The next number of posts, all titled Conversations on… come from email communications between a dear friend and me. With her permission, I am publishing excerpts from them because I feel they pertain to everything we’ve been discussing on the blog. Kate is in the process of trying to figure out how to be a writer and still maintain her teaching job. At her request I’ve changed her name and am using initials for people she brings up. It’d be great if you all would join our conversation… (this post is continued from the previous post)
The words you use are interesting to me: a terrible struggle and the universe challenging you—and, yes, paralyzed—THAT certainly makes a clear point! But the struggle and challenge sound so much like war—and I think it is—you’re warring with yourself. But I believe the universe has our best interests at its core and I don’t think it is so much challenging you as it’s trying to light your way back to your true path. It’s trying to help you right your course. It’s true that it can get heavy handed when we don’t listen, upping the ante until we do. I just hope you can find some time and space to get very still and quiet so that you can hear your heart and your soul, which is what your body is nudging you to do, I think. More than listening to me or BK, or even MF, it is YOU, Kate, who is needing to be heard right now.
I think I’ve been where you are. I have so much compassion for the place you find yourself in. Be as gentle with yourself as you have it within you to be. You need love right now and understanding and acceptance–not lectures from any of us who think we know what is. This is your journey and only you can know its next step. I am by your side whatever it is, wherever it leads.
I am in a struggle with myself, not with the universe, though it often feels like a universe of conflict weighing on me. I am listening to my heart, really listening, for the first time perhaps. You know how scary that is. I am trying to figure out if I can find a balance that will allow me to follow what I hear in my heart without completely abandoning my teaching job. While my work has been consuming my soul, it is not just an empty career that’s eating me alive. I have been teaching for over two decades and have deep connections to and purpose in what I do. But it isn’t a healthy kind of work for me the way it’s been going, as we all can see so plainly now. I must face that fact and see if I can do anything about it short of leaving this work/career altogether.
The way I have been trying to move things forward, especially since you and I have been talking and working together, is that I foresee myself needing up to a year to see if I can manage the writing in some kind of sustained—albeit small—increments during the semester, preserving a core of my summer weeks and not allowing the administrative work and teaching work to infiltrate that sacred time. If I can’t manage to do that successfully then I will have to make the more drastic change, which will essentially mean doing it to live, as you say, to follow the path lighted by the universe.
MF and I have discussed this, and we’re both in agreement that taking this approach is the best way for me to resolve my conflict about what to do. I need this time to see if there is any way to salvage the job and the commitments I have made there and still follow my true path. This is a question that I must and will resolve; I can’t go on like this for much longer. Yes, I could get hit by a bus tomorrow or find out that there is a serious and unwelcome illness to contend with. But I must hope that the universe will allow me the space to settle this score with myself. That’s a risk, I know. I have to take that gamble, as I see it today, at this moment.
Yes, I know exactly how scary all of this is. I had a taste of it again when I went to Abiquiu recently. Very humbling. And I face it every single day and night when I’m worrying about my finances. So you are definitely not alone.
I do understand your work is meaningful so that’s an added component in your struggles. The universe is rarely black and white. I think it’s designed that way. Damn! I think the way you are going about it is clear, respectful and possible. I throw 100% of my support toward that effort.
I don’t see the bus scenario playing out, nor do I think your health issues are life threatening right now—but we will have to wait and see on that. I think the universe is giving you clear warning but I also trust it is giving you time.
To be continued…
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All photos in today’s post were shot by Kevin Hulett.