Brian and I are holed up in a cabin in the woods.
We’ve come here to work on the presentation for our new job that begins, with much anticipation (believe me), at the end of March.
We are putting so much energy into this job: writing and reciting the presentation, learning about the sponsors and the magazine, testing gear, and sitting through conference calls. We are working around the clock right now.
This cabin is the most peaceful place. It is set on 20-acres of skinny deciduous trees that are stripped bare right now from the winter chill. Birdhouses swing vacant and exposed from their branches. I can only imagine what a sight this place would be in the vibrant plume of summer months. Still, these low-light days of winter have their charm.
It is as silent as stone out here, the sort of place one comes to escape it all or to recharge to face it all over again.
Brian and I talk about the job. Truly, what did we talk about before we took this job? We talk about what we will do when the job ends in October. We have no idea what we will do when the job ends in October. Will we return next year? Will they even want us to? We worry about the job. What if we are terrible?
The morning is my favorite time to write. I love the silence and the easing-in of the early hours before the world outside is caffeinated and buzzing at its frenzied pace. Here at the cabin, I sit down at my computer each morning and wish that I was writing for myself.
Since taking this job my writing has suffered. I’ve been directing the full swell of my energy towards the job so I don’t have much left over to give to writing. It’s a matter of finding balance again and, once the chaos of this new beginning settles down, shimmying into routine.
Still, I worry, because I don’t want the momentum I’ve built around my blog, my book and our shop to suffer. I am worried about balancing it all, the breakneck pace of driving around the country with the slow, reflective space I need to write my best.
So I’ve done a lot of working and worrying at this cabin. No matter how many times I find myself nose-diving into the unknown, that splash of fear and doubt always manages to drench me.
Yesterday I was in the shower taking a small reprieve from my work/worry cycle when I had a tiny flash of clarity. I remembered that the best things in my life have always come after saying yes to an idea, opportunity or situation in which I have absolutely no idea what the outcome will be and which has the potential to turn out very badly.
And that every single time, after saying yes to that risky, terrifying thing, I’d sit down and wonder if I hadn’t just made the most awesomely irresponsible mistake of my life.
And then I’d panic.
After I sold everything I worked hard for: panic.
After I quit my good, stable job to follow my dreams: panic.
After I set out to travel the world without any prior traveling experience: panic.
After I wrote a book: panic.
And now, accepting a job traveling around the country giving presentations (panic!) and living out of a car with my husband: double panic.
Shouldn’t I expect this by now? I say yes. I panic. I’m like a predictable character on a bad TV sitcom.
Then I remembered that the times I’ve flung myself into the fire (and then panicked) have turned out to be the most meaningful experiences of my life.
After I sold everything I worked hard for: freedom.
After I quit my good, stable job to follow my dreams: my dreams became reality.
After I set out to travel the world without any prior traveling experience: my entire life transformed.
After I wrote a book: I became an author.
(Let those hard moments inform you, says Pema Chodron).
I got out of the shower. I dressed and dried my hair.
I walked back to my computer, stepping gingerly over my dogs that definitely do not panic, ever, over anything.
And I wrote this.
Please, send me the link in October.