Today when I was walking my dog after work, I felt that familiar call from within to write something. I’ve been receiving these calls regularly for years now and I’ve become insanely good at sending them to voicemail. This particular call was accompanied by a memory of a recurring theme that I tend to forget and then am abruptly reminded of: most elements of our journey are so obviously gifted by the universe.
I was blasted by this memory because I was contemplating the amazing ways in which my dog has brought me back to life. He gets me out into nature, walking and breathing and sweating and thinking. He forces me to face my fears of “taking up space” and being seen and heard in this world. He forces me to plan ahead and discourages me from making impulsive decisions, which is one of my aries tendencies. Adopting him has filled my heart with a whole new kind of love and appreciation. And to name just one more, his presence in my life has helped me to stop overbooking myself, allowing me an amazing excuse to focus on taking care of my HSP self with more alone time, more time to write, reflect, feel my feelings and get organized.
As I walked and thought tonight, I was reminded of Stephen King. An odd place to go, I know, but stay with me. Years ago, I read one (and only one) book written by this man: his memoir. He has had a fascinating life and his memoir was both interesting and excellently engaging. He writes about his lifelong diligence in habitual writing and taking long walks in nature. He walks for several miles every day – a practice he has done for decades and which he swears has kept him sane. As I walked with my energetic pup, in my stretch shorts and sweaty forehead, I thought: wow…I love this. I love everything about this and it is both sad, but also happy that all it took was adopting this sweet, terrified, anxious, loving-home-needing stray doggie.
Doing things that are good for me has never been my strong suit, but I know that the universe a) had me read that book several years ago and b) had me adopt my dog this year. I know this because, Stephen King has never been a favorite author of mine. I have never thought, “Oh Stephen King, I have to read all (or any) of his books!” Not because of his writing, I am aware he is award winning with a huge following, but because of the sheer terror of the content, plot and story lines. I absolutely can not handle it. I came across his memoir serendipitously at the moment that I was meant to read it. The lessons within that book have stuck with me, so much of his life advice stuck to my insides like warm porridge on a freezing winter morning. And, I also know this because we adopted this dog faster than the speed of light. We agonized for years about wanting to adopt a dog, not being the right time, not having enough space, the right work schedules, the money to afford, and them BAM, one day we just did it. Most of those other fears didn’t really shift, but it just felt like the right time – something told us to go for it and we did.
Once this occurred to me, the similarities to what I was doing and what Stephen King says he does; and the randomness of my encounter with his book – I thought about how supportive and encouraging he said his wife was of needs for these daily long walks and prolonged quiet writing times. I too am blessed with an amazing supportive partner. We too are broke as the King’s were. We too are fiercely loyal to each other and we too are partners on this journey regardless of what our life looks like.
Over the years I have gone through long and short phases where I focus steadfastly on the gifts, both challenging and energizing, that the universe has brought me. Its been a while since I last focused on them but I’m about ready to pick up the old magnifying glass again. When I have major life events happening, it is so easy to get wrapped up in them and forget to take the time to reflect on these quiet, seemingly insignificant moments. The time in which I was most aware of this dynamic was when I traveled alone. It makes sense, I had so much free and quiet time to think, feel and reflect. So much space to sort it all out. I distinctly remember running through numerous cycles of emotion throughout my three months of travel, working through each emotion for as long as needed before moving on to the next one. It was life-changing and I will forever strive to find a balance between the hectic busy day to day of adulthood and the freedom of spirit that I witnessed during that time.
In the last several months the universe has been hurling messages at me left and right. In the past I had an easier time declining the calls, but now it seems as if I have sprouted out arms I didn’t know I had and began to answer them. From podcasts and audiobooks to opportunities to stand up for myself – the message is clear: I must begin to speak up. In a way that feels comfortable to me. In a way that demonstrates an authentic, loving, radical acceptance of myself. My true self. Sensitive. Survivor. Writer.