It’s already 9:30am. Normally, at this point, I have already written the first draft of my newsletter and am making a cup of coffee before sitting back down to polish the final version.
This morning, I don’t even have a title for the newsletter.
9:32am. Every minute that passes is one less minute I have to write and I can feel my creative brain slowly getting overtaken by anxiety. Like someone has opened a window in my brain and a fog is slowly making its way in, taking over any clarity I may have had to actually string words together.
The thing I love most about writing—and what makes writing so difficult at times—is that you need a clear mind to get your thoughts out on paper. It’s the ultimate meditation. Is it any surprise that the greatest thinkers are also the greatest writers? This art practice requires us to calmly clear away the fog in our brain without accidentally creating an even bigger storm.
You can’t fool the writing process. You can’t fake it till you make it. You either have access to your thoughts or you don’t. Pushing harder doesn’t work, as anyone who has wasted an hour trying to come up with an Instagram caption can tell you. Stepping away and calming your energy is how you will access your brilliance.
If you’re familiar with horses you’ll know how sensitive they are to human emotions. They can literally smell fear on us. Try as you might, you can’t fool a horse with a fake smile and fake confidence when you’re shaking on the inside. It’s a magnificent creature, but easy to spook.
And writing is like that too. So powerful, so magnificent, but so so sensitive to our energy. An empty page and a blinking cursor is enough to spook it away.
I’ve shared a lot about my morning process of getting into the writing headspace. But this morning I woke with a knowing that no amount of Liz Gilbert or Oprah or Brené Brown will ease me into a calm state. That no amount of tea or candles will ease me into accessing my thoughts.
I knew my energy might spook my writing today.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve taken on a challenging task at work and the inevitable imposter syndrome has flared up. I’m in the trenches of reminding myself every morning that I’m not too dumb to figure it out and that I have always been resourceful enough to figure things out.
This too shall pass, but in the meantime, I’m filled with butterflies in my stomach. Something you can’t just put a lid on at the end of the day. It seeps into other areas of your life. And this morning, it’s seeping into my writing.
Right on cue, my sister texted me with a new revelation and we got lost in one of our existential life chats. Why we’re feeling what we’re feeling. What we’re thinking to have brought this on. How we’re acting in response to these triggers.
We talked about the pressure of being the best. How the fear of failing tricks us into failing ahead of time. That fine line between compassion and avoidance when it comes to facing our big goals.
Our society loves black and white thinking—you’re either a winner or a loser. If you can’t be perfect, then you must be a failure.
In the fitness world, they say don’t tie your identity to a result, but to a routine. Become someone who shows up consistently, expecting the good AND the bad days.
So here I am.
Not at all confident in what I’m sharing, but showing up for the process.
When we’re willing to sit in the discomfort of not knowing how something will turn out, we’re rewarded with forward momentum. Because not willing to sit in that discomfort means we retreat. We step back. We numb. We close our eyes, plug our ears, and disappear from the one thing that will create progress in our lives.
Have compassion with the process, but don’t avoid the process.
Yesterday, I took my mom to my favourite outdoor co-working space here in Ottawa. Most Thursdays it’s filled with at least a dozen people and you have to arrive early to snag your favourite spot. But yesterday, we were the only ones who braved the possible thunderstorm warnings.
The night before, we had decided to embrace the rain if it came. Sure, we’d miss the perks of a beautiful garden to walk around in or laying in one of the hammocks or an afternoon meditation by the pond. We were willing to accept what Mother Nature gave us.
And you know what she gave us? The best weather I’ve ever had at this co-working space. Beautiful sunshine and a light breeze. We had the entire place to ourselves—bouncing from couch to table to hammock to couch again.
Mother Nature has the best lessons for us.
So today’s thunderstorm warning for this newsletter is this: I’m writing without a topic idea, nor a plan for what I’m even trying to say.
I’m sitting in the discomfort of hitting send and not knowing what will come of it… thunderstorm or sunshine?
But more importantly, does it matter? I showed up. My habit knew I would.
We are here. We are living.
Let’s dance in the fucking rain.