You only ever experience a state of confusion when you have yet to decide who you desire to be. You are always in the process of becoming something while you are on your physical life journey, and you are the only one who can decide what that is. …
You may also experience that confusion because your very own limited thinking has not allowed you to even recognize what you desire to be, or you do not believe it is possible. You would be wise to momentarily suspend your limitations and allow your true desires to be revealed. – Roger
I receive these oddly worded missives from “Roger” on a daily basis. They often seem screwball, they frequently repeat themselves, but they’re just as frequently right on the mark. As was yesterday’s message. RECOGNIZE WHAT YOU DESIRE TO BE thundered off the screen at me, an announcement from my inner god.
How many of us struggled to figure out what we wanted to be when we grew up? And I’m not talking as a kid. As a kid I knew I wanted to be a clown – circa 3rd grade. Then a teacher – 7th grade. Then a psychologist – high school. But by the time I reached graduate school and was sitting in a room uncomfortably looking at my fellow students and professors and thinking – “I so do not want to be you when I grow up!” – I really didn’t know what I wanted to be. So I dallied. I did what one did in circa 1992 Seattle. I temped in law firms, did a gig as a barista, and was a writing hack for Microsoft.
So when I published my first book in 2001, a project that was more serendipitous than the result of hard work made toward a clear goal, I was thrilled. Thrilled to have a book, yes. But more so, thrilled to know at last what I was: a writer. I could go to parties and have an answer for that tiresome question, “So, what do you do?” And I had something to put down on forms. Not only was it something to do, it was an interesting thing to do. People responded well to it; they perked up and leaned in. “Oh, really? What do you write?”
Now I have three published books – the third comes out imminently (see compelling photo to the left!) – and am signing a contract for a fourth. I have two other ideas in the hopper. All of which excites me and makes me proud. And yet, I’m not sure this is what I want to do. I have some confusion. Which is why Roger’s words spoke to me: You may also experience that confusion because your very own limited thinking has not allowed you to even recognize what you desire to be, or you do not believe it is possible.
ARRIVE in this, your short, short, painfully exuberant, noisy, difficult, beautiful life.
When I sit and breathe and listen, I know that the most work I’ve done to date in order to BE who and what I desire to be is via parenting, yoga and writing – but writing as a tool for understanding and digesting life. Writing as a mode for reaching others. Not writing for writing’s sake. Not writing as the ultimate goal, though a pretty sentence never hurt anyone, but writing as a tool for transformation. And that’s what I want to do now – projects that help others to settle into their own lives much the same way as I encourage the people in my yoga classes (I don’t like calling them students because aren’t we all students?) to settle into their mats. Sink down. Be in your body, with your breath. ARRIVE in this, your short, short, painfully exuberant, noisy, difficult, beautiful life.
While I may feel confusion, it turns out that I’ve also placed my feet on the right path – even if my brain isn’t always wholly involved. There is a rightness to the projects on my immediate horizon in that they will all done with other people. Like parenting and like a yoga class, these are joint adventures in understanding. They are a dance of talking and writing , listening and communicating back and forth what the other heard. We learn the most when we are in relation to each other. (Which is why I’ll take a good memoir over a novel any day; the latter too often feels like it was created in a vacuum.) Collaborate. Dance with others. That is what moves me.
Much as I sometimes want to run to that solitary mountain hut, I know that the mess and vibrancy of other people is ultimately what I desire. And actually being of help to others – a midwife of sorts, a tool for transformation and understanding – is what I long for and yet don’t quite believe possible. Suspend your limitations ... Indeed. Write it down. Do the pose. And then inhabit it.