November 2, 2019
To label the second stage of ones awkward, creative path as a queue of the soul might equal the level of arrogance of my rambling notions. The flight of the awkward? Oh please, Steph. Perhaps my dream of writing with the verve of a well-driven, winding roadway will allow me to escape my egotism. Perhaps that should have been the better title: Step Two: The Escape from Ego.
Rats! Hindsight truly is twenty-twenty.
In the navigation of the magical flight of the awkward, the second step mystifies me each time I travel down this path. “Each time?” you might wonder. “Each time?” I had wondered myself. No one could be more surprised than I.
True enough, that ones creative path could be a progressive adventure of logical, ladder-like steps. Or, as master of your creative universe, you might have been a born superstar writer or painter or doctor or chef or mother or person.
A creative path might not be the smooth ease of calm, expressive seas nor the decorated, celebrated angst of artistry. It might be filled with moments of total shame in ones lack of ability. Or worse yet, it could be the passing through extended days, weeks, and months, in which your artistry grovels before the universe. “Faith,” you beg. “Faith.”
Then your creative world muddles into grey (and not that good grey either, just saying).
The Soul’s Queue.
Bravely you ventured off your perch. With decisive wings atop the steadiest of limbs, you traded safety for daring. You chose step one, gambling to feel the grace of wing feathers upon winds. You chose the potential of awkwardness. (“Choice” is an important point to remember.) The answer to the question of why you chose is really up to you.
But you find the answer here, in step two, the soul’s queue.
The Opened Door.
I had waited patiently, I had thought, I had prayed, and I had pushed. I had turned the other cheek. I had been assertive. There were times when I had charged into uber participation only to return to mellow hermitage. For years I had flapped my wings with a begrudged disgust at my lack of technique while I pined for the expertise I had seen around me. I felt as though I had learned what I needed to, then relearned what I should have already known. I had been thankful for winged flight but I had also been worn to downright grumpiness when I could not figure out why things did not go as planned. In fact, more times than not, nothing went my way.
Or so it had seemed. (Could I sound any more self-absorbed?)
Life can catapult a person in directions beyond imagination. I envisioned that hallway of life with the doors of possibilities lining each side. No matter what your age, there are moments which cause doubt. Which way do I go? Why is nothing working out? Where am I going, even when I am going, I feel as though I am going nowhere. Where am I? Where are my goals? Am I not working hard enough? What is going to happen?
As I flap my wings, eventually I tire of looking at other birds in comparison. Some I watch in order to copy for awhile, until I compose my own methodology. Mimicry works for a while. Then it does not.
Back to square one. To jump off the perch or not? Jump. Flap. “I have faith, I have faith, I have faith.”
Rats. Nope, I do not. Return to the beginning. (Is this the second or third time I start over?) To jump off the perch or not? In the hallway of life, do I keep banging on a door which is closed or go on? I swear I saw this door open a crack. Maybe this door is a grand test of my fortitude. “Break down that door.” If I am wise enough, talented enough, pure of spirit enough, then the door will open. Um, nope, Steph. It is not your door.
Flap. Start over.
“I cannot do this. I am too old. I should have been wiser. I should have learned and trusted and had faith years ago. I am not good enough.”
I hung my head as I walked down the hallway in my path of awkwardness. I could feel the floor beneath my feet in the dark hallway. Nothing could have been simpler. With each attempt down the hall or with the flapping of wings, simplification occurred. Not unpleasant, the hall’s lighting cast a hollow, darkened grey. I could see my hands. I knew where I was. I also knew I could not stay in the hallway. I needed to keep moving.
With each step came a realization of the passage of time. I stopped. I am tired and it is time. It is time.
I stood still to straighten my back. I have been working and walking with my head lowered, never with a sense of backward or forward, just the saddened. singular sense of my feet upon the hallway floor. As I straightened, I looked around for the first time.
Flap. Flap. Pause.
I would like to say I chose a door, but I did not. I chose a direction which felt prompted by the universe. “Dear G~d, this is what I wish to do.” The path unfolded down the hallway. This door is known to ones soul as surely as a dream. If not by its appearance than by the absence of any other choice. It is remarkable and recognizable among the doors of doors. The hall continues. It is a simple truth that there are other doors. But this particular door is mine. With politeness to the silence, I knock. I have done this before. I am prepared to bash in the door, if necessary. (I have tried that maneuver too. Never worked, but maybe this time?)
In my heart of hearts, I fear the mistake of all soul mistakes. What if I am at the wrong door? Just as a prayer starts rolling through my spirit; just as my fingers gently encircle the knob, the door pops with delightful ease.
Do not forget the threshold.
This second step, I should caution, is of course, that magic moment when a person bravely launches into the unknown. It is flight. It is the entry into the Void. I mean, the true test of faith is that step across the threshold into the unknown. “You cannot fly unless you use your wings.” Right? Or better yet, “You are now a butterfly not a caterpillar. Fly with those beautiful wings!” Right? “Faith is not faith if you do not venture into that dark stairway of becoming.” Right again?
All of those statements are true. And in the magic flight of awkward, learning and developing, there is a point to launch off the perch. You must fly. Those are the micro seconds of step one in which feet dangle uselessly. Hunched over, those beautiful wings are flapping like those of a mad person. “Is this flight?”
No perch. The safety once recognized as safety is gone. You are flying but it feels so awkward. The world slows down to those eternal micro seconds.
“Am I dying?” Life flashes with decisions upon past decisions, steps in front of steps, and circumstances and happenstances. But this door has opened! Excitement roars through ones veins with the expectation of effortless soaring, tantalizingly brilliant nosedives and graceful swerves, but you are suspended. “Wait,” your soul wishes to cry out. “Please, do not take away my wings!”
I had a huge success in the past month, but a piece of all that I had expected did not accompany the breakthrough. If a person had told me of this new reality six months ago, I would not have believed it nor would I have had the mindset to prepare for it. I was a bit ‘gung ho’. I needed to be.
But the reality beyond the door was not the photo-ready version of my dream. Was this my door? Was my faith correct? Was this the door G~d had for me?
“Doofus,” I chided myself. Of course it is your door. You know it is. A wise vicar once told me many years ago that there were two things about G~d’s plans for an individual. One I remembered throughout the years. It was “G~d is not subtle. You will know your calling. G~d is bold.” I have lived that truth many times, including the recognition of “my door.”
Oddly, the second I had forgotten until I found myself in this second step, the Soul’s Queue. In a conversation between he and I decades ago, I remembered part two of his advice. “G~d will not lead you to danger.”
There is a magical unexpected state to be discovered here, past the door. I had held tightly to my visions of success. I figured that I had earned the fulfillment of my expectation in a grand, slamming shut of the big book of my life. Solved. All puzzles solved. Success. There! I am “done.”
That is not what happened at all. Once through the door, I kept glancing back. It is darker here than in the hallway. The door never closed behind me. I could go back. Sometimes, a person does. Sometimes an unlearned lesson draws you back.
I stopped looking back in the reasoning that perhaps I needed to stare off into the darkness. Maybe my eyes needed to adjust. Maybe there are more doors here. But I could not move. As clearly as I had seen the door was as clear as the faith that I needed to be at that moment. The world should have been let to wonder. I reminded myself that I am in no danger. I am suspended safely.
From this safety of soul, I must have glanced at the doorway a thousand times, alternating between thankfulness and self-disgust. Surely I was a failure for not knowing the next step. Surely I was a failure for not growing sufficiently as an artist.
It took some time before it came to me. This suspension was step two. And I let my wings rest. In the haziness of black with the distant light of the doorway, unafraid and not alone, I became accustomed to the pause. Waiting, but not waiting.
I realized I needed to listen to my soul. I relived the heaviness of past experiences. Then I stopped. I saw how one particular experience fed from childhood experiences. I needed none of it. I imagined the utterance of my truth. And it set my soul free with the gift of joy. The darkness of those experiences with the the darkest of souls exhibited crushing levels of unkindness and thoughtlessness. And as egotistical as it sounds, my truth, the truth of me, not born of vindication but one born of love – the real truth – set me free. And I felt an unknown freedom as I imagined stating that truth aloud. I could do that. Others, I realized, may not. To that fact, I could never speak to. But for my own freedom, I could utter those words.
And I became quiet. My soul became still with healing. In this queue, I learned for what I was really thankful. Sound crazy? Possibly, but I don’t particularly care. I call it peaceful. And I thanked G~d in a way as I remembered as a child.
Growing up, I had this strange fascination with G~d. And I remembered those prayers. I had thanked G~d for allowing me to live. I remembered praying to G~d, thanking Him for my life, that I should be allowed to live, that my existence was permitted. As a fifty-four year old woman, I am unsure what that really means to a child.
In the soul’s queue, I was alive. I knew many dear people who could no longer say those words. But I could. My existence was being allowed. And I wondered at that existence.
My shoulders relaxed. My attention returned. The buildings. My personal life. My work. My mindset. What is important to me? What is critical? What matters? If I am allowed to exist, then what am I supposed to do? What do I want to do? What is the reality of my life? What is my dream? What is my truth?
Hmm. One point was that I did not wish to be around people who had directed their darkness to my soul. I said…..”no”.
My instincts have begun to return. Actually they were always with me but I am starting to trust them again. I am beginning to trust myself.
And, I decided to do a “Thirty Day Ab Challenge” which may actually work if ever I stop nibbling on leftover Halloween candy. (I needed to lighten it up in the goal department, you know?)
In the Soul’s Queue, I realized I no longer needed to destroy myself. I decided to enact a plan to organize my home and my technology. I could actually love and trust myself while working on buildings, business, personal life, finances. I could say “no” as easily as I say “yes.”
My advice? Have faith in Step Two, The Soul’s Queue.
Until next time, I wish you happy awkwardness (giggle)
Lots of love and a kiss… May you be Blessed,