out in the open, Central Park, photo by Meg Brothers, www.megbrothers.comSince this week's journey through the journal is partly about the things that we regard with judgment ("uninteresting", "unimportant", "too unspeakable to write"), it seems fitting to do a brief series of confessions here to go with it. The next post will feature a page from my own copy of Take Me with You.
But, in the spirit of Go Big or Go Home (as my husband likes to say), here's one to start us off:
When I got the email saying the Squam 2010 class descriptions had gone live online, I couldn't even open them. Now, granted, I had other things on my mind at the time, but even so this was a moment I'd been regarding with trepidation for months.
The new classes weren't easy to plan, to describe, or to send to Elizabeth. She even called one day to talk me off the ledge when I was feeling nervous about committing to so much so far ahead of time, and doing it publicly nonetheless.
"There's this book I've been working on, and I think it should be a class, and I hope you aren't disappointed because it's not really a writing class," I said, and then I told her about my emerging project that didn't even have a title but seemed something like a care-and-keeping-of-artists-kind of manual.
"I trust you completely," was her reply. And then she gave me everything I needed to move forward: understanding, permission and space to be in the emerging and unknowing between now and June.
The classes alone aren't my problem. The first problem is the audacity of my intention to write and publish companion books for all the classes I teach this year. (I'm teaching in the Spring, the Fall, and at Squam by the Sea.) I'm compelled to do this, but I have no idea how I'm actually going to pull it off. The second is the voice that is always waiting in the wings for its cue to jump onstage and declare while pointing to my chest, "Who do you think you are to do such a thing? What you know is so small compared to all that you do not."
And it's true. I do not know many things, and anything I have to give I can only offer with humility.
So perhaps the two problems are really just one thing in disguise: fear. Fear that I'll publicly fail to deliver all that I've promised, or that my work will be found wanting, which for me always boils down to the fear of not being loved. These things are with me always, quietly humming in the background, but these next projects have them shouting and gesticulating and hogging the stage.
So I'm taking my own advice about courage, and recognizing that bigger leaps need to be solidly rooted in bigger love. I'm trying to let love in more deeply than I ever have before, folding my hands quietly and handing things over to a more abiding trust than I have ever practiced, and confessing my fears so that courage can find me out in the open and not have to search for me under a rock.
Even though standing out in the open like this feels small.
What could you confess, in your journal or here in the comments section that would help courage find you?
"I see you just as you are, and just as you are not, and I have nothing but love for you." --Fortunes