A week or so ago I scrawled this on the bike path at a park near our house.
You know the saying, you put out in the world, the messages you most need to hear. Yeah, well, this one had my name all over it.
For years, I have been a cheerleader for everyone else’s dreams. I have silently dreamed mine up, blew them like kisses out to the Universe but I never expected them to come true. Dreams becoming real, well, that was for “other people”, not for me.
For years I have had a persistent story about bounty and abundance being for “other people”. I relished and loved being a witness to other people’s greatest joys unfolding. I felt it was such a gift to be a dreaming midwife–to hold the space so others could birth their very magical dreams. I felt grateful for that place but I never once really imagined that the big dreams could be mine.
I could spend hours unproductively and painfully pulling apart where this story came from but my point is that I am ready for that story to go. it’s been a little bit hard to get there. See, this story protected me for so many years, kept me from taking risks I wasn’t yet ready to take. It kept me safe and secure in a world who’s logic I understood. Telling myself that dreams were for other people meant that I didn’t have to do too much trusting, that I didn’t have to take the big risks, the ones that leave you with egg dripping off your nose or sprawled out on the floor figuratively bleeding. That story let me be right about so many things, especially about the futility of trying something scary and so it kept me from being too vulnerable. I spent this week, often in tears, saying good bye to that story of mine and feeling terrified and naked and a little bit raw without her.
I have another story that I have been wishing farewell. A story that goes something like this: “Before you leap, have all your ducks in a row.” I am the queen of setting up those ducks. I am a queen of making sure that every “i” is dotted and every “t” crossed. I am the queen of taking calculated risks with very probable chances of success. I used to set up my ducks and then take those very carefully calibrated risks and call it courage. Up until this week, I had a whole long list of things I needed before I could lean into my dreams: financial security, a partner to support me, health, happiness, inner peace. Each of these things seem as far away as they have ever been, elusive preconditions. And I realized that setting up ducks is really just a gigantic stalling tactic.
That “ducks in a row” story is really the twin sister of the “other people” story. Its a story that lets me off the hook. Its the story that tells me its Ok to give up. Its the story that tells me that its safer to sit back and watch and blame circumstance. Its the story that keeps me from really feeling my fear and pushing through her.
Its time to let those stories go. For the last several years I have been practicing for this very moment. I have been saying yes to improbable and crazy things. I have been practicing being a beginner. I have been practicing failing and starting again.
I am ready to start dusting off some of those long cherished dreams and (baby step by tiny baby step) to manifest them without any promise that it will go swimmingly. In fact, it is quite likely that it will all be one gigantic mess, or maybe a huge miserable disappointment, or perhaps just a anticlimactic fizzle out. But truth be told, I am so very ready to stop wishing for these dreams. I am so ready to stop wondering what it feels like to be “other people”. Instead I want to take action, to simply lean into the action of my life and see where those steps take me. Maybe if I can take a step they will take me where I dream of going. Maybe they will simply take me somewhere else interesting. In any case they will teach me courage. Of that I am sure.
Don’t worry mom, I’m not doing anything unsafe here. But I am taking steps that scare me, that I never thought I would take, without any promise, shoot without any hope, of success. These steps might make a more courageous person laugh for but for me they are big.
Watch me now, friends, lets see what happens when I leap.