Practice of Becoming
“Being, I imagine, must be very simple. It is Becoming which is so messy and which I am all for.” ~ James Tiptree Jr.
Have you ever stopped to consider the difference between being as in a “state of being” as opposed to what it means to become? One could argue that being is a necessary state to learn to reside in- and I would agree that there are times that life asks us to do just that; BE in the present, practice mindfulness, enjoy the now, because life is not about what happened before or what is going to happen later- all we have is right now. And I get that. I value that- this is a particular mindset that has helped me sustain my mental, emotional and physical well-being in some of the hardest moments of my life. During captivity, I couldn’t think past the next five minutes. When I lost my mom, it was second to second- just breathe. But I also believe there are times in life where we are being invited (sometimes it feels like we have been forcefully thrown into it without our consent) to practice Becoming.
I’ve been reading Neale Donald Walsch’s profoundly crafted Conversations With God (book 1) during my early morning practice of which my ReCLAIM group and I refer to as our Sacred Start. This morning, as I sipped my coffee by the fire, in the semi-darkness and solitude of a still sleeping household, I underlined, asterisked and circled the following lines:
“The deepest secret is that life is not a process of discovery, but a process of creation. You are not discovering yourself, but creating yourself anew. Seek, therefore, not to find out Who You Are, seek to determine who you want to BE(come).”
I grew up in the Church- Evangelical, Midwestern, I was raised on casseroles, Bible studies and the Gospels. It was hammered into my head that my main mission in life was to figure out what God wanted me to do with it- that it had been pre-destined, his will, and the biggest test of my life (my literal eternal salvation depended on it!) was to figure out what that was. Like one giant cosmic game of Whack-a-Mole, I spent my 20’s and most of my 30’s looking for clues as to what I had been created to do and be and serve. It’s only been in the last few years that I have opened myself to the possibilities that there could be another way of experiencing purpose- maybe it wasn’t predestined, something I had to spend my life looking for, but rather, my purpose was something I could create? Maybe it wasn’t all a game after all, in which the pressure to figure out the one and perfect fit for my life’s plan, always left me feeling like I had somehow missed the mark, failed, screwed up and wasted time. Maybe, if I stayed open (be) I could determine what it was that interested me, made me feel excited, alive. I could take what I had discovered and experiment; maybe it was ok to get creative and messy and make mistakes and let myself enjoy the journey of just….becoming.
January was a month of becoming- it was exciting and creative, messy with mistakes, high highs and low lows, and everything in between- it was almost it’s own Deserts to Mountaintops journey in itself! Finally, after months of tirelessly working, we launched Soul Speak Press’s first anthology- 22 chapters, 24 women’s stories (one chapter had three co-authors!) and while it wasn’t easy- it moved with ease. We hit #1 on over 13 Amazon Bestseller/New Release lists, and we currently have 194 five star reviews on Amazon- and it’s only been ONE week! Next week, I’ll launch a big PR campaign and I have no idea how that is going to turn out. Throughout this experience, I have been tempted to just be. Sometimes, paralyzed with the not knowing of how to do things, what to say, or how it all might turn out. But I always came back to what I know: I can’t create the life I know I was meant for, if I don’t try. I’ll make mistakes (lots of them!) but I will learn what it feels like to choose: Who DO I want to become?
Soul Speak Press has three more “Memoir Manifestos” slated for publishing in 2023- all strong, inspiring, empowering women authors who have been through something, and are here to teach us what they know. Our second anthology will be published in November 2023.
Life is abundant and it’s hard to catch my breath sometimes, but I can see now, that I don’t have to guess at what I am supposed to be doing, whether it is right or wrong- God’s will or mine. God’s will IS mine and my will is in alignment with how I was made. I can create meaningful work, tell inspiring stories, and BE as I journey up to the mountaintop again and again and again. I guess to me, this is MY becoming.
If you find yourself reading this today- I hope it resonates and comes at a time when you need it. I am learning that it’s ok to change my mind, my directions, my focus. I complete my commitments, but I am open to changing direction on my path if I think there is something on the other side of the trail that I want to see, experience, create. It’s a lot of responsibility, this being human thing- we hold so much power for our lives and how they will go. But it’s also freeing to think that we are not victims, we are not at the whims of a God who wants to keep us guessing and that our circumstances do not have the final say.
We do. And we get to choose who and what we want to become.
Sending you love, gratitude and light as you move throughout your day,