet on the path. We who fight for our dream suffer far more when it doesn't work out, because we cannot fall back on the old excuse "Oh well, I didn't really want it anyway...." We do want it and know that we have staked everything on it and that the path of the personal calling is no easier than any other path, except that our whole heart is in the journey."
Defeats are necessary aren't they? Mistakes are made and it's alright.....if you continue to learn and allow them to stretch you........ Easier said than done!!!! THIS IS WHERE I'M STUCK! I have to get past the idea that swims in my head............"What if I reach for my dream.....of writing and publishing and I fail? What then? What if my attempts to live my legend falls flat? What if I push and pull and try and then I'm left with a handful of feathers and nothing else only to have dragged my family through the carnage??
The suffering we feel when we don't pursue our personal calling is far greater than if we try. This is the key. THIS is what I must remember. It is not the end product, it is the process of living, trying, doing, crying, dreaming, DOING, pursuing, stretching, falling, jumping, yelling, dancing, praying, wondering, creating, creating, creating, talking, sharing, caring that matters!! Not a new lesson, but a timely, timely one. Reaching towards our personal calling most definately will include suffering, but it is also includes that life affirming euphoric moments which is sorely missing in our lives when we remain stuck, stalled and soulfully sore. I realize now this is where I am. I'm not as stuck as I think I am. I am going down the path of my calling. It just includes a few potholes I have to climb out of. And a re-jigging of the gameplan. I can do that.
ps. The last obstacle?? It has something to do with "what happens AFTER the dream is conquered? Then what?" Well, I'll drive across that damn bridge WHEN I get to it. I'm not there yet.....