Wherever you are, hang in there

For all of the people who extol its virtues, I’m pretty sure that there are relatively few people who actually live in that state of grace known as balance.

At least, most of the awake people I know don’t. We’re on a tear or we’re passed out. We’re Getting Things Done or cooked. We’re high as kites or low as…really, really low things.

Heaven forfend I offer prescriptions for anything, since I’ve got my own mess I’m wading through, my own silverware tangle to sort out, but since externalizing some of what I go through seems to be useful to some people, I figure I might as well keep on doing it. And Thursday’s observation is this:

If you do the work, it works.

It may not work as fast as you wanted, although it probably will happen in the time it should. There are plenty of cautionary tales for not wishing things on oneself sooner than one is equipped to handle them; enough baby actors have fallen backwards into a tub of sitcom butter and shown up 20 years later on Reality Rehab for us not to know this. But still, the Wanting gets so big sometimes, it can override everything: the good sense to take a breather. To spend time on “non-essential” (read: essential) activities. To sleep. To eat. To reflect.

I know, because I’ve done it. I’ve thrown over all kinds of things, including my good sense, in pursuit of the external. Which, after many years of coming up empty-handed, I’ve decided should really be called the Pursuit of Filling in Giant Holes with Air. Doesn’t work. Not even sure it should. After all, those holes? They’re your landscape, your badge of honor. Your map of Places Been, your souvenirs of Hills Conquered.

No, to paraphrase my wise first-shrink/astrologer, you don’t ever get rid of stuff; you just learn to recognize it, and do an end-run around it, more quickly. It becomes as if your shit isn’t there, but of course it is. It’s a part of you, your shit, which is as it should be. Otherwise, we’d all walk around the emotional equivalent of the Elective Surgery Squad, simulacra of our real selves. Pleasant enough (provided we don’t cheap out on the contractor), but lacking the je ne sais quoi of real, live human beans.

If you’ve been hanging ’round these here parts, you’ve seen and heard of my long struggle. Way back around this time in 2007, it became clear that things were unclear. I’d made a huge career shift the year before, from acting to design, and had experienced just enough success to realize it wasn’t where my passions lie. (Lay? Mignon Fogarty, where are you when I need you!?)

Believe you me, if you’re a highly motivated, high-producing type, there is nothing more terrifying than not knowing which direction to point your guns at. It’s terrifying to give yourself room and time and space…to just swing gently in the breeze. When I asked for help last December, it was with the firm conviction that a good four months of reflection would allow my Purpose to bubble up and reveal itself. Add the few months of anguish mounting to the point where asking for help was actually less painful than not asking, and you’ll see why I was a full-bore wreck around the end of May.

That thing about kissing frogs to find princes? Really, it’s about finding your thang, your path, your Joe-Campbell-style bliss. And Campbell, no doubt, would have agreed: fairy tales, like myths, are metaphor, coded for your protection.

I’m not quite ready to lay out the All New and Improved Communicatrix Offerings just yet, but my head is (mostly) clear on what needs to be done and, more importantly, my heart feels light enough to manage the task.

More soon. Much, much more…


Image by guppiecat via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.


  1. wow. sometimes when i read what you write — it just blows my mind. i kid you not….someone just told me a part of this last weekend. as i’m ending a relationship, i asked my friend who is like a brother to me, “what is WRONG with me? what is it that i need to get? to change?”

    and he said, “you’re never going to get rid of your stuff. the sooner you accept that and learn to work around your stuff instead of trying to become perfect, the better things will be. but at least you recognize your stuff. that’s a step in the right direction.”

    and really, in a world where we’re taught to improve, to work on ourselves, and to achieve…..i think that was the first time anyone had ever said that to me.

    and then i read this today.
    the universe is cool.

    all the best!

  2. Learning to love our own bad selves…so we can stop projecting all that stuff out onto the planet. Carl Jung says the primary task in life is to take back all our projections. I think part of that “end run” is genuine loving and deep appreciation for how that shit ended up there in the first place. Always for a reason, usually survival. Thanks for this one.

  3. This so resonated with me…. if not now, then when.

    Many of us women who were raised to achieve worked hard
    (in fact if there was a hard way to do something, we’d find it as success
    should not come easy, if you’ve got that Calvinist or Danish thing going)….

    Then there’s that phenom Jim collins noted,something along the lines of being good at something get’s in the way of being great… at something else

    Along with your other fans I look forward to hearing about
    the next chapter of your life adventure
    – where you are the major co-author along with the fates.

  4. Ditto what Deb said (mind-blowing), this one was extra-good and especially timely.

    “…my own silverware tangle to sort out…” Yes! :-)

    Thanks as always for sharing. Can’t wait to hear the rest.

    Dammit I had to look up simulacra. (hangs head in shame)

  5. Deb – I’m just here to serve the universe’s wishes—what can I say? :-)

    Jean – I always hated that quote until I wrote this post! I guess I just take things too literally, and I loathe the idea of ladies in pursuit of their Very Special Princeâ„¢. Talk about a disservice to woman- and mankind.

    Bon – You’re part of the inspiration, not to mention the biz model. We should talk…

    Annie – I’m just a little farther down the road, is all. And you’re farther along than you know.

    Mary Ellen – It’s interesting, the shortsightedness of a lot of non-progressive thinking: we have to ERADICATE this or DECIMATE that. Get thee gone, Satan, yadda yadda yadda.

    But when you relax a little and let the fear stop running things, you start to see how intertwined everything is. (Taking a few thousand acting classes and learning to see the villain in yourself doesn’t hurt, either.)

    I am the Dalai Lama. I am Idi Amin. I am (insert person you revere/revile here).

    We’re so attached to nationality and creed and race and all kinds of other arbitrary constructs. If I stop taking so much damned pride (or, conversely, stop reviling, depending on what day it is) my particular personhood, it’s not too far a stretch to start thinking in One-World terms.

    Kare – Ooo–that’s cool, good getting in the way of great. I need to do me some research!

    Donna – Haha–I look stuff up all the time. Even when I’m writing, just to make sure. Only way I know to grow a vocabulary.

  6. Can’t wait! And, it’s fabulous to watch the evolution. Taking on something like “purpose” is such a big topic, and can be so misleading in terms of what it actually means, and can precipitate the whole “dark night of the soul” thing- that it’s wonderful to have your example that yes, it’s worth the whole terrifying, boring, crushing, distracting, exhausting ride that it is.

    Can’t wait!

  7. Communicatrix, you can get rid of those parts of you that you want to get rid of if you want to badly enough. There are techniques that enable this process. Take for instance some of the Buddhist meditations. They achieve precisely this if one takes them seriously enough. They start off exactly the way you suggest – recognition. After that the process helps you lighten your baggage. That is why it is called enlightenment! Your frogs will start to appear fast enough!

  8. Mark – “Evolution” is exactly the word for it. It’s massive, it happens slowly and there’s no beginning or end. The trick will be in remembering this point of clarity when/if things get fuzzy again farther down the road.

    Rummuser – True! I know enough about buddhism to recognize that my process borrows heavily from it. Not too worried about enlightenment–I know enough about myself to know that it would be a foolhardy thing for an overachiever like me to make my goal–but there’s clearly much goodness in walking the path marked out by the buddha.

  9. Colleen,

    I try to avoid the black hole of the blogoshphere but happily stumbled onto communicatrix.com a couple months back. When I remember to stop by for a visit, I Always learn, and laugh, and feel a little less alone in this Universe.

    I am a taurus, with a virgo moon.

    Thank-you for asking questions, examining realities, and tackling TOPICS like Fear and Change. And, most importantly, for doing it with a sustained commitment to lightness.

    I just recently spent a couple hours absorbing Joseph Campbell’s guidance (lead by example) around the quest for meaning, purpose, the groovy groove (vs. the skipping record or end of side A…)

  10. Dorothy – Can be a black hole, but also so much goodness, right? I’m glad you found your way here. And you know, we’ll always be about the lightness here. If you can’t laugh, what the hell is the point?

    Bill – Thank you! The simple truths are the best. It’s getting them down to the simple that hangs me up. Glad I was able to distill it right this time.

    Karen – Haha! I’ll put you on my list :-)

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