A Story Without An End
I want to share an unfolding story with you.
It started several weeks ago, as I related in a recent newsletter of mine. Here is what I shared:
“I am in a wonderful mood. It feels so good to feel good! Something pretty amazing happened this past week, and I want to tell you about it…because I want to share the good feelings with you. I want to expand them!
The reason I’m making a point of this is that, too often, we stifle our own excitement. We hold ourselves back from getting our hopes up, afraid that we’ll jinx something or cause that damned ‘other shoe’ to drop. We dampen our good mood and try to focus on being ‘realistic.’
We forget that we have the power to declare what is real for us. And we also forget that the better we feel, the better our lives flow. Right now, in this minute.
So here is my good news: I was contacted by the CEO of a small publishing company in California to talk about my writing and publishing interests. We ended the conversation with him asking me to submit an outline and sample chapter for my next book – directly to him, without having to go through their formal submission process.
There is so much more to this experience than I can share right now – undoubtedly it will be the subject of a future article! – but let’s just say that I was tremendously excited after that call. And here’s the thing: I have no idea whether my book will sell or even whether I’ll have a contract with this particular publisher or whether it will be published at all.
I have no idea how this will unfold.
All I know is that I got the catalyst I needed to startwriting a book that has been stirring inside me for years. And yes, it felt good to have my writing skills, and my book idea, acknowledged with appreciation. It feels wonderful to stand in the field of possibility.
It feels good right now, and that’s why I’m celebrating. Because this moment counts. This moment is no less momentous than some imagined future day on which my name shows up on a best seller list. (Or doesn’t.)
This moment counts. And I love being able to share it with you.”
I love being able to share it with my Living. Well readers, too. Even though I still don’t know how things will unfold. I can tell you that I responded to the publisher’s request for a proposal, and ten days later he emailed me with a publishing contract, which I’m in the process of reviewing. So I’ve taken the next step toward getting published, but…what if everything falls through?
Ah, there it is: the fear that if things don’t go a particular way, I won’t be okay. This is the faulty premise on which so many fears rest. Accustomed as we are to measuring our worth in terms of achieving goals, the specter of not reaching a goal is terribly frightening.
That’s because we forget that life isn’t lived in freeze-frame moments of accomplishment. It’s lived right now, in this moment. Of course it feels wonderful to create and accomplish new things. I’m all for that! Yet we rob ourselves of the aliveness and expansion of the creative process when we become overly fixated on the result.
Regardless of whether my book gets published, I’ve already gained so much from this experience. I have renewed appreciation for how easily things can flow into my life, without pushing or struggling. I love imagining all the ways this might unfold, relishing the feeling of expanded possibility. I’ve already patted myself on the back for being so focused and responsive to the publisher’s request for a proposal. I am grateful to have a dear friend who happens to be a best-selling author and who has generously spent time reviewing the proposed publishing contract with me. I’m taking a deep dive into class notes and journal entries and old articles and new ruminations to generate fresh content for the book, gaining newfound appreciation for the depth and breadth of what I can offer.
This is rich. Right now, without a finished book or even a signed publishing contract. This is me, becoming a better writer and learning how to flow with the unexpected opportunities life offers. This is the creative process, and it never ends.
Sharing this experience with you allows me to appreciate it even more. Rather than catering to my fear of jinxing the outcome, I’m teaching myself to appreciate unexpected treasures in the journey itself.
There are times, of course, when we wisely choose not to share things with our friends or family or colleagues or clients. In fact, when someone is taking their tentative first steps toward a long-cherished dream, I often counsel them to hold the experience close to their heart and not invite the opinions, fears and judgments of others. Our dreams deserve a safe space within which to take root and grow.
As we begin to feel more secure and confident in bringing our dreams to life, we realize that acknowledging, cherishing and even celebrating the small moments brings added luster to our experience. Sharing those moments with others magnifies our feelings of contentment and affirms the specialness of life.
In the brilliantly simple and elegant words of Albert Einstein, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
Celebrate the miracle of your life. Of course you will trust your own intuition about when, and with whom, you share with others the inspirations, frustrations and surprises of your journey. But don’t miss your own journey. Don’t become so preoccupied with a goal that you lose connection with this moment and all it is offering you. Be willing to see the miracle that is right here, right now.