Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. ~ Samuel Beckett
The only way to get what you want in life is to know what you want. But how do you know what you want?
Let's say you know what you want and you lay it all out there - in a notebook, say, or in dinner conversation on a friend's patio on a summer evening (aren't those the best conversations?).
Now what? That's the rhetorical question that woke me in the wee hours this morning and tormented me until I finally got up just as the first pink was painting the horizon, made tea, turned on a book light, and wrote in my journal. Whatever it is we want, are we really prepared to have it?
I love words. I love writing and I love conversation. I love reading and reciting and pondering all those ideas that emerge in words. I understand the risk that goes into writing, as much risk in writing in a journal as there is, for me, in writing to a blog. Maybe more. I've kept a journal since I was 12 (Dear Diary - Today Uncle Harry and Aunt Red came over in their new car - a Volkswagen Beetle! It is SO CUTE!!). I wrote almost daily until I was 19. Then I got married and I stopped writing for seven years. Seven years!! Why? I had no idea - until I started writing in a journal again and my unhappiness poured out, too obvious to keep ignoring. I was 26, I had two small children and no education, no means of supporting myself: writing in my journal was a huge risk because it woke me up to a reality that scared the crap out of me.
So yes, writing is risky. But not writing was slow death.
Knowing what you want and stepping up to getting what you want are two entirely different things. I can use words to spin the fantasy that by knowing I am acting.
I wonder how many of us are capable of accepting into our lives the very things we profess to want? This goes back to last night's post about taking risks. So, OK, I say I'm willing to take risks in order to have connection, to build intimacy, to sink into that sweet spot of love with another human being without the fear of drowning. Words words words.
He words me, girls, he words me. ~ Antony and Cleopatra, Act V, Scene ii
In order to have anything we really want, we must be willing to risk everything. We must be willing to fall, to fail, to rise, to fall again. Risk is a given; it is the subtext to "I want . . . ." It is the shadow self.
What if we rephrase this conundrum in a way that honors the magnitude as well as the necessity of what we want: wouldn't we then say, "I want to risk failing (feeling) in order to have . . . ." Now we're getting somewhere.
Today I'll be in an all-day workshop on this very subject. I feel the fear deep in my belly. I feel the excitement under the fear. Turn the key in the ignition; rev the engine. I have no idea where I'm going, but I'm getting there under my own power.