I am so glad you asked this as well as incredibly apologetic for how heinously long it has taken me to make good on my word of a response.
Clearly, K, I have it all together.
I've picked the perfect time in life to no longer have a bi-weekly steady paycheck; to pay for insurance out of pocket for the first time ever, and to keep living in this country's most expensive city just the same. You can probably tell by my sporadic posting here that I am really regimented in my writing and have no insecurities whatsoever in this next chapter of life...
Listen, K --
I wanted to write you an actionable advice piece, I really did. I wanted to neatly list out things for you to do to stay in the confidence zone, and provide tips on groundedness as if I had personally studied with grounded gurus like Pema or Sylvia. I wanted to help you surrender like Glennon or Liz, and to make your days feel connected, in the flow, and beautiful.
But it just wasn't working for me.
Because honestly? When it comes to living a creative, self made life such as the one I hear you speak of, there is only one thing I know for sure:
You feel into it, as only you can, every single day. You just feel your way through it -- awkwardly, gracefully, painfully, triumphantly.
Surrendering & groundedness, for me, most often feel a lot like plain ol' remembering.
Somedays grounded looks like several hours spent in a coffee shop writing until your brain mixes up your unique thoughts with the lyrics to the Taylor Swift song playing in your headphones. Somedays surrender might look like staying in your apartment, eating peanut butter from the jar, leaving only once to pick up an avocado because you suddenly realize that it's guacamole you need, not peanut butter. Guacamole, immediately.
You'll learn to give yourself mental rewards for small things. Maybe your last piece of writing did not get picked up, but you cooked such a bad-ass corned beef and cabbage St. Patty's day dinner that your boyfriend went back for thirds, so you've got that going for you.
(It isn't silly to be proud of the small things, K.)
You ask your people to support you. You send them links to anything you've written and have been able to get published (free or paid...probably free, for now) and say MY DEAR PEOPLE -- SHARE WITH YOUR PEOPLE, I BEG. And then you ask them again a few weeks later, and a few weeks after that with additional smiley emoticons, even though you're beginning to feel like a "bother" and guiltily log on to social media to specifically "like" a few more of their posts as an attempt to even the playing field in your mind.
You set hard deadlines for things like business cards and websites and client counts. Then, when you do not meet them, you let yourself feel like a failure for only a few minutes because you remember that deadlines are made up, and not a thing to disappoint.
You remember to focus on only the next right thing, even if that next right thing means guacamole, immediately.
You live, honey. You keep adventuring, and activating every cell of curiosity and gratitude in your being because that's what inevitably gives life to the best stories -- you, living yours.
The Ego never fully shuts the hell up. That is hard thing to hear, I'm sure. It's a hard thing for me to type. But when we can take this truth and simply observe it, labeling it as just another piece of "thinking", it loses so much of its power. It is possible for it to become a part of our being to stay curious about. Working with your ego is an act of remembering the role of its voice, and deciding time and again to forgive its little, insecure messages like you would a small child. When your ego is in overdrive, it must mean you are fearful of something. And if you are feeling even a bit fearful in regard to your life purpose, it must mean you are really going for something good -- pushing your vulnerability speeds to high, and really going for it.
That, I feel, makes you a bad-ass.
Rest. Play. Create. It's been studied, said, written about for generations now and has yet to change: No one ever goes to their grave wishing they'd spent more time at work. Remembering to enjoy the process of our particular kind of work will make it feel a hell of a lot less like a job to pay the bills, and more like a blessing we live each day.
Read. They say if you want to become a better writer, to read more. While I can't speak to how this has specifically influenced my own writing, it is by far my most favorite way to "practice" my craft.
Maybe your work doesn't quite feel meaningful, yet. Maybe your work has yet to reach its earning potential or site traffic goals or affirmations of approval, so it doesn't feel meaningful.
Consider this: Maybe what you're doing is meaningful simply because it is what your soul requires of you.
Because then (and this is the really good part, so I hope you've stayed with me this far) -- someone like you, K, will read a piece you've written and have the courage and kindness to say nice things and to engage with you. They'll ask you a question encouraging you to go deeper, surprising you to know someone might want more. Who, me?, you'll think.
And this makes it all feel worthwhile.
This helps you remember.
At least, that is, until tomorrow :)
Keep living into your life, K. Work hard at this work worth doing.
Do this meaningful work because you can. And know that it is...and you are...enough.