My first novel, Hungry Mother Creek, was published in March eight years ago. This anniversary has passed seven times without much thought, but the number eight caught my attention. I reflected on my life before and after Hungry Mother Creek was published, and was overcome with gratitude for my younger self, who followed her inspiration to start writing fifteen years ago, and then was brave enough to share her work with the world eight years ago.
I tried to imagine my life without writing and publishing my novels, and it felt empty. For a brief moment I grieved all I would have lost, and the intensity of my feelings surprised me. Being a writer and published author has allowed me to grow personally, tap into my creativity and develop meaningful relationships. It’s also quelled the restlessness that had been a part of my life since college. Despite having meaningful jobs, enjoyable hobbies and positive relationships, I felt there had to be more to life.
John O’Donohue says that restlessness is the expression of desire, and although I didn’t consciously know it when I began to write, my intuition knew I had a desire to express my creativity.
On this journey I’ve learned to follow my intuition and ignore the negative self talk. The inner voice telling me to write was quiet but consistent, while the inner bully, telling me I wasn’t good enough or smart enough to write a book, was boisterous. The negative thoughts distracted me, especially at the start, but over time I learned to realign with the voice urging me along, and thank goodness I did that.
Despite what my inner bully said, I’ve now written two books that have been positively received by readers and book clubs, and have won awards. Following my intuition turned out to be the correct thing to do and has given me courage to more consistently follow my inner voice and create a unique life that’s my own.
We all have an inner bully, and it pretty much says the same thing, so listening to that voice keeps our lives small and conforming. It’s when we listen to the quiet, consistent inner voice urging us outside our comfort zone, that we tap into the authentic gifts we were meant to share. My negative self talk is still there, but now I acknowledge this as part of the process of moving outside my comfort zone, and not a reason to stop my efforts.
Dedicating consistent time and energy to writing has provided an outlet for my creativity, something I’d rarely nurtured earlier in my life. My creativity needed expression, and keeping it bottled up fed my restlessness. Now my creative life is a priority and I feel more content that I’m fulfilling part of my life’s purpose.
I don’t have visions of grandeur that my writing will create seismic shifts in the world, but it feels good to be doing my part. Bill Plotkin says it best. “The gift you can carry for others is not an attempt to save the world, but to fully belong to it. It’s not possible to save the world by trying to save it. You need to find what is genuinely yours to offer the world before you can make it a better place.”
Do you ever feel restless? That you were meant to contribute and experience more in the world? These feelings are natural, a part of the human condition, and only become toxic when we ignore them.
Based on my experiences, curing restlessness and discontent begins with listening to our intuition. Intuition is a form of knowledge that appears in our consciousness without obvious deliberation, and we must pay attention to be aware of it. Often our mind is filled with our negative self talk, the demands of others, or we are consuming media that drowns out our intuition. Going for a quiet walk, meditating, eating a meal in silence, and journaling are all ways to create space to hear our intuition. Often all we have to do is ask, and then pay attention to the first thing that comes into our minds.
Recently a client was struggling emotionally and I asked her what the best, most loving version of herself would say to her in that moment. She hesitated for a few seconds and then said, “I am somebody.” That was her intuition, or higher self, overriding her negative self talk and all it took was a question and some quiet reflection. Now this is her mantra.
Be aware that our intuition gives us assignments that feel difficult, like believing we are somebody, or writing a book, but that’s just our negative self talk. What’s difficult is living an unfulfilled life. So, take a breath, turn off the pod cast, step outside and listen to that quiet voice within…….
“A life that continues to remain on the safe side of its own habits and repetitions, that never engages with the risk of its own possibility, remains an unlived life. There is within each heart a hidden voice that calls out for freedom and creativity.”
John O’Donohue, “To Bless the Space Between Us”