“It takes six million grains of pollen to seed one peony, and salmon need a lifetime of swimming to find their way home, so we mustn’t be alarmed or discouraged when it takes us years to find love or years to understand our calling in life. Everything in nature is given some form of resilience by which it can rehearse finding its way, so that, when it does, it is practiced and ready to seize the moment.”
– Mark Nepo
One year ago today I typed my very first blog post for Courage 2 Create.
Once my post was published, I read it out loud to my sister and a friend of mine. (Both of them had been in the room with me as I was writing it.) It felt awkward, but it also felt right to say for the first time what I actually felt, what I actually believed, and what I actually wanted. What I wrote in that very first blog post came from deep inside me–unfiltered and unadulterated. My heart sang and I wrote down every musical note that it hit, and I didn’t leave out a single melody.
Who knew that just being me would bring so much wonder and joy into my life?
I shut my laptop that day and I joked to my sister that no one was every going to read this blog.
I’m happy to say that today, one year later, I was very wrong.
I’m not going to talk about what led me to that first post, and I already discussed in detail the challenges I was facing at the time I started this blog elsewhere, so I’m not going to repeat all that here. I’m also not going to talk about what happened during the first year of (Courage 2 Create), because you already know what happened. You have been witnessing it yourself, because I’ve shared with you every detail of the journey along the way. I’ve shared with you every up, and every down, and everything in between. You’ve seen me look ugly, and you’ve seen me look pretty. You’ve seen me nearly give up and you’ve seen me summon up some mysterious strength that helped me keep going, when everything seemed impossible. You’ve seen me grow, you’ve seen me change, and you’ve seen me transform and become someone who is so much more himself than he ever was before.
Many of you, in this past year, have grown with me. What I found to help me solve my problems, has helped you solve your problems. The wisdom I gained from all the challenges that I faced, was wisdom you were looking for as well. The clarity I was seeking, was also the clarity you were seeking. Through your comments and our discussions with each other, we were able to join fingers and point out the problem–whether it was a problem of the heart, the mind, the soul, the body, or the community. Together, with me, you looked for healing, you looked for peace, you looked for skill, and you looked for growth. Together, with me, you discovered hope, you discovered strength, and you discovered compassion for yourself that you didn’t know you had.
Together, with me, you learned how to believe in yourself, you learned how to trust yourself, and you learned to give yourself the chance you always wanted someone else to give you. Together, with me, you learned to shine, not because you wanted to please or impress others, but because shining was just in your very nature. Together, with me, you learned to laugh, to love, to smile, and to sit still, while everyone else clamored around in chaos.
Most importantly, we both discovered that taking a risk is required in return for every moment of joy, happiness and fulfillment. We must be willing to take a risk day-in and day-out in order to truly manifest what we really want to happen in our lives and in our work. No one else can take that risk for us. We must be willing to do what we always felt, deep inside, we needed to do. We must also do what is sometimes the hardest thing to do: lay the groundwork–the foundation–for what we want our life to be like and for what we want our life’s work to become.
The first draft of a novel is just like that: it is laying down the foundation of something you hope will be wonderful.
Once the initial idea is set on the page, once the purpose of the story is laid out, once the risk to create is taken, what lies next is the execution of that idea.
When a dancer choreographs a piece he will perform, he has accomplished a difficult and important task. But now that the basic choreography is in place, the dancer must work to sharpen every angle, every twirl, every curve of the thigh, every dip, ever bend, every leap, and every fall.
At this point of the journey, I feel like I’ve laid the groundwork and have set down what the story needs to be. I’ve taken the courage to pin-point the dream, to clarify what I wanted, to start the process, and now comes the need to summon up a different kind of courage: the courage to execute my dream, to achieve what I want, and to move this process forward.
As I move into the second year of the C2C, I realize that although things have gotten easier, they haven’t gotten easy. I may have become more comfortable taking risks, but I still am not sure whether I am resilient enough to handle all the new challenges that risk has awarded me with. Writing the first draft of a book is challenging, but keeping it up is going to be just as challenging. I feel I am entering a territory were fewer and fewer people have journeyed into, and I’m starting to feel more like one of the last three victims of a murder mystery. (If I don’t figure out that it’s Mr. Green in The Conservatory with the candlestick sooner than the other two guys–then I’m done for.)
But this is all good news for you, because it means that there’s still a whole lot I have to learn, and a whole lot more that I’ll be able to teach you.
If you’ve been with me from the beginning, I want to thank you so much, from the very bottom of my heart, for hanging around with me this long.
Now, to all my old readers, and to all my new ones:
Welcome to Chapter Two.
If you loved Chapter One–you ain’t seen nothing yet.
much “Happy One Year Anniversary Courage 2 Create!”
What was your favorite moment, discussion, or lesson during the first year of Courage 2 Create? Please share with all of us in the comments below.
>>> Novel Update: I’ve picked up my completed first draft and I started reading it and making general notes. I won’t be tracking my progress by chapter anymore, as I will be all over the place making more general revisions. The first thing that I will be focused on across the board will be ironing out the plot. Wish me luck!
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