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I'm going out on a limb here 🤗
Navigating life with one-degree turns. 🔄
This is going to be a big update — not a longer-than-usual update, but BIG in terms of the step I’m taking here with this community. I’ll get to that in a sec. If you’re too eager, scroll down to take a look!
Something different this month! I’m going to riff off of a reader question because she really got my wheels turning! A few weeks ago I posted a quote on social media from Martha Beck’s book, The Way of Integrity:
“Every single choice is a chance to turn toward the life you really want.”
When I read that quote, I realized that it’s essentially what my memoir is really about (thank you, Martha!) Sometimes it’s hard to summarize these things. Not only did it give me a new focus for my manuscript but it has greatly inspired me in my life to continue shaping it into what I want.
But then Anita had a question: What I really am wanting to figure out is how to determine “the life I really want…” I get so overwhelmed just thinking about it that it seems I never get to the bends you are referring to. How did you start on that journey?
SUCH a good question. Thankfully I’ve been writing a whole book about it so it’s pretty fresh on my mind. 😊
For many years I let guilt win in my battle for what I really wanted. You see, I knew what made me feel good. What felt “right” for me. What resonated. But I was so worried about disappointing others and keeping the peace that I suppressed some of my deepest thoughts and desires (any other people pleasers out there?). Slowly, I began to explore the things that made me feel good or that lit a spark for me. I allowed myself to indulge in them even when feelings of guilt were knocking at the door. Gradually, almost imperceptibly, my life began to shift.
Does anything come to mind? I think you know when you’re in it.
You’ve most likely heard the Lao Tzu quote, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I think determining the life we want comes in a similar fashion. In The Way of Integrity, Martha Beck describes it as a series of “one-degree turns.” We don’t need to make the changes all at once. It’s in a series of tiny choices that we make that gradually turn the ship in a new direction. Part of this, says Beck, is to stop lying altogether and often that means seeking the truth from ourselves.
Ask yourself what you truly want in a situation. Did a friend offer you tea or coffee when you went for a visit but you turned them down because you didn’t want to inconvenience them? But really you felt foggy brained after an early morning wake-up with your toddler and all you desperately wanted was a caffeine boost?
We realize over time that it’s in these micro choices that we start differentiating what we truly want. When we become more assertive we begin taking control of the bigger things.
Here’s how this has been playing out for me:
I’m turning down contracts that don’t align with my personal parameters (that it pays my minimum fee and is something I actually want to spend my time doing).
I asked my husband to book my daughter’s dentist appointment.
I went to bed early when I wasn’t feeling well.
I’ve stopped chasing people who wanted to connect but didn’t do their part to make it happen.
I’m investing small amounts of money each week so that we can afford to travel the way we want to.
The main thing is to ask yourself: What makes you feel good? What brings you joy? After that, as Beck says, do more of things you love and less of the things you don’t. In that way, it’s quite simple!
So here’s where I’m going out on a limb:
I have been a professional writer for about eleven years. That means I get paid to write. Yet there is a lot of writing I do for free, such as Field Notes, and I do it for the joy of it. What I’m finding is that often my creative writing gets put by the wayside when more immediate paid contracts come across my desk. But I’d like to create more time to pursue the kind of writing I feel truly called to, which involves monetizing some of my work. Many of you have expressed that you love these Field Notes and my social media updates (thank you!) and I’d like to be giving you even more as I feel like it’s what I’m meant to do on this planet.
So, starting today I’m offering a paid subscription option to this Substack (just $8/month or $85/year). Field Notes will remain free! But my paying supporters will receive an additional update from me each month called Letters Home 💌, which will give you an even more transparent window behind the scenes of where I’m at and what I’m learning off the beaten track. Call it your direct line on me. I’ll also throw in the odd special just for paying subscribers!
Become a founding member and I’ll send you a signed copy of my new memoir when it comes out next year. 😊 Use the buttons below to select your option and THANK YOU in advance!
What’s caught my attention lately… ✨
Resilient, by Wayne Simpson. This book featuring Simpson’s spellbinding portraits is one of the most unique photography collections I’ve seen in a while. I’ve been walking with Simpson through the whole process and am continually blown away by his vulnerability as a creator. The stories he’s included in this book will make you think differently about what it truly means to stay strong amidst adversity.
Check these out too… 🙌
*NEW* Mailing List - Memoir - Talk about laying tracks before the train! Join my list to find out more about the travelogue/memoir coming out Fall 2022.
My Email Newsletter - Yes, different from Substack. This newsletter is for specific updates about my books and various projects.
Feel free to pass this on to friends who might enjoy getting little doses of inspiration in their inbox. As a writer, I can say that every ounce of support means a great deal.