I just finished writing my shitty first draft. This is the first step of Brené Brown’s rising strong process. And what a shitty first draft it is!
As the new year rolls along like an inevitable tide, I am faced with a situation that poked giant holes in the way I intended to live in 2018. Not only that, it smoked out my abundance blocks from wherever they were hiding. They came out rearing their ugly heads and gnashing their terrible teeth, just like Max’s wild things. I felt myself dropping into a rocky hole of my own creation where I was serenaded by my parched beliefs about money.
In the light of changes in Saudi Arabia and the apparent financial recession, I would not be surprised if many people are not sure how they’re going to make ends meet. And I don’t even have children. It makes me angry that money systems around the world can so affect the freedoms in our lives, lives we were meant to live richly, fully, and joyfully. But this is not a rant about money systems. I’ll save this for another post. This is a post about moving on.
I’m not sure yet how I intend to move on, at the moment. In the space of not knowing, in the space of stillness, solutions don’t always come hard and fast. I know I need to be ok with that and trust that they will come in their own time. This is the delta that Brené Brown talks about in her process, that magnetic learning space between raging about what made you fall flat on your face and between receiving the jewel of wisdom that will carry you onto the next thing.
I was telling my cousin Dalia yesterday, in the middle of my raging fit, that I wished my life was as tidy as Elizabeth Gilbert’s. She prayed in her bathroom. She got divorced. Received a lot of money. Travelled for a year where she had a perfect narrative arc and ended up finding the love of her life. That’s what happened, right? It’s a lovely, melodic narrative. Neat and tidy. You could even sing it. You could paint it.
I’m often confused by the bits and pieces in my life. It’s like a house with odd rooms and stairwells that go nowhere. Things started and unfinished. Things that come out of left field and hit the side of your head for no apparent reason. Awkward moments, so lacking in grace. Many pieces lying around, yet unstitched. It’s like that for everyone, though, right? I’m sure Elizabeth Gilbert herself would be so appalled at my oversimplifying her life.
But, having just received another odd piece that disturbed the flow of my narrative as it was building up momentum, I find it irresistible to return to the Eat Pray Love story. I wonder if my life is shaping into a decent narrative arc in the big picture.
Many gurus would tell you to release your “story” because it’s what limits you from truly living the moment, which is all we really have. While that resonates with me, I still can’t help thinking that even when we are living in the truth of the moment, we cannot really escape our narrative.
The man who went to work everyday, got married, had kids, and died at the end of his life did not escape his narrative. The man who left his corporate job and went to study meditation in India, received enlightenment, learned to live in presence, and lived happily every after, still did not escape his narrative. Narrative is the underlying thread of your life, regardless of whether we are present in the moment or not. And you will take that narrative with you when you die even if all you did in your life was meditate under a tree.
But it’s the urge to have a neat story-able narrative that comes up for me. Maybe it’s because I’m a storyteller myself. Or maybe it’s the need for control. My friend, Lujain, and I were looking at the spiritual interpretations of different diseases. In my case it was diabetes. According to the late Louise Hay, diabetes is the result of not letting go of control and pining for what could have been in the past. I’ve read this interpretation several times before but it’s so odd that it would integrate and create a shift at the new year. I feel I am now being tested. Can I let go of the inevitable narrative?
When I left my life in Dubai, I had a firm resolution, born out of a natural unfolding, to surrender and trust, something that was previously difficult for me to do – as difficult as a very dry constipation! But now, there’s a knowing. There’s a softening. Even when, in my current situation, I closed up like a clam and cried like a baby, I could feel that softening working through and providing a soothing breath. And with this softening comes an abundance of gratitude.
I’m preparing now to go to Bali. I promised in my newsletter that I would announce it. So here it is. Bali again? Yes. There’s more. I know there’s more waiting. I felt it on the day I was due to fly back home from Denpasar, November 2016. And I’ve been waiting for a chance to go back, not on stingy annual leave, but on Maram time. It is, after all, Maram time.
Worries are coming up, floating to the surface. I won’t lie and pretend I’ve mastered the art of surrender already because I haven’t. How will I manage in Bali for the period I intend to stay? What am I there to learn or receive? I am yet a fledgling learning to fly on her own without the generous/enslaving benefits of the corporate world.
As for my abundance blocks, if there is anything I've learned about abundance is that it has a lot to do with love. It's a mixture of a full tank of self-love, good habits, and good decisions. When a block comes up, it can wipe out the love tank. It can stir an old bad habit. And lead to poor decisions. So what I will be focusing on right now is filling up the tank and listening to inner guidance. And maybe look at the numbers for once!
So now that the shitty first draft is written and now that I’m swimming in Brené Brown’s delta, the rising strong process is leading me to the last step: the revolution. It gives me the courage to face the wind. Or rather, surrender to where it’s taking me.
I wish you all a happy new year full of the strength to lead from the heart and softness to let the heart lead.