Destination Perfection

It is 3:22am on a Saturday night/ Sunday morning and I am certain I am the luckiest girl alive.  Because luck does not look as one expects, I am learning. I did not win the lotto, or the cake walk at the the local fair today (thank heavens), but I am remembering, at this quiet, precious moment between days that the whole wide world has conspired in my favor. I cannot do any wrong thing.

My friend Paula Shaw’s raspy, dramatic, and always convincing voice often rings in my head, saying things like “Just go! All roads lead to Rome!” or “It’s hopeless. But not serious.” Today I’m reminded of her missile metaphor.  She explained that launched missiles, with all their technology and precision are almost never moving on target.  The only way a missile knows how to reach its destination is to move in that general direction, and when it’s far enough off course, it recognizes this and corrects.  So in fact, it is always moving in an ongoing zig zag, rather than some imagined perfect arc.

I am reassured by this. I can follow all my human little longings and mind trips and insecurities and hiccups down a river of sad or shame or give up… but even these rivers belong to life.  And life always takes its course in the direction of perfection.

Example A.

There are, let me check, 20 hours and 31 minutes left in National Novel Writing Month.  The official goal of this is to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  An absurd and absolutely doable task, that more than 100,000 people in the world will accomplish this year.  I will not be one of them.  I am at just over 15,000 words, for a variety of reasons.  Namely, 1) my life is fuller than full, and 2) I cannot turn off my inner editor.

Fuller than full is pretty self-explanatory.  I have four jobs, have moved three times this month, had friends visit and competing priorities. The editor piece is interesting. With the exception of a few moments, I have successfully wrestled my inner critic into submission. (Woo!) However my internal editor (there is a big difference) and I have something of a love affair.  I love, love, love polishing as quickly as I create.  I have not yet found faith enough to follow the rough edges of the story unknown far into oblivion.  My editor chimes in at every turn and pulls me back into a course that feels “more inspiring” to follow and then my inner Taurus must go back and fix the story accordingly.  I knew this whole novel-writing business would be one big giant personal process.  I was right.

The great success here is that I am not beating myself up terribly for my un-winning. I have, in fact, altered the rules to fit suit my needs and am extending my personal deadline to the 1st of the year.  50,000 words in two months is fine with me.  And no, the slick little progress bar on the right there will not accommodate, so I will post my own word count updates there instead.  (And I do invite you to hold me to it.  Peer pressure can be used for good, you know.)

In sum: I aimed high and decided to do this thing.  I am missing the goal, and still the whole thing has plopped me exactly in the middle of myself with great success.

Example B.

It was 11:15pm this evening, now yesterday, and I was at a choicepoint.  Do I spend my whole Saturday night alone at home with the novel writing or take a break and see some live music/ have some actual human interaction?  Such choicepoints, as mundane as they seem, always feel at the time as though the fate of my whole existence is at stake.  But what will I MISS if I choose this?  Which choice is really coming from CENTER? Blah blah blah.

I hemmed and hawed.

I’m in a groove with the writing again, so the kindest thing would be to stay here and do this for myself.

I wrote 2,000 words today and deserve a break. Live music! Go enjoy yourself.

I have a sore throat. I should sleep.

I have a sore throat. I should drink whiskey.

I went with the live music and the whiskey.

And now I’m here.

This “here” is not exactly the same as the “here” I would be experiencing if I hadn’t made that decision.  The learnings would look different. (And my lips wouldn’t be tingly.) But I am absolutely, beyond a doubt certain of the fact that I would have gleaned exactly what I needed to know to steer myself on the course I am choosing for my life, no matter what I did.  Whether “less drinking, more sleeping” is my renewed intention or “less hiding, more contact” – my course is correcting itself in the direction of my perfect evolution.

The world is conspiring in favor of my growing up.

I cannot do anything wrong.

Choices and events that bring me pain and suffering are powerful motivators.

Choices and events that bring me joy and fulfillment are powerful indicators.

In this season of thanks and gratitude, I am feeling mighty grateful for this knowing.  What a relief(!) to relax into this grand paradox – this faith – that I am always on the path, despite myself.  I won’t remember this most of the time, and it doesn’t even matter.  Is this not the most wonderfulest thing ever?  Call it god, call it life, call it fate, call it what you will… I just know I have this great gift of choice, and no matter what I do, I am being lived.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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8 Comments

Filed under life, writing

8 responses to “Destination Perfection

  1. millorona

    Once again, Lisa, you make me cry with your tenderness, your humor and your perfect timing! What a Soul you are, what a Writer.

    This is not gushing (even though it looks like it in print) and I’m not just emotional because I have poison oak on my lips, cheek, eye and jaw (avoid rubbing your face in your dog’s fur) AND think I may have just lost all the writing I’ve done in the past year (a hasty laptop file transfer to a freebie G4 with a possibly bad hard drive, as it turns out.)

    Your wisdom reminds me of my own light, which of course I also often forget, such is Life. That pain is a way to grow, and joy is possible, always. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    your sister night owl…about to go look up at the stars above Partington ridge…sends you love and soothing hoots 😉

  2. Karla Goettel

    You made me laugh, you made me gasp in awe of your marvelous talent as a writer and you made me nod my head, “Yeah, go with the whiskey and live music.” Once again I feel full of pride and the “most wonderfulest” happiness at seeing YOUR happiness as you continue to grow and discover the key to a fulfilled life! Thanks for sharing those keys with me…..I’m learning a lot from you (and Cheri Huber.)
    XXOO, Mom

  3. Lovely post. It sounds like your life has really been hectic this month, and in that case, 15,000 words is quite a feat. As long as you get something out of it, then it was worth it. And for the record, I doubt that anywhere near 100,000 people are going to win NaNoWriMo this year. There were only 119,000 participants and I have a suspicion fewer than half of them make the finish mark. So, you’re certainly not alone there.

  4. ah!

    this is awesome. you are awesome.

    and love the missile metaphor. good on you, paula shaw.

    50,000 words by jan 1. yes!

  5. Yeah, Lisa! Thoughts to live by, definitely. I can forget them sometimes. I need not to. Thanks for helping steer my missile a little closer to center.

    Brava for your goal to extend NaNo to fit your needs. I can’t wait to see your novel in print!

  6. my dearest, sweetest…
    it sounds like the newly allowed and invited inner parent is in a bit turmoil with the inner child, eh? you are so good, lis. the fact that you even RECOGNIZE that this turmoil exists is wonderful. let them duke it out all they want. in the meantime, always, ALWAYS do what feels and sits right at the absolute core of your heart. no matter what it’s telling you, listen and follow. it is ALWAYS right. the difficulty is not in HEARING it, but in ABIDING by it.

    and, as you so eloquently pointed out, it matters not what you DO in any given situation. for your path will always surely continue to flow. however, when we shut up, listen, and follow the REAL urges of our TRUE self, we will likely encounter fewer rocks and sink holes, ya?

    i love you so much. thank you for being such light in this universe.

  7. Lisa,

    You are a winner for writing anything at all during NANO. It’s the fun and adventure of exploring a part of our imagination we never traveled to before. And so it goes…every year I want to try and discover another part of myself with the novel I write. And every year it is beyond fun. I loved our write in at Nepenthe and since I’m heading back up this week after spending a WHOLE week at home [hasn’t happened in a year] wondered if you might want to have our own TGIO glass of wine back at the scene of the crime. Let me know what your week looks like. It be CRAZY busy for us these days.

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