I want to do with you what spring does to the cherry trees…
How I love the official first day of spring here in Troy, New York. I usually spend the Vernal Equinox with friends, enjoying something fun like a tea party or a walk along the Hudson River. I’ll dawn a fabulous hat, sip tea from a china cup, and maybe end the day with a curried pumpkin bisque.
This year, my spring in action for my big dream will involve a book to edit. It tells the story of my blossoming over several years, of how I left behind my own “barren winter” after a period of the suicidal depression and planted and cultivated the seeds to live a life I love. Setting seasonal metaphors aside for the moment, I now have a big, fat, 459-page book manuscript to edit.
Editing a book is something like pruning a garden: plucking the weeds by cutting scenes that don’t “belong” in the book, making sure that the whole thing has a pleasing shape. As I trim the manuscript, it will leave space for more scenes to sprout up that tell the story of my “path to peace,” as someone who used to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression.
Last week, I finally curled up again with my 459-page book manuscript, the first draft of Burning Down the House. I had taken time off from the book while living some of my other passions and I discovered that the book still needs a lot of trimming. I didn’t expect it was yet in “gripping best-seller” shape, and it was challenging for me to read the parts that are still raw.
Revisions are part of the artistic process, of course. Writing a polished final manuscript requires writing a first, and the second, and often third, and sometimes fourth, and then however-many-it-takes drafts. I am reminding myself as I dive back into editing the book that, just as is the case with the flowers and the seasons, that sometimes it takes some time after you plant the seeds for an artistic idea to fully bloom.
I have had at least one reader already tell me that it is a “page-turner,” the story is compelling, and that it’s compulsively readable–just the kind of feedback a writer wants to hear. I have a vision for what the book will someday be, and can see that to get there from here that I still have a LOT of work to do.
Accepting All the Seasons of Our Lives
To move forward, I have to retain my faith in the vision of what I am creating, and also be able to accept the book at the point it is at now. I have to recognize how much I have already accomplished–recording a story that was at times excruciating to tell, and writing 459 pages.
That is no small feat!
To live your dreams, I think it’s important to recognize where you are starting from, acknowledge how far you have come already, and then venture forward from a place of congratulating yourself for all you’ve done to make it this far.
If you are anything like me, you may still see the gap sometimes between “what you wish to become” and “who you are today.” It’s also important to ask yourself: what seeds have you planted for your dreams? I am learning to think of this “gap” as seasons in my artistic work as well. There is a time to plant the seeds, and then we have to water and nurture them before they blossom.
Honoring Our Seasons of Growth
Sometimes you have to remind yourself to acknowledge these kinds of seasonal rhythms in your dream journey. You need to forgive yourself in those moments when you are not opening like a flower, full of color, beauty, glory. Sometimes the days are gray. Sometimes your dream is still germinating.
Day-to-day, you may become frustrated with where you are on your dream journey. Remind yourself that you always have the choice to either love and accept this moment as it is, or change it. The American diarist, essayist, novelist, and writer of short stories and erotica, Anaïs Nin, has this beautiful quote on the subject:
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
Eventually, you realize that doing whatever it takes to live your dreams is a much better feeling than the pain you experience abandoning it. This spring, don’t stop yourself from growing into something beautiful. It is time. Use this coming season of rebirth as the perfect space to bloom where you are planted, and to make the most of your big dreams, right now, starting from wherever you are.
Living your dreams, of course, requires that you take action steps to quiet your fears of failure. Every seed of a desire starts within a heart that is open to dreaming–yet scared. AND the ability to love yourself enough to feel that fear and go after your big dreams–regardless.
On some level, you have to hold a belief, deep inside, that you have the right to blossom too. This spring, nurture your blossoming self and cultivate the seeds of your looming greatness.
Spring is 92 days long. Utilize these days to create your “spring in action” and bloom your big dream right out into the world!