Happy New Year 2023!
Paths, decisions, goals, resolutions, intentions. Sometimes I get too serious about what I want to do next in my day, or this season, this year, or for my life. The Whole Concept becomes overwhelming. And unrealistic.
An Itty Bitty Hiccup
I just have this one little itty bitty hiccup to handle. Yes, this new year holds incredible possibilities. But my self-talk is whispering, “You better decide what your focus is. Writing, storytelling, outdoor sports, health care, travel. What’s it gonna be?”
When I get stuck like this, what’s worked in the past is to get away from home projects, social interaction, friends, art projects, even my sweetheart. To spend time with Ethel.
I make reservations to spend three days at the Redemptorist Renewal Center in Picture Rocks, Arizona. I knew it would be quiet. I plan to eat the delicious meals in silence, meditate, read in their library and walk the labyrinth in solitary comfort.
Of course, as happens with plans, my first morning I am reacquainted with a writing colleague. We’re excited to see each other in person.
We start. “What brings you here?” And we find we’re at the same crossroad. Where to go on our beloved writing path? We’ve both been writing and honing our craft for years. Decades actually. And we’re good at it.
I’m wondering… Do I go on to bigger and better things- blog more, instagram more, write another book, get “out there” more as media and articles tell me? The social excitement mounts to be sharing this with a fellow writer. “I know I want to be more discerning about my choices.” Oooh, the world is a big place.
Walking the labyrinth later that morning a short sentence flashes in my mind like a neon sign along a crowded highway. Four words. Four steps. Do – what – you – love. Do – what – you – love. Maybe love one thing for a day, or a month. And another next month. After ¾ of a century I believe… I know… this is true. It’s my choice to decide or not to decide. Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it. Do – what- you – love.
Surrounded by the peaceful bliss of three days of writing bits and pieces, I didn’t come to any concrete decision about my writing life. And it’s Okay.
Do What You Love and …
As I head crosstown towards home I decide to take a different route. When the GPS tells me to turn left, I go straight.
She gives me another opportunity to stick to the set route. “Make a U-turn.” I go straight.
Her voice is a bit strident. “Make a U-turn.“ Nope.
And then in a smooth and accepting tone she says, “Recalculating … Go straight for one mile.”
And I have my epiphany. I can make a plan, change it, and accept it without worry or regret or self-judgment.
Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and her writing life. She’s retired from professional writing gigs after 30 years of teaching, coaching, editing, and gathering writers to publicly share their work. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. These days, she writes to inspire, to connect with folks, and for the pure enjoyment of it. Ethel enjoys sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling, Artists Standing Strong Together, and anywhere there’s a mic or a Zoom room.