When I first got back from my honeymoon, I was so overwhelmed with the desire to DO something, that I promptly bought a bed, a desk, two rugs and some curtains and went right to work rearranging our entire apartment. (It looks good, y’all). And when I got done with THAT…I had a minor meltdown about my utter lack of additional things to do.
For about a week I decided I was going to quit everything.
I was going to quit teaching yoga, quit blogging, quit most of the things I am currently doing, and get myself a nice well-paid job producing movies…. I even went so far as to start sending resumes. Overly earnest resumes with doubly-overly-earnest cover letters, warning the recipient of said letter not to be swayed by my long and storied past as an actress…that I was done with all of that! That I had gotten real! That I had wised up and settled on this very sensible new path.
Luckily, following some very wise advice from my very wise husband, I held myself at bay. I was not going to quit anything, not right away at least…I was just going to wait. Because maybe the desire and the fear and the anxiety about what I was and was not supposed to be doing with my life, would pass. Or calm. Either way, I was not going to quit. (Yet.)
Had I been 21, instead of 31, I would have–as soon as I’d felt that fiery itch, as soon as I’d gotten even a whiff of the terror that I might be In the Wrong Place…I would have taken a giant hammer to the vase of my life and smashed it. I would have closed up shop and scrambled my way into some new (and eventually equally fear-provoking) situation. Thank god for age.
But, because I didn’t do that…because I wasn’t going to allow myself to do that, I found myself…well…stuck. Stuck with the feeling. Unable to relieve said feeling by just tossing my life up in the air and giving it a good swift shaking. And so I had to utilize some other skills, ones I didn’t even know I had. The main one being the ability to just keep moving. I made a promise to myself (after wasting a few days feeling terrible about everything) that I would not waste any days feeling terrible about everything…that I would just continue. I would continue to teach and continue to write and continue to live my life and I would not, as is my wired way, try to run away or fix or drastically alter…anything.
And as I began to do that, this crazy thing happened. I began to realize how much room I actually had in my life. Without spending so much time examining and reexamining how things are going (All. The Time.) I could actually start to feel the mysterious forward movement of things. And it felt–spacious. And full of possibility.
Maybe some of you don’t have this problem, but I am the kind of person who needs to clean the kitchen in my apartment, before I can sit down and do anything. And I try, almost always unsuccessfully, to apply this same way of working to my entire life. MEANING, if my proverbial “kitchen” isn’t “clean”, I don’t do anything. This means, because I’m talking about a mind and heart and thought-kitchen (instead of a physical one), that what I end up spending all my time doing…is constantly cleaning the kitchen. And always in my head is this imaginary someday, when the kitchen will finally be clean, and then I, finally, will be able to get to work.
But that someday, never comes.
And so what I discovered, because I made myself leave the f-ing kitchen alone for once…was that, the problem isn’t the mess. The mess is never going to be clean. The mess, probably, doesn’t even exist. What matters is doing what you want or love or feel compelled to do, in spite of the mess. What matters is taking action anyhow.
And I feel this way on a micro level, even about something as small as a yoga class…you know, there’s a million reasons in a day, not to make it to class. Too busy, too tired, too grumpy, wrong timing, wrong teacher, wrong outfit…etc., etc.. But what happens is, if you can just take that FIRST step, if you can just put your yoga pants on and get in the car or get on the train…the rest of it takes care of itself. The creative act has its own motor. So, as soon as you start the thing a runnin’, it will just take you with it. And suddenly class is over, you’re lying there in savasana, and you did it. And usually, you’re so grateful to yourself for having done it.