I used to dream a lot. Just dream.. I dreamt of all the things I wanted to do. Mainly to write. I made extensive lists of everything I had to do, so as to circumvent the actual writing. My fear based thinking told me that if I had a lot of other stuff on my list, I surely didn’t have time to write. I was far too busy I told myself, as I pushed my passion further into the basement of my brain, while my heart sat in the cold, dark corner, ignored. Like a forgotten piece of fruit that would soon rot. Only to be disregarded before long.
Isn’t that what our passion is, in fact? Pieces of fruit picked with our minds eye as the taste buds of our heart welcome and decipher their various flavors. We then become ripe or alive with creative dreams. Planting a new seed of hope that will grow into something more. Its roots branching out from our passion.
I can’t say that I’ve recently just discovered my passion – it’s been with me my entire life. Emerging slowly from a seed. I kept it wrapped with the most exquisitely beautiful bow. Mystifying me with its grandeur. Far too pretty to unwrap. I bound it securely with lots of sticky tape. Sealing tightly the potential of its gift. It was far easier to envision what might be in the box. It was simpler to allow my passion to remain hidden. Once in awhile I would pick it up and give it a shake. Certain of its content, fleeting as it was.
And so to protect myself, I cleverly spoke in future tense about writing. My family became accustomed to my dog and pony show as I said, one day I want to write a book and a blog. As months turned into years, I compiled notebook after notebook full of remnants of my writing. Scraps of my passion.
One day. One day. One day…
I’ve been writing non-stop for eleven months now. As I sat down to write the first paragraph of Chapter One, putting pen to paper – I wrote it out. I wanted to physically feel the dip and curve of every letter. Representative of the peaks and valleys in my life that have carried to this moment. It felt surreal and raw at once. I was at long last, sitting within my dream.
I’ve always been a very private person. Writing has transformed me. It has laid open my soul: naked and unedited. There’s a Robert Frost quote that I use as one of my writing mantras. “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” I’ll hang it framed, in my office. Reminding me daily, to sit fully within the realm of my heart and mind, to feel thoroughly and completely, so my words may have depth.
I don’t know what will come of my book…only that I will finish it. And that in the process of writing it, I’ve believed in myself and my passion more than I ever have before. It’s come full circle. “I” have come full circle. Fully embracing me and my passion. Writing has freed me. I liken writing my book to raising my children. They began as a beautiful mystery. I knew nothing of what they would become or where they would go. But I had faith in their potential. I believed in the brilliance of their being. I realize that you’re wondering how that could be, knowing we lost our son. Everything has a purpose and place in time. Our journey with him sometimes unraveled clumsily before our eyes, but mostly our journey unfolded magically : in the way that it was meant to be. I’ve always believed that everything happens for a reason, knowing that sometimes what happens stinks beyond belief. Based on my life experiences – I know this to be a truth.
As I began the first phase of my book, I had everything meticulously laid out. Just like a first-time mother, I visualized how I wanted everything to happen and in what order. I knew how many chapters it would have. I even knew some of the chapter titles that I wanted them to be. As all first time mothers learn, this first-time writer quickly learned that the chapters took on a life unto themselves. They, like children, changed before my very eyes. Telling me what they wanted to become. And so I learned to listen and pay attention to what direction they were leading me in, sitting quietly as they presented themselves to me. I learned that the more I listened, the more I heard. The more my head filled with words and thoughts I’d never before imagined. At times catching me by surprise, causing me to wonder how I found a phrase. I now know: the words found ME because I was finally open to receiving them.
I’ve learned to release the words onto the page, unguarded by the cautionary training wheels of preciseness of thought. My old mantra. I’ve discovered that free-wheeling down the page has taken me further than I ever thought possible. Open and free with no holds barred.
Recently on the Today show, music prodigy Alma Deutscher, answered Lester Holt’s question regarding being compared to Mozart, and being called “Little Mozart.” A question Mr. Holt certainly meant as a compliment to “little Alma.” The adorable eight year old, in her English accent, replied, “Well actually I rather don’t like it, I’m not little, I’m big – I’m Alma!” Well said wise beyond your years, Alma. You are very big indeed!
As I listened to her surprising, yet delightful answer – I smiled and nodded my head. It’s taken me far longer than Alma to feel big. And while some may find a statement such as that boastful (particularly if spoken by an adult), I see it as boldly brilliant. Owning our gifts and talents, our passion – makes us big. It grows us from within, spreading outwardly, encompassing everything we do. I too feel big!
Just the other week while watching, “the perks of being a wallflower,” (yes we are that far behind) there was a line that made me sigh out loud. As they watch Sam (Emma Watson) dance with a guy, Patrick (her stepbrother and BF) says to Charlie, “I keep telling her, ‘Don’t make yourself small to impress a guy.'”
We’ve all been guilty of making ourselves small to accommodate someone else’s bigness. Turning ourselves into miniscule particles until we evaporate into thin air. Disappearing into nothingness. Wouldn’t it be magnificent, would’t WE be magnificent, to instead exclaim, “I’m not small, I’m big – I’m Karen!”
A dream is said to be what we imagine or envision. Living big is when the dream becomes a reality. When you’re no longer merely the dreamer, but the one carrying out your dream in the full light of day. When your reality isn’t future tense but present day. It’s being fully present IN your day. In your dream.
And so as I strive to participate IN my dream…flawed and perfectly unfinished. I’ll gaze out my window: thinking, laughing and crying, with a look of wonderment on my face, as once elusive words are captured on paper. I’ll continue to be amazed at this messy, complicated, beautiful process known as writing.
To be sitting within my dream, watching it unfold, is truly a thing of beauty and awe. As my far reaching heart feels that which has been unfelt.
“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” ~ William Wordsworth