As it’s still holiday time and my kids don’t go back to school til Monday I’m relishing the mornings when I can wake up early and bring a cup of tea back to bed with a book or my journal. I love this time of day when there is nothing very pressing to do, and whatever plans I have can wait until later. For the duration of my cup of tea – and sometimes a tad longer – I allow myself to let go of all there is to do and just reflect.
Over the past couple of days I’ve been enjoying reading various blog posts about how people approach their resolutions for the New Year. Yesterday I read Anne Orchard’s post about expecting the unexpected. This morning I read Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s latest post about loving the question, and a section entitled Non-Attachment to Actions in the book Waking from Sleep by Steve Taylor. Together these things reminded me of a journal entry I wrote on 22 September last, which went like this:
“The elephant in the room is the Journaling handbook. It may or may not be finished. It may or may not be self-published. I may or may not choose to be held by the ransome of it. It may be that the book as a project is already complete, and it has already served its purpose. I may or may not choose to let it go.”
Bearing in mind that the Journaling handbook is the one I just published on 14 December last, this seems an odd entry to have written. However, I think this entry reflects exactly what needed to happen in order for me to finish the book project. Up til that point the book was still unfinished, even after two and a half years of writing and editing. But by entertaining the possibility that I had gone as far with it as I was ever going to I somehow let go of it, granting it a life and will of its own. Now it would only see the light of day if it was meant to be, rather than to satisfy my own neediness about becoming an author.
By letting go of the project, and becoming emotionally neutral about the outcome of the book, I got out of the way and allowed things to happen. Less than three months after I acknowledged the unfinished project in my life – the elephant in the room – I was taking the first orders for the finished book. And as I hold the book in my hands it’s not the magic of seeing my words in print which enchants me, but the fact that they appeared in print almost in spite of me, and that the whole process took on an ease and logic of its own once I quit agonising.
What I learned this morning during my cup of tea was that when we allow ourselves to let go our most precious achievements and actions become by-products of who we are, rather than of who we think we ought to be. So maybe today the inquiry to conjure with is “What must I let go of?” or “What am I getting in the way of?” Or try the kick-off phrase “The elephant in the room is…”
More tea anyone?