The Clear Way Ahead.  Colonial Williamsburg, May 2010.

I have been writing this blog post all day, and it just won’t come together.  It has something to do with goal-setting, which was inspired by the latest blog post on Rachel Meeks’ excellent site, Small Notebook (one of my very favorite blogs).

Well, it has to do with goal-setting, but something more profound within that realm.  You see, I think of myself as a pretty gutsy person.  I moved to New York City at the age of 21 to become a musical theatre actress – and did it.  Then I left that career after several successful years, to pursue a degree in psychology so I could have a private practice helping people.  Did that.  I’ve worked for myself for most of my adult life, and loved it despite the risk and insecurity of that lifestyle.

I remember hearing Carol Burnett talk about her own journey to New York as a young actress; she said she just didn’t know it was supposed to be hard or impossible, so for her it wasn’t.  She didn’t know to look for the obstacles.  She only saw the path. Donald Trump has echoed this sentiment as a key ingredient to his success.  And I took it to heart, by golly.  Every time I thought about trying something hard, every time I worried that I might not be able to pull it off, Carol Burnett whispered in my ear and I just focused on the path.

A few years ago, though, I took two pretty big risks that didn’t work out.  One scarred me financially, and both scarred me emotionally.  I lost my mojo.  And something shifted inside me, made me scared to try again, made me see all the obstacles in technicolor.  This happened so all-at-once-and-yet-imperceptibly that I hadn’t really noticed until recently, when I woke up one day and discovered that I used to do work that made me sing (literally and figuratively), that I felt passionately about; I had always followed my bliss.  Right now I’m following the money and…there is a certain necessity to that, yes.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to have any kind of work in this economy (read: don’t ask for more) let alone work that is actually in my field and can help me reach some financial goals (read: it’s okay, and maybe could be enough if I just believe it hard enough).

But that’s not what I’m here to do.  I am here to live out loud, as the great Emile Zola said.  My passion has been stirring for several months now on a new-ish path, and I’ve done a fair amount of dreaming and researching and brainstorming and even talking out loud about it.  But every conversation, internal or external, ends with a clutching in my gut, followed by a sigh and “Oh…I just don’t know.”  A leaning back into the safe cushion of “I don’t know” because in that place, I don’t have to do anything (that might fail).  I don’t have to change anything (and risk it being awful).  I can go on living quietly.

Wow, all that from one blog post? Yep, all that.  A good blog post will do that.

So, now what?

Well, today I realized that none of this is true, unless I make it so.  I have been letting the inner voices of fear have the megaphone, and those voices are poisonous.  Poisonous, I tell you!  My sweet friend Pixie wrote about it beautifully last year, and has done some miraculous healing around the issue since then.  I need some of that healing right about now, because I am done letting fear guide me down the dull-edged obstacle course of Safe Choices.  It’s time to find those pieces of my soul that flew off in shards when I failed.  It’s time to reclaim them.

It’s time to let love and courage and passion and faith have the megaphone.