“If you inherently long for something, become it first. If you want gardens, become the gardener. If you want love, embody love. If you want mental stimulation, change the conversation. If you want peace, exude calmness. If you want to fill your world with artists, begin to paint. If you want to be valued, respect your own time. If you want to live ecstatically, find the ecstasy within yourself. This is how to draw it in, day by day, inch by inch.” —Victoria Erickson
Thoughts of living the life I want, guided by what I want to feel — secure, alive, content, healthy, at peace — rather than fill it with stuff I want have consumed me this past weekend. I finished reading Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map, and it couldn’t have come at a more apt time in my life. Parts of it read like unfolding pages from my own life this past year.
On the one hand, I know I’m moving closer and closer to where I need to be and that, like any journey to new spaces, is exciting, exhilarating and energizing as hell. But on the flip side, it means moving further and further away from all that I know to be true, certain, familiar and safe. Giving in to chance and surprise more often I otherwise would. And finding new ground. Whether it’s people, places or feelings.
It’s a bit like feeling excited to cross over to the other side of the bridge to see what lies ahead, but feeling gripped by fear at the thought of what it requires to get there.
Here’s the other thing about constant, active growth — the kind where you’re in the driver’s seat, navigating, and not where things are just happening to you — it’s exciting and petrifying all at once. It’s uplifting and isolating all at once.
And you still want to go it alone.
Last week, a stray mention of a sum of money, triggered a world of feelings in me. Feelings I hadn’t felt in a while. Feelings I thought I was over. Especially in relation to the idea of money. But it momentarily turned my world a little upside down, to a point where I questioned a couple of major decisions I’ve made in the recent past. Decisions I have made in utmost clarity and confidence. Decisions that have since steerer my life in a particular way.
But, once the chaos had passed, it led to two pivotal conversations. One completely by chance, that I had with VC, where I found I was expressing myself more to sort through the thoughts in my own head. I needed to talk it out, more than VC needed to hear it, I thought. But it turned out chatting with VC actually forced him to come clean about some things that he was bumbling over without much clarity.
Here’s the wonderful thing I’ve experienced about pushing myself to be brutally honest with myself. It forces out the conversations I’m meant to have, it digs out the truth I most need to hear. Talking about it, cemented the ground that had momentarily shaken beneath my feet. And it set the wheels in motion in VCs head too.
The second conversation was a very deliberate one I had with N, that further clarified what I’d realised after chatting with VC. It settled me back into my space, secure in my truth. The truth I’d let fly out of the window with the mere mention of a large sum of money.
This idea of money, the notion of it that I’ve grown up with, that I’m trying so hard to change now, is such a distraction. Just the mention of it put a spoke in my wheels and turned things backwards temporarily.
But then, I’ve said it before: moving ahead is rarely without stepping back every now and then. It’s not without constantly revisiting and re-evaluating concepts, ideas, goals, versions of myself. And that process (that Danielle LaPorte calls making “empowered choices” that take mind, body and soul into consideration, and not any one at the cost of the other two) is where the work happens. It is at once empowering and terrifying to have to sometimes shake the foundation right beneath my feet, and break down and rebuild concepts that I’ve grown up knowing to be unshakeable truths.
Like the idea of money, for instance. The role it plays in our lives, what it takes to get it, how much does one really need and most of all how much is enough?
And that’s where things inevitably begin to get lonely for me. Because it suddenly feels like watching the world zip by in one direction with urgency and alacrity, when all I want to do is hang on to the side rails, hit pause, defy gravity and begin to go the other way. Nobody else gets why, nobody cares, nobody even wants to join in, nobody asks why. (Because, everyone can’t go with you everywhere, remember?)
Funnily, the loneliness hits hardest when instances like this come up. When I’m in the midst of a personal mental struggle. When I want so much to find sameness and understanding so I can talk about it. And then I realise it’s lonely because the spaces I have sameness aren’t always the places that have the intimacy which allows the vulnerability I now seek.
But I’m learning more and more not to fear that loneliness. To accept it as a part of this process of healing, growing, of moving ahead. It is a necessary (and temporary) feeling. I’m learning to stay with that feeling — the loneliness, the chaos, the temptation to avoid rather than confront — instead of numbing it or turning away. And inevitably waiting it out brings the right person, right situation or right opportunity to bare it all. The right person for that pivotal conversation that will push things ahead, pick up and fix the broken pieces and make me whole again.
And that feeling of realising I’ve made an empowered choice, that I’ve dug into the depths of me and made a choice that is the best for me at this point in time, that this version of myself is undoubtedly an improvement from the one before? That feeling of pushing myself to a point where there’s no running away from it? That is the absolute best.
Two years ago: Day 50: Major leaps. Minor struggles.