Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Quiet afternoon

I'm home. Today was a day of struggling with a bad mood. I kept telling myself to get over it. I kept not getting over it. I felt surly, moody, impatient. I caught myself on the verge of snapping on a number of occasions. I had to take myself out for a walk a couple of times and I had to take deep breaths a couple of times.

Nothing worked. Nothing made me snap out of it. And I did not have a good reason for being surly or impatient. Finally I said, "Okay, if this is the way you are going to be, so be it. I'll just sit here and watch."

And that seemed to work. I mean, there was no good reason to be impatient or surly or in a bad mood. So.

I listened to Elizabeth Gilbert's TED talk the other day. If you go to the TED website you can listen to it for yourself. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. I don't know a whole lot about it right now except that people, all sorts of people, give an 18 minute "speech of a lifetime." The speeches are meant to inform, inspire, surprise, and delight. I might give an 18 minutes speech at our TEDx conference later this summer. We'll see what they say about my proposal. Someone sent me a link to Gilbert's talk. And it resonated in an unexpected way.

She's the person who wrote Eat, Pray, Love. Truth here. I didn't really like that book. I did not relate to a beautiful woman's tale of a search for meaning. I didn't think I could use the kinds of strategies she used (primarily, it seemed to me as I read her book, by being so beautiful) to make my way through a time of upset. But her book spoke to many women (and men, presumably) and she was a raging success with it. Her TED talk is about the inevitable question of "now what?" She spoke about creativity and demons and such, and she also spoke about the kind of pressure she felt to write something as successful, as well-received, as, well, amazing, as that first book. And I found her talk to be surprisingly genuine and sincere and touching.

I'm still in the grasp of my own "now what" questions. My two month jaunt is quickly receding. Time speeds along and an experience like a two month long bike ride quickly becomes yesterday's story. People want to move to tomorrow's story. I, frankly, want to move on to tomorrow's story. But I also feel myself clinging to THAT story, the "old" story, the bike ride story. A big part of me does not want to let it go. I cling. I push away the "now what?" questions. A big part of me does want anything new. A big part wants to re-live, re-ride, re-dream, re-experience that OTHER story.

I'm in touch with a few people from my ride and a few people who have done the same ride I just did. When I meet one of those other riders we hug and look into each other's eyes and know that we have done something different, at least in our own minds, and we alone know how important it was. And we also probably know that it was really probably NOT as important as we think it was but we are reluctant to let go and allow our memory disintegrate.

Today I re-read a piece written by Christine Kane who is a singer here. She wrote about maintaining one's sense of confidence when one is surrounded by fear. The fear, as she referred to in this piece, of a recession, a collapse. The fear that drives us to shrink, hide, retreat. She suggested we take a different approach. That we don't pull back but that we push out more. She suggests we follow our own inner voices, the ones that can really provide a whole lot more reliable comfort than those scary voices in the news can destroy.

That seems like a good approach. Following the light. Following the light.

So I've decided not to let go of this bike ride that meant so much to me. I'm still not at all sure what to do with it. I'm doing a bit of speaking these days - I have four or five talks on my calendar at this point and that may be all there are. Or it may be that I'll trust my own ability to leap (like I did by even going on the bike ride to begin with) and will plunge in further, with even more energy and more confidence that the outcome will be more like my real truth than hiding out and succumbing to the fear would be.

And maybe by saying that holding on is just fine I'll let go some - and that will be all that I need to have it forever. It's hard to say.

We'll see.

For now I think I'll take my pup for a walk. She is one to make much simpler choices than me and so I think it is time to let her be the teacher. At least for this afternoon.

with love,


Vicki Lane said...

Dear Laurey,

I continue to enjoy your posts and to follow your struggle with redefining yourself now that the long ride is over.

And I did a blog post about you and Ruth Reichl. If you're interested, here it is:


Heather Masterton said...

Good one, sister dear!

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