Go ahead. Stumble.
I am talking about letting things get messy. Well, you know, things do get messy, right? As much as we like to believe that our story is a clean one, one that moves towards the light, step by step, until one day we wake up, fulfilled and balanced, we know deep inside that that's a crock.
I am a grand starter of projects. Have an idea? Call me. I'll get excited about it for you. I have an exuberant amount of creative energy. It took me years, however, many of them, to turn starts into creations of any significance. And what I found in that process was very interesting and kind of shocking.
I found a veritable minefield of messy bombs that I needed to step on so they could explode all over the place.
Writing True Vines, I was about half way through the first draft when I started to worry. What would people think of the book? Would someone actually want to publish it? What did I think of the book? Would it be worth reading? Would anybody buy it? Would it be worth the money they paid?
Why in the world was I even bothering? I wasn't a writer. What made me think I could be a writer? Who gave me permission?
Who in the hell did I think I was?
The bomb I stepped on made me crawl under the covers and cry or zombie out for weeks. I felt shattered by self doubt. Until I stopped and made the decision that I was going to write the book anyway. I wasn't going to care if it sold, if a publisher wanted it, if anyone else gave a damn about it. I was going to write it because it was important to me. If nothing would come of it, I would somehow be ok in the knowledge that just writing it was a worthwhile task. I stopped wallowing and I put my canoe back into the current. But don't believe the wallowing was a bad thing! It was necessary part of coming to the conclusion that the book would get written at all. The book that became published, that people are reading, that has brought me so much joy and assured me that I am indeed the writer I always felt I was inside. I didn't need anyone's permission or approval after all.
Getting the most out of life means allowing the mess. Understanding that we are, in all our sum parts, quite messy, beautiful creatures, full of contradiction and pain, love and hurt, light and dark, who manage to still weave through and shift ourselves back into gear.
We get to be shattered. We get to be broken. We get to be not ok. And we get to understand that those are all parts of authenticity.
The mess has a point, and that point is passion. To get to the passionate part of our life's work, we have to open ourselves up to the fact that we are, in fact, capable of shooting ourselves in the foot in uncountable ways. It's the minefield, my friends. But it's not the minefield that you have to cross gingerly, hoping not to disturb the peace. It's the minefield that you must trample on with a pair of clod hoppers.
Because if you go after your passions, the peace, my friends, will get disturbed. You can count on it.
And you will emerge, maybe a little scarred, some mud stuck in your hair, with your chin set, your eyes clear and you will be saying to yourself, "There you have it. I did it. And here I am . Still alive."
More than alive. You get to have yourself, really and truly.
Don't fear the messy bomb, people. Don't fear it at all. Because good things, very gorgeous miracles come from the your very special mess.