"Write like you're a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone.”
– Alan Wilson Watts
Taking a deep breath....
I don't know.
I don't know you who are out there reading this, right now. I don't know what you are going through. I don't know what I can say, right at this moment, to help ease your suffering, to make your day brighter, to make you feel more at peace with life as it is.
I don't even know what to say to myself.
I just turned 38. My 20-year high school reunion is in 2 days. I feel lost, uncertain. Not in a bad way - but lost as a person who has chosen to walk into a deep forest and finally realizes that she lost the path she'd chosen several hours ago.
I'm just looking around, grateful for having made it this far, and at a complete loss as to where to go next.
I want to know you. I want to know exactly what to say to you right now. I want to know myself. But deeper than that, I want to explore.
I'm not that interested in exploring questions that have answers.
If I'm hanging off that cliff, hands slipping, uttering my final words to the world, then asking you to ponder, "How old are you what do you do for a living how many kids do you have" is not going to leave you living any more fully. Knowing these answers for myself won't make me feel as though my life is complete and that I can let go.
Instead, I'm racing towards that cliff, arms open, and shouting into the wind,
"fuck the answers!!!"
Because this, THIS is what I want to share as I wait on death row, as I cling to this one precious life.
This LOVE I have for exploration and not knowing and living life mindfully aware and deliberately and living slowly enough, consciously enough, with as much well-being as possible that I can and will change course when I'm feeling not in flow with this moment.
I want to live it so vibrantly that you have no choice but to glance my way and wonder, huh - what's that about? ... and then maybe, maybe try it in your own life.
I want to let go of these concerns over how it looks when I do live it. I want to let go of these concerns over how it looks when I share it.
This is too messy, contradictory, offensive, too quiet, too loud, too selfish, too unexpected.
Carrying all of that is too much weight.
Time to let it go and just live and share.
I want to let go of these concerns over the answers. Those tests from high school days where there most certainly was a right or wrong answer are so deeply ingrained in my being that I view life as a test now.
This is right, this is wrong.
This is how you run a business. This is how you parent. This is how you are a mom, a woman, a friend.
And if you forgot to read through the Life Manual that was given at the beginning of class, life becomes a frantic search for the Right Answer.
Fuck the answers.
I'm living the questions.
What if I trash up this website and make it totally different? What if I pull my kids out of school for a day and we all just play at the park? What if my husband quits his job or what if I take on a full time job or what if we pay off our debt or what if we take on more? How much laundry can I expect my kids to fold before they start throwing a fit?
Who am I in this moment? Who might I be if I choose wine over water, or if I choose water over this 2nd glass of wine? Who will I be after working out consistently for 30 days? What if I stop caring about how I look (to others)? What if I started caring more about how I look (to myself)?
How is it going to feel being at a reunion around people who knew a completely different me from 20 years ago - knowing they are completely different people than I knew 20 years ago?
How do you prepare a pomegranate? What happens if I bleach this IKEA couch cover? Why does the tiny snake scare the shit out of me while I'm not at all afraid to approach the deer that's at least twice my weight?
How will you react to a post like this?
I don't know.
This is what I'm exploring.
I'm taking a deep breath, and, white knuckles clinging to the cliff, sharing just some of those deepest, darkest, most embarrassing secrets:
I've known you forever but I still forget your name and that's why I never address you by it and sometimes I forget where I was going as I'm on my way there and I'm terrified as this happens more and more that it means I'm losing my mind
I said I'm too busy to help but "busy" meant I'm sitting at home on my couch scrolling through Facebook because I really just needed down time
I'm still not about to publicly admit my sexual and marital secrets but suffice to say whatever it is you think you are alone in experiencing behind your closed doors... you're not
I feel like an almost-total fraud as an artist and wellness coach and I just keep waiting for someone to call me out on it
....because I know I'm not alone and I want you to wipe your brow and breathe easier with me.
I want us both to say YES and I DON'T KNOW ANYMORE but I'M EXPLORING and that is PERFECTLY OKAY and hey, because I can see now that I'm not alone...want to explore with me?.
So here we are.
Sitting in this somewhat awkward silence when there's nothing more to say.
How will you react? What will I do after this? I. Don't. Know.
Let's go explore.
p.s. If you want to explore with me, share below anything and everything you are comfortable sharing. Tell me a secret or two and let me find out that I'm not alone. Step forward and share something that you don't know....but are willing to explore. I promise I'll pop on my hiking boots and start walking with you.