Time to Unfurl

Though I haven’t yet spotted my first spring flower of the season, it’s coming, and fast.

pink flower

I’m ready for it now, but few weeks ago, I wasn’t. This is unusual for me. Normally I’m on high alert for the first signs of spring. But not this year. For some reason I was hanging onto winter – despite the freezing temperatures and towering drifts of snow – I didn’t want it to end. I wasn’t ready for the thaw, for the melt and the mud, for the sudden exposure and vulnerability.

There is a risk in being seen, and heard.

A couple months ago I wrote about discovering my love for winter, and how in a way, my writing life has been in an extended winter since the birth of my daughter almost seven years ago.

It’s not as if I stopped writing. I blogged and journaled, I even published another short story, but writing was something I squeezed into the edges of my life.

When I read this passage in my favorite creative book, Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, I recognized myself:

“Women trick themselves this way. They’ve thrown away the treasure, whatever it may be, but they’re sneaking bits and pieces any way they can.”

Writing wasn’t a priority. My life as a writer was in hibernation.

I’ve been hesitating into spring for some time.

My daughter's attempt to hurry the season.

My daughter’s attempt to hurry the season.

Now that I’m finally ready to claim it, there is – of course – fear. Not just fear of failure, which is a familiar companion, but fear of keeping up.

The clock of my life is ticking away. I will be forty years old in a few months. I’m itching to begin and yet paralyzed by the task ahead of me.

Against my better judgement, I’ve been playing the dangerous game of comparison. Social media is not helping. Though I enjoy it for reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, there is a danger in falling down that rabbit hole. When I spend too much time there scrolling, clicking, commenting, favoriting, I grow exceedingly anxious.

It takes effort, such effort, to drag myself away and remember this truth:

comparing

It helps to have friends. Ones who I’ve never met except online. Their words are like hands reaching out in the darkness, footholds in the cliff I scramble to climb.

There are many voices that I gravitate toward for guidance and grounding, but these two in particular rang out like bells this week, guiding me out of the shadows of winter into the green golden light of spring.

“Without the clutter, I feel the weight of my frailty, the extent of my lostness, and the possibility of newness. I put aside the striving of to-do lists and achievements, and the burst of energy comes.” studies in hope

YES. This is what I needed to hear. In a post inspired by Lent, which I know little about, the idea of making space, of clearing the path, and seeing what may filter in resonated with me.

Then there is this quote, from another wonderful site, Healing Your Grief:

“Our freedom is always in letting go, surrendering and allowing our life to unfold exactly as it is meant to be. This doesn’t mean we do not create and open or build doors towards our goals, it means we need to loosen our grip and stop holding on so tightly to our plans and dreams.”

This one I’m still untangling. What does it mean to loosen my grip, to let go of what I’ve been clutching for years? What might I accomplish if I let my gaze wander away from the prize?

I don’t know, but I’m ready to find out.

As I steady myself on this precipice of change, I know it’s imperative to turn down and tune out some of that noise. I must remember to focus, my word of 2015, and to trust myself.

focus rock

Are you ready for spring, or do you harbor some residual winter longing? (Clearly, this is not the case if you are a New Englander!) What season of your creative life are you in?

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25 thoughts on “Time to Unfurl

  1. Great post Dana and I can relate to everything you are writing. It was a patient process for me to let go of control and my fear in believing I always had to “do” instead of “be” If nature can move into Spring without our help and in the perfect timing, we too can trust that everything will unfold as it should in plenty of time. As long as we turn up and do our best each day, we can receive exactly what we need 🙂

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    • Thank you Karen. I just love this: “if nature can move Spring without our help and in the perfect timing, we too can trust that everything will unfold as it should…” And I hope I can learn to be rather than do in the coming weeks as spring erupts around me.

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  2. The social media comparison can be paralyzing for sure if we’re not careful. I understand what you mean by the comfort of winter and hibernation. I’m being pulled by the dynamic Spring-like days we’ve been having, my mind full of projects, my body full of energy. At the same time, there’s a part of me that is hesitant, careful, worried… wanting just a little more time too figure some things out. It’s that constant push and pull, but it’s good to be pushed out of the nest sometimes and forced to fly, haha 🙂

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  3. I cling to winter…I always plan on getting so many things done in the cover of winter…catching up on photo albums, writing a book- you know. Ha. I’m a homebody and I like an excuse to stay in and drink tea. Even though I suffer a bit from seasonal affective disorder and spring is my favorite season, I find it’s arrival threatening, just after it, the rush of end of school year activities and summer planning. I think that’s why the space of Lent, before all that begins, is so comforting to me. It’s that “lull” before things get crazy again. Plus- as you say, one is more vulnerable in spring/summer. I get so used to throwing on a long down coat and hat, that it’s hard to just walk up to school without all that. I’m trying to see things in a different way- instead of asking why I didn’t accomplish more in winter- I’m recognizing that since I have a lot of energy in spring- maybe that’s the season I should be trying to get more projects done. Anyway- thank you for the kind mention Dana.

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  4. Dana I adore your daughters spring garden, she is as creative as her mother. I love your comparison to the big thaw and winter. You will have more time to write because you wish it. Letting go for me is just doing what I can each day to sharpen my skills. Being okay that I cannot do it all in one day and thanking myself for daring to be creative and share. Thanks for the inspiring post. Totally agree not to compare oneself to others as we are all at different levels of learning. Keep writing friend.

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  5. Writers…we’re such funny creatures. We love our solace, yet thrive on the tiniest validation from our peers. You’re right to not compare yourself to anyone else. Do what you can and it will be enough. You just have to have faith in yourself and set reasonable goals that pertain to your own unique situation. Be bold and write on!

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  6. Interesting that this is what I end up reading when my inbox is full of unread blog posts. Several months of them. I have been focusing so much on my own writing goals (not a bad thing, I suppose) that I’ve been ignoring the rest of the garden. So to speak.

    Right now, I am querying a complete fiction project and I am 72,000 words into my current WIP. To say I want to make something happen (something big and tangible and dream-worthy) would be an understatement.

    And yet.

    Maybe I need to loosen the grip a bit; look at all that I’ve already accomplished, the progress I’ve made. Then, instead of seeing how far I still have to go, I can appreciate how far I’ve come already.

    Then, of course, it will be time to get back to work.

    Always. Back to work.
    Keep writing….keep dreaming.

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    • Julie, I am honored to have been read by you during your temporary hiatus. And congrats on querying your fiction project and being so far into your WIP. It’s funny, I’m close to 72,000 words on my second-ish draft of my WIP and trying so hard to push through to the end, but it’s been going quite slowly as of late. I may need to take a lesson from you to get moving 🙂

      I’m still trying to figure out what it means to loosen my grip. I think in a way, I need to careful not to let tunnel vision take over, and be sure to allow other things to enter the realm of possibility. But how to juggle that ANd finish is my big question.

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  7. Loved reading this post Dana, and the quotes are fab. The running with wolves one resonated with me strongly – I’m always sneaking in little bits and pieces of creativity. The closest I get to ‘me time’ is the two hours after the girls go to bed that I spend breastfeeding the baby! Gotta take the time where you find it…

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    • Thank you so much Renee. That book, Women Who Run, is fantastic. There is a time of course when sneaking in our time is the ONLY way. But when the time begins to open up, so should we. I’d say you’re up and running, despite having such small children!

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  8. ha, I’m now a New Englander! Transplanted from California, which didn’t really have the seasons I’ve grown to love and hate.
    I love this post. I am always ready for spring, but I can also understand how much I’ve secretly enjoyed hiding away too.

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  9. I kept nodding my head in agreement as I read your words and sentiments in this post . I think you aptly pared down the essence in this line, “There is a risk in being seen, and heard.” I’ve felt much of what you described with my writing. No words of wisdom – know that you are not alone. xo

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    • Thank you for this Rudri. Yes, exactly, that IS the essence, isn’t it? Being seen, being heard. That is something I have been working through my entire life. I really appreciate knowing I’m not alone in this.

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