During the past twenty-five years, I’ve experienced a range of ailments from minor to major. Probably all of you have too. For myself, my life went merrily on during the first fourteen years of that span. Then Meniere’s Disease demanded entry in May 2006.
Meniere’s, one moment I would be standing upright. The next nanosecond, with no warning, I’d be sprawled on the kitchen floor, with the walls and ceiling spinning round me. I never knew when I’d fall or when the room would start to spin. For nearly a year, I seldom left the house. Mostly I crawled from room to room.
After an operation on the sac behind the mastoid bone of my left ear, the episodes subsided. I recuperated, but neglected to consider what my body was trying so desperately to teach me. I didn’t explore what I could learn from Meniere’s.
After recuperating from the operation, I once again began producing hour-by-hour schedules, demanding that I write so much each day, exercise so much, complete a certain number of odd jobs around the house each day.
The result? Ten more years of ill-health that culminated in a seriously major operation on my back in March of this year.
The time has come for me to examine what my body and the Universe are trying to teach me. To do that I must wander back to what’s been said to me and what’s happened in these last twenty-five years.
I remember telling a friend that I just couldn’t figure out how to get an agent to represent my writing. Judy said, “Go with the flow. You try to control too much.”
Quite frankly, I wasn’t sure what going “with the flow” meant. Surely I had to plan. No agent in New York would be muttering, “I need a new client. I’ll stick a straight pin in this map of the United States and that’s where I’ll start searching!” And there I’d be, pinned smack dab in Stillwater, Minnesota!
I didn’t listen to Judy, but continued to plan and to envision the outcomes of all my planning. In fact, I became totally attached to those outcomes: an agent would be delighted with my writing; I’d be published to rave reviews; the first book would sell 50,000 copies, make $100,000, and enable me to build a four-season porch on the house; an editor would ask for another and then another manuscript to publish; I’d become both rich and famous. (Yes, I admit to that dream, wanting to be famous enough that readers would eagerly await my next book.)
Several years after Judy’s remark—the one I ignored—I read an article in which the author encouraged readers to dream big, but to resist becoming attached to outcomes. She said that the Universe had much more to give us than our paltry desires.
She, too, spoke of going with the flow; of entering my dream river and floating downstream to wherever it took me. I liked this image; it spoke to me.
Here’s the summing up: I’m hoping that while I rest and nap and sleep during these months of recuperation, I will also let go of outcomes and simply embrace what my life is right now. I’m blogging, and that, as a number of you reminded me in your comments last week, is a way of being published.
I’m also hoping that from all this musing, I’ll learn something truly new. I have no idea what. I only know that I can feel the cracks opening within me—the cracks through which the light will shine through as Leonard Cohen wrote.