“You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.”
— Ray Bradbury
Blogging is clearly still new for me; hence, the very few articles. At some point, maybe I’ll blog with ferocity. That’ll be my goal in the near future. Although, trust me, intensity goes into writing these posts. I want every word to be just right, which is difficult at times like today when I find the word “blogging,” itself, to be, frankly, grotesque.
I suppose I haven’t really committed to the blog since I started it, but I’m working on it, the way a very independent person eases into a serious relationship, gauging: Is this worth my time? and Can I devote the necessary parts of myself to really carry my weight?
At a minimum, I know it’s a good exercise to keep me reading this world and to keep me writing one of my own.
I’ve realized during these first 10 days in Bali — since I’ve left my entire life behind: job, house, friends, family, and phone number — that I’m afraid I will be forgotten. I’m afraid I won’t be relevant anymore. But, was I ever?
The people who have loved me will continue to, and those who often think of me probably still will. But whoever’s hearts and minds I rarely occupied then I will probably occupy even less now. And what difference does it make?
That life back there is no longer mine. I’ve moved on and, even if I were to return, things would never be the same.
Someday, maybe some stranger will read what I’ve written and will praise it. If and when that happens, will his or her words matter more than those from the people who have always been in my corner in every ring, reading every word with care?
This morning, I watched a small bird try to settle down on a giant, seemingly sturdy leaf and that giant leaf turn completely flaccid beneath its weight.
You see, I asked for direction today before sitting down to write this post. I had no idea where it would go, but the universe responds in all sorts of surprising ways, sometimes bootlegging the answers into the seemingly random thoughts and whims that arrive without notice.
The bird was a swallow. What more arrowlike creature could I ask for to deliver the news with one gesture that:
We are greater than we know,
We are meant for flight, and
Flit forward on your own unique path; change direction as needed
What seems the most secure and tangible — a corporate career; large mortgage; reliable, if pricey, vehicle; and latest something or other to stay current — might only be as load-bearing as that oversized leaf on a tree with shallow roots.
Maybe I knew this somehow, although on a primal and instinctual level I can’t prove nor even explain here with data.
But I am coming to terms with having ventured out into the world, open-ended. It has required setting down an old and dusty lens in exchange for a new one, and my eyes are adjusting more and more each day. Although not without discomfort.
It helps that I’m meeting a very specific breed of people here in Bali. People who have all made the decision that travel is imperative. Most run their own businesses. Many are writers or musicians or artists. They each have a cause or purpose and all have some kind of belief system, even if it’s as simple as a handwritten list of tenets by which to live.
There is no better word for them but expansive. They believe that most of life is happening beyond the constructs we’ve each built for ourselves individually, the ones we often burrow into for long periods and forget to come up for fresh air.
They are confirming for me again and again that the only way we can expand is by stepping outward, into our discomfort. Why is that?
Comfort is comfortable because it fits perfectly, like an ugly ’80s turtleneck. You don’t notice it; it’s room temperature air when you’re very still. And if, in the meantime, you have grown wings that are bound in place by that snug garment, unfurling is both painful and necessary. Like working muscles after they’ve gone days — maybe even years — without use.
I’m at this stage again, as we all arrive here over and over throughout a lifetime. I feel it mostly, lately, whenever people ask me, “What will your book be about?”
It’s been a hard thing for me to answer and the fear of never writing anything of value or anything at all starts spinning its web in my head. I can’t even say yet what this post is about, but if I can make it to the end, I plan on titling it.
It’s not that I’m doing this whimsical gonna write a book type of thing, where there is no focus nor effort, only the hope that if I just show up, the book will write itself. That’s not what’s going on here, although I’m guilty of having such notions in the past.
Also, it’s not just the one book. Hopefully it’s bookwriting as a lifestyle and a livelihood.
I might start with a book on my transition from a messy childhood into an only slightly less messy adulthood, the climax of which is this journey I’m taking out into the big, wide world.
I might write a book entirely of the stories about my Nana’s life because she’s fascinating.
Perhaps I’ll begin by writing of a spiritual journey, lessons in personal growth — a shedding and rebirth of sorts.
Maybe I’ll try my hand at fiction.
I really don’t know which project I’ll start with just yet, but at my core I’m confident that discovering my direction is approximately a swallow weighing down a leaf away. That the answers will follow my actions, however arrowless they may seem right now.
Until then, I’ll just keep writing the wave.
P.S. Bali is swell.
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