For the last two weeks, I've spent many hours in front of my computer going after my biggest dream - to have my fiction novel published. Though I finished the novel and have an amazing agent who loves the story, the novel has yet to see a publishing deal. My agent and I decided we needed to find ways to improve the story. So for the last two weeks, I re-entered the world of my characters and lived their lives, bringing some changes to how they saw the world. While I was writing the novel, I lived in fear: would I be enough; did I have the talent; could I make it perfect; would this be my last chance? I realized that the dreams that are the most difficult to go after are the ones that take persistence and that will challenge me for years. It's not hard to get on a plane and go to another country anymore. It takes money and planning, but it's something that I've become comfortable doing. Jumping out of airplanes, or hang gliding, is an adrenaline rush that pushes my fear button, but once again I know I'm going to love the moment.
This morning I realized that the dreams that make me doubt myself are the ones that take courage to continue when there's no instant gratification. I have no idea if my novel will be published. My dream to complete my senior moves in figure skating will take years of dedication and hard work; I wonder if I will have the stamina to keep going through injuries, failures, and exhaustion. And the dream to say how I feel without need or expectation is not an easy one for me.
Last Sunday, I sank to my knees and cried my heart out. The pressure I had put on myself had become so intense that I felt wasted and drained. I wasn't a good enough writer and I couldn't make the story what I desired it to be. I hadn't skated much in the past month, how would I ever complete my dream of passing the tests. I needed to tell a coach that I needed someone different, but I was afraid of the consequences of hurting her so I was willing to stay where I was. I looked at the constant risk of going after my dreams and thought, this is kicking my butt.
On Friday, for better or worse, I turned in my novel to my agent. I spent the weekend celebrating the accomplishment. Then yesterday, I returned to the mindset of reaching for my goals and making lists of what needed to be done. Then my pastor said something I needed to hear, "You are already enough. Go sit in the sun and think of the sun as love. You don't have to be anything to receive sunlight. You don't have to be different or better, you just have to be who you are."
I realized that in my passion to complete my dreams and achieve my goals, I'm so afraid that I won't be enough, or that I'm taking the wrong path, that I feel like I must forge ahead without stopping. But it's when I play, let go, enjoy what I'm doing or what I'm working on, that life is sweeter.
I will always embrace challenges. It's a high to be extreme and push myself to the brink, but every once in awhile I need to step back and say, "I don't need to be more right now, I'm enough."