It seems I have not been writing much lately. That’s what it seems like – especially if you look here. But appearances can be deceiving. In fact, I have not written so much in all of my life as I have in the past month (though not in volume, certainly in consistency and pace).
I have clicked in to gear, even while failing and recommitting dozens of times daily, and I am producing more work than I could have imagined. I must admit that it was a deadline which spurred me on. I am hitting the road again in two weeks – leaving this old home of mine, this beautiful cocoon – and I have amped up my discipline in hopes of finishing the first draft of this massive book I have been working on. It has grown a bit out of control, and I have no idea what will become of it, but I can’t say I mind. I have discovered the true value of this creation is the creation itself – the act of creation, not the outcome. Truly expressing ourselves is an incredible path to truth and freedom. Results are far less than secondary, and never final.
I had been dreaming this book up while I travelled around Europe, and I was telling people all about it along the way. Over the past year (particularly the past seven months) I have finally been writing it. It has tasted some wild highs and lows, and yet I have been blessed to mostly sit back and observe these extremes with plenty of perspective, not getting too wrapped up in the waves.
It has been one of the greatest challenges of my life. I have never worked so hard before. It has been entirely effortless at times, and lots of fun. More often, though, it has called for a depth of discipline I never knew I had access to. And yet taking space to relax and do absolutely nothing has been just as vital as the work, allowing things to settle and connect. There is a fine line, a razor’s edge, that seems like a complete paradox, which finds me pouring myself completely into this project, my life story, even as I know, simultaneously, that it is ultimately meaningless. It doesn’t matter one iota. Not in the big picture. It will never fully express what it endeavours to express, and yet I sense it can express much more, too. So I guess it’s just for fun. I don’t know if I have merely imagined these ideas, but they have at least enabled me to create without attaching any importance to the result of the work.
I have been learning a lot as I have been writing this memoir. This matters far more to me than the thoughts, feelings and stories I have been collecting. I see that the work is, at once, entirely for myself and also an act of total service. It might just end up the world’s longest, most self-absorbed and self-revelatory journal entry ever. I honestly don’t care if anyone ever reads it. But I will keep working away at it, to bring it as near as possible to the state of being ‘finished’, whatever that might mean. I trust that I will know when it gets there, or someone will slap me and take it from me. Either way.
The act of composition is a funny one. It seems as if we are all doing it anyway, largely unconsciously, weaving our little life stories as we walk along our road, making it all fit, feeding it with meaning. To bring our narrative under the light of real seeing, however, exposing it to the naked page, is a daring act. It can be absolutely terrifying. I’m not patting myself on the back here, claiming to be particularly brave or courageous, either. In fact, I’ve never felt more consistently vulnerable in all my life. But I feel that this vulnerability, this uncertainty, has become some kind of strength. I am learning to lean into this mystery. I know intuitively that life is real in this raw open space. And I am doing my best to live from this tender, authentic centre more and more.
This is a complete reversal of the general operating principles that seem to have prevailed in recent western society. They seem to have prevailed. But we know that appearances can be deceiving. I see that these principles, of conquest, competition and consumerism – principles of capitalism, basically – are eroding the very foundation upon which they rest. The bloodsport of money, which we call an economy, if left to its own devices, ends up with one person holding it all. What good will it do them, or anyone else? Life goes on. Balance is inescapable. We don’t need money. Life existed before it, and will long outlast it. Seeds sprout and food grows. We share and we eat. We build, we live and we love. In the end, human community prevails.
But I have digressed, and will reel it in before this becomes a rant. I am nearly done a draft. Then it is time for a break. On March 5th I have a flight booked to Cuba. I am chaperoning a mission trip. I will likely be out of touch for the duration of my stay. I have a one-way flight booked to Venezuela on March 19th. I am hoping to drop in on a few friends scattered about South America. I have had some friends and family members question why I am starting in Venezuela. I have even had a few urge me not to go, citing political instability and great social unrest. I can’t say I know why I am going, but I trust life entirely, and I trust that a way will be made for me. If I am not meant to go there, something will come up and intuition will guide me elsewhere.
I believe this is the case for all of us. I believe that if we walk out in the direction of our dreams, even if it takes us straight through our greatest fears, we will awaken more and more to our deepest and truest self. This journey need not be literal. The real journey is within, though sometimes it may also be mirrored outside of ourselves. We are all creators, building our lives, blindly or otherwise. The more we see, the more pure our creation becomes. But it is dangerous to consider ourselves as ‘in control’. Stop trying to arrive. We’re already here. I feel the best service any of us can do is to simply let all that is inside of us out. A lofty ambition, perhaps, but absolutely worthwhile – essential, even. This pure creation is even closer to us than within reach; I see it to be within release. All we have to do is let go. See clearly. This surrender is the hardest work of all, and it is absolutely effortless.
Good luck. Travel light. Send me love as I journey. I will try to get some photos and travel posts up here as I am able to throughout my South American jaunt. As ever, I don’t know when I’ll be back, so I won’t pretend, though I don’t plan on more than a couple of months.