It’s dark and cloudy outside. NorCal’s expecting another storm tomorrow. I haven’t left the house all day (thanks new cycle) and the words are bubbling up, so let’s try this weekly reflection that Emily P. Freeman talks about and see how it goes for me. Memories from the week of Sunday, March 6th to yesterday, Saturday, March 13th.
our safe comfort zone / as often as we’ve been here / home has been healing
I took an unintentional break yesterday from poetry, as I’m training to cover one of the janitorial groups the company employs. I split my work day and wanted to write yesterday’s haiku then, but I was so tired. Monday I stayed up late reading and then writing a spontaneous blog post.
Also, yesterday’s prompt was a sad one, and I didn’t feel motivated to write more about missing hugs, home games of D&D, seeing my people and watching my babies (nieces, nephews, and goddaughter) grow up, and getting any slices of normalcy back.
So, I decided to skip it altogether and keep plugging along today.
Christmas lights and carols*, / strawberries in October, / D&D home games
I thought of the middle line first. I brought home a couple of tomato starts at the end of June from a co-worker. (You guys, we are not gardeners. I like the idea, but lack the follow-through it takes to grow things and keep them alive.)
Today started off like any normal Saturday for me: I went to the laundromat and when I got home I balanced the check register and updated Everydollar. And then I did something kind of out of the ordinary: I looked up directions to The Bookseller, a local bookstore in Grass Valley so I could attend the YA Author Panel at 1pm.
12:13pm // I was so proud of myself because I left early enough to explore the bookstore a little bit before the event.
Because of my car accident at the beginning of June, I’ve been chauffeured around for the past two months. Since our new-to-us car purchase last week, I’ve been driving myself again and I feel like a new driver in some instances. Today, I felt really proud of myself for driving up Grass Valley Highway. (I’m a nervous driver to begin with. The accident didn’t help with that).
And then Garfield (our GPS) told me to take Exit 182A 174/Colfax. If you didn’t know–because I didn’t until today–this is an exit only lane. And it was crowded. And because I am overly cautious and nervous I did not force my way in. I tried–I slowed down a little and my blinker was on–but I decided to just pass it.
Off of a 7 or 8 foot high rock into the North Fork of the American River just past the Foresthill Bridge.
It was one of the most terrifying, fun, courageous things I’ve done in awhile.
The thing is: the majority of the time I sat on that rock, psyching myself out, hundreds of metaphors filed into my mind. “So many metaphors are coming to me,” I told Anthony who was back on the rock next to me after his first jump. “Sometimes being a writer is a curse.”
A couple of other people were on the rock next to us just jumping into the water. I think they came back three times while I sat up there.
“Why can’t I be that brave?” I asked out loud.
“If you can ride roller coasters, you can do this,” Anthony said to me. “You’ve just got to do it, babe.”
Of course this advice applies to every aspect of my life. If I can jump off of a rock, then I can:
get up early and exercise or do yoga before bed
write a story and see it through to publication
overcome health obstacles
never be tied to credit cards
grow my little internet home into something bigger
If I can jump off of a rock, then I can do anything – I can do everything – I set out to do and be.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
– Lao Tzu
A published book on a shelf at Barnes and Noble starts with me putting words on paper.
The journey to Financial Peace starts with budgeting and getting out of debt.
The journey to a healthy body begins with putting an exercise routine into place.
Back on that rock, the momentum built up. I wanted to walk away. To just go back into the water the way I came. But there’s a reason they say the best way to get used to cold water is to jump in.
I moved to a lower “shelf” of rock. Anthony moved to the one I had just recently vacated. He looked at me. “Jump with me. On three we jump. You ready?”
I said no at least twice. What could’ve been the third time he asked, I said “no” again quickly followed by a “just keep counting anyway.”
I jumped. Screaming on the way down.
I need to hold my breath.
Back up for air, swimming toward the opposite shore with a racing heart and wobbly legs. (I’m not the best swimmer.)
Today, I jumped. Off of a 7 or 8 foot high rock into the ice-cold water of the North Fork of the American River. It was the most fun, terrifying, courageous thing I’ve done in awhile.
Writing metaphors are everywhere in my life. I am aware of them more than I’ve ever been and I’m pretty sure it’s because of this blog, because my heart of hearts beats to the drum of Writer. It just takes a single jump. It may be incredibly terrifying. Actually, if it’s something you could do the rest of your life and love it in spite of how hard it will be, there is 100% chance it WILL BE terrifying. But I promise you: it’s so much fun on the way down.
If I hadn’t jumped, this positive, confident blog post wouldn’t have been written and posted today. Because I jumped I am going to – for the hundredth time – create a writing schedule. I have writing dreams that are stuck in Dreamland because the only person who can move them into Reality is unhappily comfortable residing in Dreamland. One day at at time. One step at a time. One jump and many ripples are created.
What is one step you can take today in the direction of your dream?
P.S. There is no epic photo of my husband and I in mid-jump. There will be no iPhone filter enhancing the brightness of the river water or the rays of sun streaming from the left-hand side. I was totally tempted to yell across the river to my sister to grab our iPhone-turned-camera-only and just start snapping pictures of the entire jump. Afterwards, I even voiced my wish that it had been documented. But, thinking back on it, I’m kind of glad there isn’t one because I can see it my head. I know how bright the sun was today. I know how clear the water was. I remember what it was like to plunge straight down into the icyness and fight my way back up. I can see our hands in the air. I hear myself screaming to give myself momentum. I will always remember the day I jumped. No photo necessary.
P.P.S. Also, the “thing” that held me accountable to jumping: the person who jumped with me, counting to three. He’s been jumping beside me for five years. Anthony Paul, thank you.