I’ve been at another crossroads in the life of the newly published author and, for a long moment, it was a very yucky, sucky place to be. I stood, unsettled and uncertain, somewhere between a too-pregnant Mama’s urge to push like hell—to deliver success—and an opposing urge to give my baby up to God, to let life have me, the pursuit of success be damned. It’s all about my book, of course, and then again it really isn’t.
As usual, the sticky problem de jour was about a fatter, juicier matter—namely, whether I will trust myself and, so, the universe (which I sometimes call God) to take care of me. And right now my doubts about whether God and I are trustworthy look like this: Can I, with the book, practice the surrender I preach in the book. Can I let go of the reins (or maybe rains would be more apt) and bring to fruition the nuts and seeds I’m planting in my own strange, squirrely way? Or, if it comes to this, am I willing to let the seeds I planted die un-watered in the ground?
Trond and I had one of our big talks the other day and, as often, our big talk saved the day. I love those big talks of ours, over morning tea by the fire. We usually don’t plan them. The best ones happen when one or the other of us is particularly unsettled, upset and uncertain about something that matters too much to us. Recently, because of the book, it’s my stuff that gets us diving deep.
Trond had called me out a few days earlier to say he was very worried about me. He saw me getting way too worked up about the myriad technical details of redesigning this blog. He was so concerned he dragged me away from my computer into the blazing sun out front and lay me on the chaise. He hung a big NO ENTRY sign on the door of my office and kept an eye on me. He was right. It was obvious, as I lay there overwrought and limp, that the pursuit of success as I’d been defining it didn’t agree with me. I was making myself a wreck trying to make it happen.
I was still a mess the morning we had the talk. I hadn’t heard back from two special people I was particularly eager to give my book to and worried they wouldn’t want it. And I was frustrated about hard-to-solve blog glitches. Also, for weeks I hadn’t dared look at my book’s Amazon “ranking” or the “stats” about how many people were (or weren’t) visiting this beautiful site Shannon and I have labored over long and hard. I was feeling as stuck as I ever had in my driven pursuit to sell the book without selling my soul. And no wonder. Was I ever on the wrong track!
Trond doesn’t know it yet but he is one of the wisest people on earth. Ever so gently he began to tell me, for the umpteenth time in our decades together, who I really am and what I am meant to do. He started by saying gently,” it is not your job to sell the book.” Duh! is what I see now. Then, though, my initial reaction was more like, Huh? If I don’t sell it, who the hell will?
But even as my head went automatically there, and before Trond went on to explain, I felt in my heart how absolutely right he was. Four key words on this website describe to a tee who I am and why I am here (on earth and writing right now). These words don’t say anything about selling or promoting, or, for that matter, writing books for the benefit of others. The words are:
That is who I am. My job is to hold others’ hands, to light hearts with my heart, and to record for all of us the shared journey and universal wisdom that arises when we pay attention to the promptings of our hungry souls. Trond kindly reminded me that all I need to do is keep showing up—on the page like this, and in real life, when it feels as right as it did the night when I read from my book and led a simple meditation at Vicki Fox’s Women of Intention. No forcing. No selling. No nothing but being myself, in service to others being themselves. It’s pretty simple.
Those are my words, culled from Trond’s words, which I drank in like divine nectar. While I easily can, and probably will, forget them, they struck a chord I’ve already returned to several times since our last big talk. Should I lose my way again, Trond is blessedly here to remind me.
Categories: A Writer's Life, Surrender