One of the recent prompts in the Quest2015 project I’m in the middle of came from creative visionary Todd Henry: “If you knew your life’s story will be written based upon your choices and actions in 2015, how would you live?”
(No pressure, right?)
At first I balked, resisted the question.
But wait…aren’t we already writing our life story every day, every moment? Aren’t each of us a living, breathing, acting-out-the-play embodiment of our life story?
Yes, but Todd’s question asks for a pulling back and taking a longer view. A deeper looking within, as well as out to that horizon-point of the end of 2015; inviting a more purposeful and intentional trajectory through the year.
The more I sat with that invitation, the more I settled into it. Realized that what has so often been missing as I have been growing up and moving along through my life, is the ability to fantasize or imagine an ideal future for myself. How could I gather and direct energy and action in any meaningful way without a target to aim for, without a horizon line to direct my sights, to help pull me toward it? There were glimmers, moments, false starts (or maybe just too-early beginnings). But mostly it was the persistent fog of uncertainty and indecision and self-doubt.
My Life Story of 2015 actually has its prologue in 2014.
As a result of big losses and gains and changes that occurred in 2014, I found myself poised on what felt like an abyss of opportunity. The chance to dream and dare bigger than I had ever allowed myself to do before. Still, I wavered. And then, sometime in that fateful summer, Jeffrey Davis posed the question in a posting about his upcoming workshop Your Brave New Story:
“What are you waiting for?”
Oh. That stopped me in my tracks when I read it. Took my breath with it. I was pinned, couldn’t look away. What indeed? Death had shown me how precious these days we inhabit are, and how numbered we can’t know. I felt driven to be able to answer the question posed by poet Mary Oliver, when she asks “…what do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” So I signed on for Your Brave New Story. And taking place a month before that, a week-long intensive workshop in the beautiful Colorado high desert with Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, entitled “Igniting the Creative Fire.”
I was not only stepping outside my comfort zone, I was kicking out its walls along the way.
I returned from Colorado and launched immediately into a 10-day, online writing “boot camp” with the amazing Max Regan – 1000 words/day. Prompt arrived by email in the morning, email the results to him by midnight. Not a lot of time for editing, but finished work was not the point. Putting my butt in the chair and writing, every single day like I meant it – that was the point. It was exhilarating. Then, two weeks after that, I was on a plane toward upstate New York and YBNS. Followed closely now back at home, by Quest 2015. What a wild ride. What a fucking wild ride.
I took on some freelance writing clients, I submitted fiction pieces and have received some rejections and waiting for word from the others. I started a Writer’s Blog (you are here) and even a fledgling Celebrant Blog, still in its infancy, far from polished or complete, but that’s okay. It’s a start, a committed start. I have been throwing myself, headlong, over and over again into that abyss of opportunity. Why? Because I feel like I can’t wait any longer.
If this is the prologue, what the hell is the Story in 2015 going to look like?
For the past several years I have, on January 1 or thereabouts, selected a Word For The Year. I write it on a post-it and stick it on the bulletin board above my desk, where it can remind and inform me, act like a touchstone for the year. “Clarity” was the word for 2014; I look up and see it asserting itself to me as I type this. Maybe I will carry it over for 2015, because I think I am not yet done with it, that I still need more clarity. Even though MY LIFE STORY may be written from what I do in this next year, the search and acquisition of Clarity is still a big part of that story.
And, as Serendipity would have it, a post by Marianne Elliott landed in my inbox the other day, the topic being Clarity. Here’s an excerpt:
“Clarity means clear boundaries. It means clear priorities. It means getting clear – as Danielle LaPorte would say – on how I want to feel and being clear on what helps me feel that way.
Clarity helps me recognise the days when I need 20 mins of meditation more than I need a sleep in. And clarity helps me recognize when I need a glass of wine and a movie more than I need to get another item ticked off my to do list.
I don’t always feel clear. Often I get confused. But I know how to find my way back to clarity – it takes space, it takes regular practice, it takes the curiosity to ask myself the important questions, and the courage to be honest in my answers.”
So. With that prologue, I guess my life story’s first chapter, as lived in 2015, will hopefully be titled “Getting Clear.” And we’ll see how it unfolds from there.