Writing a book is a milestone; its completion, a turning point. As I take steps toward publishing, I’m feeling an inward shift—an adjustment from the solitude of deeply-focused days immersed in words to whatever is next. I have thoughts about what’s to come, but the thing is, these thoughts are simply that—thoughts. They’re ideas I spin in my mind to give me focus, to hold a sense of certainty about my future. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these thoughts, but the feelings that accompany them are not always comfortable—the underlying uncertainty and angst of sitting in the ‘not knowing.’
As I wrote my book, I didn’t always have clarity where I was headed, but the work pulled me in, it called me, it inspired me. The task before me held a '100% YES' quality; I knew I had to do it. It’s always been easy for me to push into life, making things happen just to create movement (I love movement). It’s uncomfortable to sit waiting for that next inspiration. I recall another time in my life when I was in transition. One of my teachers said, “don’t just do something, sit there.” I found this funny, but the thought of sitting and waiting for my next move unnerved me. The thing is, if I busy myself creating movement just for the sake of doing so, I’m not open and listening for the call, and I'll likely miss it.
When I was a young girl, my father taught me to sail. There were times when the wind would be blowing around us, while the boat sat still, sails luffing. “We’re in irons,” Dad would tell me. We’d pull the sail and the tiller in the same direction, encouraging the boat to catch the wild wind and begin, once again, to glide through the water. I didn’t like being in irons; I much preferred a steady sure course, having in sight my destination, feeling the wind in my sail and steering my boat with certainty and intent.
But there’s an advantage to being in irons. In this place of uncertainty, you have the opportunity to survey the wind and to feel into the direction that will be an efficient point of sail. To turn through irons successfully, you need to listen to the wind, assess the clearest and best choice of direction, then fully commit by turning the boat HARD in that direction. This is what I did with my book. It didn’t mean that it was all smooth sailing, but I was clear in my choice to do it and was fully committed.
As I find myself in transition once again, I’ve decided to take heart. I’m never in irons for long. There are plenty of thoughts blowing around, but I want to find the next '100% YES.' So I’m committed to staying still, listening to the wind and waiting for my next call. [photo by Tom Heck]