Fall arrived today with its dewy sweetness. My grandson, 4 years old, gleefully announced that fall last three days and then it will be winter! I sure hope we get a few more days of fall than that. When the seasons change, I get the urge to clean. You know how it goes when cleaning those cupboards where things are stacked precariously waiting to tumble out each time you open the door; everything needs to come out into the middle of the floor. I always feel like I make a bigger mess than I started with, but it seems the only way to sort everything out and decide what stays and what goes. That feels a bit like my life these past six months.
To find what I was looking for, everything, all the old beliefs, the shoulds and have-to’s, and vague and uncertain expectations about work and life, had to be dumped into the middle of the floor. I questioned everything. Beliefs that unfulfilling work was a path to success, that money and security go hand-in-hand, and that being productive is tied to self-worth. At one time it made sense for me to hang onto this stuff, and I learned a great deal because of it, but it’s as useless to me now as finding a box of tampons in the closet. I also had to get rid of the notion that someone is going to tell me what to do with my time now. This might sound silly to you, like duh, shouldn’t that have been obvious Elaine? Yeah, OK, but it still took me a while to get through the clutter and really see that I am the advocate for my wildest dreams.
Rid of all this old stuff, I found myself with time to consider next steps. I’d been looking for opportunities to get my work out into the world when an email popped into my inbox. It was a list of writing contests. It seemed like it was time to share my work beyond my inner circle of faithful blog readers – to whom I am very grateful. Nonetheless, I know this blog is just the beginning. Besides, I would like to get paid for my writing. And I’d like to know that it resonates, or entertains, or perhaps – if I can be so bold – inspires. The odds of winning are probably equal to playing the lottery, yet it seemed like a good place to start, so I did.
Hitting the submit button for the first time felt a bit like standing out in public in my underwear! Exposed, wondering if people will laugh or if I’ll stumble and fall. What if I just look stupid, or maniacal? But, I found some things in the heap of clutter on the floor that had been a little lost beneath all those obsolete beliefs. Confidence was in there. I couldn’t have hit the submit button without it. I found trust in myself; that constant reminder that my inner wisdom will guide me to the right choices, and whatever mistakes I make will serve as lessons in life. And, guess what I found tucked way behind all of this stuff? My creativity! It was a little dusty and I had to shake it a bit, wake it up. But I find that it’s coming back quite naturally, just like that urge to do some fall cleaning when the season changes.