It can feel vulnerable, scary even, to make a wish.
“We all have our own life to pursue, our own kind of dream to be weaving, and we all have the power to make wishes come true, as long as we keep believing.” ~ Louisa May Alcott
This past Wednesday, May 12, at 2:18 pm, I clicked Send. I let out a guttural sigh and teared up.
My book proposal, along with the introduction to and the first two chapters of my book, was on its way to a publisher. A dream that began before my tenth birthday. Fifteen years of research and experience working with clients. Four years of concentrated effort spent writing.
A wish I made under the clothesline in my childhood backyard before I blew on the fuzzy top of a dandelion.
“I want to be a writer,” I said before sending the feathery bristles into the air, over the sandbox, scattering across the grass.
I’m not sure what it was that prompted my dream. How I knew. What it was about being a writer that called to me.
I knew I loved books, pens, and paper. And even then, I knew there was something special about words and how they may be strung together to touch people, express something only I could. Of course, I knew nothing about what writing entailed, what I wanted to say, or how to actually go about it.
The wish, though, settled into me like the dandelion seeds settled into the lawn. Took root. And then went into a quiet hibernation, seasons of stillness, but always pulsing with a tiny heartbeat of life, waiting.
What’s Stopping You?
Decades later, in an adult beverage-fueled, midnight conversation, I sat in a circle of leaders from across the state of North Carolina. Someone asked me what I really, really wanted to do with my life.
Fuzzy-headed, tired, and buzzed with wine, the wish, long-buried, surfaced.
“I want to be a writer.”
“What’s keeping you from doing that?” a kind fellow who I had just met that morning asked. His eyes looked into me, past all the surface barriers, right into the place where I had hidden my wish without knowing.
I shifted in my chair and reached for my wine glass.
And then, from the other side of the circle, a young attorney from Wilkesboro chimed in. “Yeah, Susie. Why aren’t you pursuing that?”
I sat beneath their stares for a minute and thought. “I think it is because I’m afraid my writing won’t be good enough.”
“Well, if you write half as well as you speak, you’ll be a terrific writer,” said the attorney. “Besides, you’ve got to start somewhere. How can you ever get any better if you don’t start?”
I appreciated the compliment and the vote of confidence but then felt a defensive stance grab my shoulders. I wanted to deflect attention and push the spotlight onto someone else. “What about y’all? What dreams do you have that you are ignoring?”
I listened, sort of, as people in the circle shared their secrets. I was no longer present in the circle, though. I was in the 1970s, wearing bell-bottom jeans, Keds sneakers, and a ratty tee shirt with a dandelion gone to seed in my hand.
The Root of Who You Are
Yesterday morning, a memory popped up on my Facebook feed. It was a 30-second clip from a documentary on Vidal Sassoon I had posted nearly a decade ago. I could barely remember having posted the clip and pressed play. I could not believe what I heard.
Vidal looked straight into the camera and said, “When everybody tells you, the doubters tell you, it can’t be done…you’ll go broke or all kinds of tragedies will come your way…nonsense. If you can get to the root of who you are…the gut of who you are…and make something happen from it in whatever field, my sense is you’re gonna surprise yourself.”
Right there it was. The essence of my wish spoken into life by a creative powerhouse. And what really knocked me out was that his statement reveals the seed of my book’s core message.
I have known almost all of my life who I wanted to become. And I’ve known for nearly a decade what I most desperately wanted to convey to readers. It has all been there, lying dormant within me.
Waiting. Waiting for me to believe I was good enough. That the work would be good enough.
That I could inhale deeply, fill myself with ideas, passion, and energy, and exhale it all onto a page, filling a reader with hope, inspiration, and confidence.
Make a Wish
I’m leaning forward and toward you, as I ask, what is your wish? What have you known all along, maybe your entire life? What stirs around inside you when the house is quiet, and you’ve let yourself think, dream?
What dream do you have tucked inside the pocket of you that you want to unfold? What is it that you love to do, that you long to do, but are afraid if you don’t succeed at it, you’ll suffer a blow from which you won’t recover?
The thing you are not willing to pursue because holding the fantasy is safer than the terrifying possibility you’ll lose it from failed attempts?
Let’s not waste any more time. Get to the root of who you are. Make a wish. And then find a way to make one, small step toward that wish this week.
My sense is that you’re gonna surprise yourself.