If I only push harder, I’ll catch a tailwind and launch my book. This month it will be finished, I said in August. I said it again in September. Burn those engines on high heat and surge forward. Push this baby into the world. Hurry.
My book project rules my life. Morning meditation has become a sit on the cushion and make a task list exercise, but surely that will improve once I clearly articulate my characters. My walks have become willful exercise rather than communion with nature. Oh, that will change once the marketing plan is complete. I’m not sleeping well, but surely the remedy is a smoother narrative arc. Don’t let up. Foot on the pedal.
A week ago, a close friend was diagnosed with cancer. OK, I can work through this, too, I thought, but her small tumor blocked my path. The brakes screeched and smelled of hot rubber. What the hell are you doing? Cancer scowled. Why do you live in a knot of self-imposed mania? Don’t you remember this life is a gift? Don’t you remember that the gift disappears before you’re ready?
But once I get my book baby on the road, the pressure will ease, I argue. Of course, I know better. Will life be quieter when I get my first rejections or even an acceptance? Will a reading or two or a book tour bring me inner peace? I spend my days writing about mortality and still forget the lessons. I laugh when I remember what Vic said about me: “They’ll write on your tombstone: She tried really hard.”
Yesterday, I took my foot off the pedal and let the engines cool. I ignored my book, thinned young lettuces, and chewed tender leaves. I took my dog Willow and my tense body for an evening walk and let the yellow shagbarks and red maples soothe me. I paused in my front yard to inhale the sweet scent of Angel’s Trumpets. I loosened my grip on frantic expectation for a future that might never come and gulped the green moisture of life.
More than hours of editing and better marketing ideas, my book needs my quiet feminine voice. It needs a heart that cherishes love and knows the lessons of loss. Don’t let frantic effort drown the Soul’s whisper, I tell myself. Instead, listen to the heart’s soft insistent questions: What do I want to say? Will my words help others survive loss? How can I help myself thrive?
Are you pushing your way through something? Can you slow the pace and let it take its own time? You might enjoy other blogs about the lessons I learn from my land: Coming Home, Small Goodbyes, or My Mysterious Home.