Saturday, February 19, 2011


how many of us grow up to be who we thought we'd be?
I couldn't have dreamed up the current life I lead if I'd been given a year, candles and fluffy down pillows, a storyteller's gift and a crystal ball.

ride a bike for 50 to 200 miles, just for the fun of it?
take up running so that I had something to do when it was too wet/snowy to ride?
move nineteen times?
give birth to five children, and have two die?
be divorced?
wonder how I'll pay the next month's bills?
clean gutters??

a few things in my life were on my list, like getting married, writing, having my own business, being fulfilled socially, intellectually, emotionally.
but I'd say I've had to punt more than a few times, following blindly this spiralling, unpredictable journey I seem to be on.

the other day I posted and congratulated myself about finishing my book project. having forwarded it to the man for whom I'm writing and then receiving back his input, I have now moved into the work zone call revising. I've tweaked this word and that, added a name, changed a name, elaborated on a story. I've adjusted a time frame, altered a vignette, eliminated a gratuitous comment. a chapter is being modified, a scene needs to be fully rewritten. all in a day's work; all expected and part of the plan.

and this, too, in life. we tweak and adjust, modify, change and edit and alter. what feels right and true on tuesday may feel different to us on friday.
the challenge then, I suppose, is to retain integrity while flowing with what comes along and responding to what moves us.

I live in this precarious place called following my heart.
it comes with few guarantees, it comes with little security, and it often feels like I am walking a tightrope over a precipitous gorge. I make choices that others could question and fault, yet I have no choice but to be true to my deepest self. I walk barefoot as often as possible so that the soles of my feet can best grip that slender cable running beneath.
and I revise when needed.

yesterday I read part of what paulo coelho wrote in the tenth-anniversary introduction to his bestselling book, the alchemist. in it he described a bit of his despair over following his dimly lit but unavoidable path of trying to write and make a living at it. the alchemist has now sold over 100 million copies (I have helped inch that number up, as it's a book I tend to give away, necessitating my purchase of a new copy every year or so). but there were years of paulo's life when he questioned, doubted, and was filled with uncertainty over his path in life. he persevered, and the world has shown its appreciation for his tenacity, his commitment to the truth within himself.

we revise when necessary. new desires bubble up, we explore and fuel and fund their satisfaction. we stretch and grow and deepen. but we're at our best when the root, the core, remains firm and true. words change, thoughts flit and fly and disappear, our robes vary in design and color and weight. but deep within, the essence of who we are is best left to flower as it was intended.

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