Hello, welcome to my new, first-time-ever blog!
I'm so glad you are here! Let me get you a warm cup of something delicious and nourishing, and then let's sit and visit for a bit.
It’s been quite a journey to get past my own fears and resistance to publish my first blog, so I want to start with…
A Few Words About Stories
In her book, "Wide Open: On Living with Purpose and Passion", Dawna Markova introduces the idea of "rut stories" and "river stories".
In my blog, I'll be sharing some of both.
Like you, I have stories I've told myself that keep me stuck.
Sometimes, it is easier and more comfortable, somehow, to be stuck.
I don't mean that feeling "stuck" is comfortable.
I just mean that it gets familiar, and we can get used to it, and it can look like a whole lot of effort to change. So we numb out to the scratchiness or pokiness, or the dull ache of wherever we're stuck in, and after a while, we don't notice it so much.
That's what I mean by comfortable.
The stories I tell from this comfortably-uncomfortable place are what Markova calls "rut stories." Rut stories allow me to confirm the rightness of the stuck place I'm in. They allow me to justify why I'm in it; they provide a narrative for all the reasons why I haven't or can't or won't shift out of it.
Here is one of my rut stories:
I cannot possibly start writing a blog; no one else will be interested in what I'm interested in. Plus, people will see that I don't know how to write. I can't ever get the words "right." I keep trying and trying, but my work is never good enough.
Then, there are the "river stories." River stories comprise a narrative that can shift and move and carry us forward toward something. They invite change and they facilitate change.
Here is one of my river stories:
If I wait to "get it right," if I wait until I feel perfectly comfortable and correct, I’ll remain invisible for the remainder of my days, and my life and my gifts will be ungiven. I want to at least try; I want to risk, so that even in failure I may find some small victory in the attempt. That is surely better than reaching the end of my life with my gift still ungiven.
The funny thing I've found about my river stories is that they have a power all their own. When I change my narrative, it seems to invoke something that can lift me out of the rut; some kind of energy and courage and confidence, a determination and strength that I wasn't aware of before. It is almost as though, just by saying, "I'm ready to experience this in a new way," something steps in and helps me to make it so.
I wonder if perhaps you've noticed these rut and river stories in yourself?
My River Has Rapids. And waterfalls.
Publishing my first blog post is a scary-exciting moment for me, because it feels like I'm standing up and waving my arms and saying, "Here I am!"
It feels a little like diving off a cliff.
So… Why "yikes"? What's the big deal?
I have envied… and, to be honest, sometimes even resented a little… people who could just stand up in the middle of everything and say, "Here I am! Over here!" like it's the most natural thing on Earth: people who allow themselves to speak up when they have something to say, as though they not only have something to say, but are sure that it needs saying.
I'm not like these people.
It's is a big deal, because for me, going "public" like this feels deeply risky. I like wearing my Cloak of Invisibility. It’s safe and comfortable for me. Standing up and using my voice means I could be misunderstood. I could attract criticism and unpleasantness, neither of which is uncommon in the realm of social media. It feels naked and vulnerable, and I'm not used to it!
I've decided to risk coming out of hiding anyway, to stand up and wave my arms and be visible anyway. My fervent hope is to do it elegantly and sensitively, with insight and wisdom woven throughout my posts. I want to be articulate and profound, I really do.
And funny. And clever.
But whether or not I’m able to do any of this, I'm coming out of hiding.. It's just time.
It’s time for me to move beyond the place where I try so hard to "get it right." It's time for me to turn away from the many voices that insist it's too scary or dangerous or unpredictable, and to choose instead to trust myself - and other people, the people who will be drawn to come here - more. It’s time to summon all I've learned and lean on it, trusting that it will sometimes be enough, and sometimes not, and then I'll have to ask for support.
But by then, it won't be such a big deal to do that, because I'll have been practicing trust.
The first step makes the next step possible.
I’ll say more about this in subsequent posts, but here is a great passage from Mary Oliver’s poem, The Journey, that sums it up for me:
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
A few words about poetry:
I love poetry, I love how people gifted in this form of expression can say so gracefully what my own heart-mind desperately wants others to know about me… and not just about me, but about us. I find that when poetry resonates, I feel connected to others - unseen and as yet unmet - who are in some way like me. It’s a common thread, a way into each others’ hearts.
So I'll be including bits and pieces of poems in my blogs. Until I can speak with such clarity and simplicity, I’ll let them speak for me.
I would like this blog to be a place to meet as friends or traveling companions, whether or not we've ever actually met or spoken before... a place to trade stories and inspiration and ideas, hopes and dreams, and even disappointments. I trust that we can buoy each other up.
So, here is the other part of the "big deal." I invite your comments and insights about anything I write here. Yes, I'm asking. I hope that my writings and the bits of poetry will stir something in you. If this happens, I would love to know more about the stirrings. You’re welcome to comment on this blog page, or if you feel more comfortable sending me an email, please feel free. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I will meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about
language, ideas, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.
Jelal al-Din Rumi The Essential Rumi (1995) translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne, A. J. Arberry and Reynold Nicholson
So here it is, my first blog post. Ta-da!
Thank you for coming. I hope you'll come back!