My friend Dina calls it “shaking the Coke bottle.”
That feeling when “nothing” is going on. When life doesn’t feel sexy. When I am going about my business doing what other people do. Grocery shopping. Paying bills. Taking out the trash. And, seemingly, not much else.
I don’t like it. Given my druthers, every day would be my birthday, New Years’ Eve and the 4th of July all wrapped into one. (Actually, I don’t really care for either of these holidays, but they speak to the notion of fireworks and something shiny, new.)
I want to make “something happen.” Anything. Ergo, Dina’s Coke bottle. I imagine it as glass, and filled with soda made from sugar, not corn syrup – before it was retro. My thumb covering the opening. Fingers wrapped around the body. Shaking violently and knowing when I let up a spray of sticky sweetness will shower me, and anyone in my midst.
Sounds great, actually. The sweet spray, that is. Trouble is, the mess. And the dreaded clean-up. Sticky residue.
Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way series, writes that “too much drama equals not enough work.”
There is no drama right now. Not enough work either. Correction, it is there. I just don’t seem to be doing it.
Entering billable time for the past month. A tedious and mundane task that will take me, at best, 45 minutes.
Submitting two pieces – already written – for publication. Their titles and the word “pitch,” scrawled on my white board months ago and never erased.
Tackling the looming job search.
What I am doing is writing. This is a good thing. (Consider that the word “write” is tattooed on my right, inner wrist. “Left” on the opposite.)
Except when it keeps me from taking small actions that chip away at what appear large and overwhelming tasks. When it keeps me from making those satisfying little check marks on my to-do list.
This morning, while journaling my morning pages, I gave words to the hidden fear that the Coke-bottle fantasy seeks to remedy, or at the least, cover up.
That I will run out of subject matter to write about. My blog will grow dry and fallow. My life will grow dry and fallow. I will grow dry and fallow.
There is no romance. No big, new job. No decadent travel in the works. There is “nothing” going on.
What I forget is, when I do what’s in front of me, the rest, somehow, seems to magically take care of itself. And often, sexy little gifts from the universe emerge – if I choose to see them that way.
Strangely, it is not a linear process. A plus B does not equal C.
It is like weight loss.
There are weeks when I do everything “right,” the scale registers a gain and I call it a liar. And weeks when I do everything “wrong.” It shows a loss. And I thank the weight-loss goddess and keep on moving. When this happens to my Weight Watchers members, I remind them that it is what they do most of the time that matters.
Or like marketing. My spiritual business teacher insisted that we students reach out to 20 people a day and speak our vision – what we do, what we offer, what we promise.
“I am a massage therapist and bodyworker. I help people fall in love with their bodies, take care of their bodies, and do things they never imagined possible.” Twenty times a day.
When I did this, clients came to me. Not a single one directly from the outreach. But from other places. The universe answering my call. Proof that energy begets energy.
Or, as my friend Teresa used to tell me, “Nature abhors a vacuum.” Or, eventually something is going to happen.
So today, I will do what is in front of me. I will lead two Weight Watchers meetings. Meet for another informational interview. Go to a friend’s gallery opening.
I might even drop an email to my friend Steven about a trip to Italy we’ve been considering.
As I commit to this not-so-sexy stuff, the footwork, I feel my grip loosen – fully aware that the sticky, sweet will go flat. But that my life has not. Even if it sometimes feels that way.
Post Script. I met a milliner at tonight’s art opening. She shared that she used to make hats full-time, but that she had to get a “real job” when she got divorced. She found one, with great benefits and vacation. And that leaves her time and energy enough to continue to make hats.
“We’re looking to hire,” she offered. I smiled at the synchronicity. I told her our situations are strikingly similar, handed her my card, and asked if we might talk further.
Sexy little gift from the universe. And no clean up.