On peace and serenity

This entry is part of my year-end, month-long Reverb 11 blogging project, where I reflect on my year in a series of daily blog posts.

I had a very peaceful year. That was entirely deliberate and by design, even though life conspired, of course, to assert its sovereignty and unpredictability. My previous year had been topsy-turvy with transitions and big decisions, and I knew I needed a lifeboat of a year, as steady and sturdy as I could make it. I used to thrive on a semi-chaotic existence, full of big challenges and epic endeavors. But I realized how drained I was after I graduated film school; I knew I was the edge of burnout when things that used to bring me joy and excitement felt like big, huge burdens. I faced the empty page and felt like I had less and less to give; I felt pressures all around me and experienced them as claustrophobia rather than exciting, ambitious challenges. I couldn’t hear myself think anymore, which is always the first bad sign for me. Honestly, I just wanted to go into a cave and sleep for about five years.

So, I decided to chill the hell out.

So this was a year to fill the well, so to speak, to stay in and stay put and put down some roots. I let myself get a normal, everyday kind of job so I wouldn’t have to worry about chasing after clients and finding my next paycheck — and to give myself some steadiness to write a novel. I made myself useful during a year when my family really needed my attention. I got a lot of sleep and rest. I saved money and sorted out my inner compass a bit. I let life get a bit more quiet, and finally I could hear what was going on inside me.

I think it is true, generally, that the answers to all our Big Questions generally come from inside of us. But in order to hear them, I find it’s important to carve out that space to listen, especially as life and demands and projects and decisions get bigger, louder and more complex. I’m discovering more and more that sometimes it takes awhile to even find the right questions to ask — and even longer for the answers to come creeping through the fog of delusion, illusions, and wish fulfillment. Peace for me meant having enough inner silence and stillness to let those answers come forward into the light.

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