I’m sitting with my back against the wall. Literally, not figuratively. I’m in bed, perched upright with my blankets covering my legs and my bare shoulders leaning against the cool wall. On the floor beside me, a pile of my clothes which I had left on my bed this afternoon to fold and put away are heaped; a denim jacket, a crop jacket, a brown top, yoga pants. Together they form a crumpled, weighted, lump. A reminder of another thing I have to do.
It seems like every where I turn I have left myself little reminders of the next thing I have to do, alongside the other 10 triggers of busy already placed in my mind. The busy sometimes makes me laugh from exhaustion, or gratitude – I’m not sure, but at the end of the day I feel more blessed than tired. Lucky that I have things to do. Lucky I had purpose that day.
But still, I move too fast. I want to get it all done now. I want to overfeed the creative beast that hovers over my shoulder, pulls at my pant leg, wags its salivating tongue for sustenance; more more more. It always wants more, and I’m happy to give it. Or, I should say I’m happier when I give it. I’m nurtured to my core when I feed that beast. It’s the most symbiotic relationship I’ve ever been in.
In a recent email exchange with a dear friend, where we were complimenting and encouraging each other on our respective entrepreneurial paths and sharing some personal challenges, she peppered in the following sentence: “For me, you’re an example of passionately throwing spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks.”
It was a fairly innocuous statement and a compliment, stuck in between other sentences, but it stopped me and made me sigh. I understood what she was saying, but I wanted to write back; “Yes, and nothing’s fucking sticking!” Instead, I replied with a detailed and lengthy email about the realities of spaghetti throwing, with the intention of dismantling any romantic notions about what my life looks like on the outside.
…I’m 37 (almost 38)……Most of my stuff is in a storage unit. My most valuable item is a king sized bed. I don’t own a sofa or a rug or a kitchen table. I have no assets, investments, 401k’s or any other kind of western devised securities for a future I am uncertain about. I am constantly being told I need to focus on one thing and, quite often, I believe that.
I often wonder whether I will settle down, if I will have a steady income that I don’t fear will be pulled out from underneath me, that I will have a family or a deeply committed relationship.
Much of this seeking and exploring is a very deeply ingrained feeling of being lost and alone.
That’s the curse side of the coin.
The boon side is that I feel really alive most days. I move in an out of some of the most amazing conversations. I have had some really interesting lovers who teach me, constantly, about the many ways we can connect and, because we get so intimate, I am reminded – again and again – of the masks we wear. But, still, I never seem to understand that fully when I am in the depths of self-doubt.
Because I am learning so publicly, and changing so publicly, I think people trust me more – so I am attracting a lot of interesting people who support me in ways I am always taken aback by (you’re one of them).
I make connections fast, and deep. I am seeing more of the world than I thought I would and I am constantly amazed at how it is shaped so differently everywhere I go. There are peaks and valleys are everywhere.
I then went into personal details that I have no business revealing publicly but my point was that life is life; your life, my life, their life…it’s all fraught with intricacies of living an existence we do, or we don’t have control over.
Speak to any personal development guru and, with over zealous enthusiasm and positivity they’ll widen their already sprayed on smile and tell you that you create your own destiny. Speak to any spiritual guru and, with a solid, scary stare they’ll intensify their already glazed over expression and tell you your destiny is pre-determined, your job is to relax and enjoy the ride. Speak to any 9-5er and they’ll just shrug their shoulders and say “what are you gonna do? Ya gotta do what ya gotta do!” and then take their sagging skin, and baggy, overtired eyes and grab a diet soda and hover over a computer.
Speak to a spaghetti thrower and she’ll tell you that sometimes you do have control over your life, sometimes you don’t have control over your life and almost always, you have to do whatever it is you have to do to find sustainable joy. By sustainable joy I mean go and find something you’re fucking passionate about and sacrifice everything else that gets in the way (the use of the word fuck was necessary, in my opinion).
Recently, a friend told me of a conversation she was having with a local woman (one of the students at my yoga studio) who said she wasn’t exactly sure what it is I do. If you follow along closely, she’s right – what is it I actually do? One day you see me teaching yoga and promoting workshops, then I’m starting an interview project, the next I’m sharing travel articles I’ve written then I’m promoting a yoga & writing retreat in India. Quite a bit of last year I was a wedding celebrant, so that went up as a page to promote. Last year I launched a line of t-shirts and then I launched my own line of natural, handmade perfume and I’m also a massage therapist.
I’ve been passionately throwing spaghetti, fettucini, linguini and cavatelli!
But, it’s all been leading to something. Because, you see, I’ve always known that I needed to work for myself. I’ve always known that I wanted a business that would allow me to be independent, creative and offer me opportunity to travel. I just didn’t always know what that business was going to be, so I explored. And, I opened myself up to the possibility of failure which I ultimately saw as an education. It didn’t matter that what I pursued didn’t work, I knew I was going to learn something. Over the years people have told me I should focus on one thing and stick with it and I mostly agree, until I remember they’re not me. I also remember that I am focused on one thing; my own soulful happiness.
Throwing spaghetti requires some patience and it also requires you to get comfortable with the feeling of not always knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing but doing it anyway. This, I’ve come to discover, is the creative/entrepreneur’s path. On this path you have to get intimate with feeling vulnerable a lot of the time. It’s not a fearless path, it’s fraught with fear, but you let fear run along side you and you don’t slow down, or your fear will run faster and jump in front of you. So, you get up every morning and feed the creative beast and the busy feeling will feel exhilarating if you’re doing what you love.
As I sit here, the sound of the locusts outside and my heaping pile of ‘gotta do that tomorrow’ laundry next to my bed, with my back against the wall metaphorically stained with pasta shapes, I take a deep breath. I am joyful.
This is my most recent (and hopefully stickiest ) piece. I’ll tell you the story of this endeavor at a later time, I need to sleep. Click the photo to find out more.