As I’ve alluded in a previous blog, I’ve been experiencing some
slight major anxiety since I finally made up my mind to move back to California and pursue my writing career in earnest. Immediately I’m plagued by thoughts like, “Why would you think of moving to a state like California in this economy? The price of living is higher, the competition for jobs is stiffer and the unemployment rate is in the double digits.”
On the heel of those reprimanding thoughts is the instantaneous urge to hunker down, play it safe and rely on good ol Plan B – the one with less considerably less reward, but much lower risk and much higher comfort level.
These last few years have been a bitch. Every time I thought I had finally made significant strides forward toward a more secure and rewarding future, unforeseen events would knock me back even further than before. It’s thrown what safe and reliable Plan B I had going on for me right here completely out the window.
How do I know that things in California won’t suck even more? Imagine if my back goes out when my income is required, and not just extra?
It sounds insane, really.
But a thought occurred to me yesterday that has nagged at me ever since. Maybe the reason my life *has* been so complicated and full of negative energy is *because* I’m not pursuing my Plan A.
Let’s assume for a moment that we’re all born with a purpose – that life is not some accident and there’s something special that only we can give the universe at this particular point in time. Call it destiny, if you will.
Now, religions tend to believe humans operate under free will which means that this destiny is somewhat reliant upon the participation of the individual involved. We’re not being moved around some big cosmic chess board by unseen deities who see fit to mold us to their plan, which somehow we later decide is our own.
Rather, we’re more like mice in our own unique mazes, whose choices have certain consequences that can be either positive or negative… yet there is still only one real path to choose for each of us.
Until you find it… you’re just stuck.
I personally believe that each one of us has a quality we bring to the planet and to the universe that is special only to us. I believe that is what we are born to discover and utilize. That’s our destiny. What it is and how we find it… well that is our life’s purpose. And I think those “aha” moments when we just *know* that we’re where we are supposed to be or doing what we’re supposed to do tune us into that quality, and give us the direction needed to know where to go.
I was fortunate enough that I found that quality very early on. Back when I was 11 and it became crystal clear to me that I had something that set me apart. The writing that I could do wasn’t a common commodity among my peers, it set me apart from the pack and made me “special.”
It was like I finally “plugged into” the universe. After that power was released, I couldn’t NOT write. It became as much a part of me as breathing.
That is not to say I haven’t gone months or years at a stretch without writing or even creating. I made other choices, chose other paths and what made me set apart from everyone else was delegated to Plan B.
Okay, more like Plan Z.
The reason for this is because Plans A through Y demonstrated, often painfully, that I wasn’t so special after all. I was, in fact, quite mediocre.
I always thought that was the reason I was never satisfied, or felt like there was something else I needed to be doing. But I’m beginning to suspect it had more to do with my own spirit being keenly aware I was no longer “plugged into” my purpose.
No matter how hard I tried, I never recaptured that moment of awareness I was able to recognize when I was a mere kid.
Oh sure, I could be an excellent worker who did the jobs charged to me with enthusiasm and quality, but that really didn’t – or at least shouldn’t – set me apart from any other person who had a decent work ethic and half a brain.
Yet in that uniformity was a certain form of comfort. There was no real hoop I had to jump through in order to get a payout… and that became priority when I had people in my life who depended on me to provide a stable income. I didn’t have to be special, I just had to be reliable. Since I knew I could do that, and wasn’t so sure anymore about the other, I trudged along as part of the pack, content as a cucumber to get lost in the crowd.
I think there’s a part of me that’s always worried that because of the “good but not good enough” syndrome I’d seriously fall on my face if I tried to do anything even remotely writing related. Instead of having something special and unique, I’d be just another partially talented hack schlepping for pennies and wallowing in inescapable mediocrity.
Destiny, shmestiny. I didn’t *have* to risk myself – and my family – to find out I’m really not so unique after all, which is what the sum of my life experiences seemed to be trying to teach me.
Which is what makes the trip out west so inherently terrifying. How many screenwriters do you think uprooted their “safe” existence elsewhere to pursue this dream, only to wait tables just to keep a shabby roof over their heads while they try to network at the neighborhood Starbucks?
The town is *full* of wannabes who aspire to be the next big thing, and odds are against most of us actually doing it, even if we’re talented. And nothing in my life thus far has given me any reason to trust the odds working in my favor.
Let’s say for the sake of argument that our destinies are more like rivers of energy that are meant to flow in a certain direction. They may come against obstacles like rocks or branches, but they flow around them and get stronger and more positive as they go.
Consider Hal Sparks – who decided very early on he wanted to be a comedian/performer. He packed up his stuff and headed for Hollywood as an 18 year old, and decided he’d never take a “substitute” job. It took years of hard work and perseverance, but eventually the path paid off. His successes have multiplied as a result.
The question wasn’t “if,” but “how long.”
He was living in line with his destiny – taking something unique to him (the talent to make people laugh – and think) and allowing the Universe to freely flow through him like an unobstructed stream.
Talk about being plugged in.
Maybe having a Plan B is actually damming up that river, and in doing so *blocking* all the positive things the Universe (God/Fate/Destiny) has meant us.
What would Hal’s life be like if he’d have stayed in Chicago and just decided to be a plumber or something? Sure he could be the most awesome plumber ever… but he wouldn’t experience life the way that he does right now – full of never-ending possibilities that keep him flowing in one singular direction; a powerful conduit for the Universe.
If he had swapped that direction with the idea something else was “safer,” maybe that energy would have been strong enough to try and correct the wrong and get him where he was supposed to go… whether he wanted to go or not.
Maybe… just maybe…
By *not* being in line with my destiny and doing what I was destined to do is why my life keeps throwing me these not so gentle curve balls to knock me back into place.
If we are meant to go in a certain direction, perhaps our lives are negatively impacted by *not* following those paths. Like the mice in the maze, we end up facing one dead end after another *until* we find the right one.
And if all of THAT is true, that means we have to really trust that the path we think is destined for us, because there’s really no way of knowing until we’re actually on it if it’s on course.
The way we know is how the universe responds to what we do. If we keep feeling like we are getting the ejector seat, maybe that’s indication enough. We’ve learned what we can from that path and we can move on and try something different, with a little more confidence we’re on our way to find out who we are supposed to be and what we are supposed to do.
Perhaps the only true way to be unstoppable is to align ourselves with this energy rather than work against it.
So do we define our path or does our path define us? What say you?