Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fumbling Toward Clarity

I'm trying to think what it's like.

It's kind of like stepping out into a stream, testing with your feet to know whether a rock is stable to stand on. Whether it's smooth and flat, whether it is well-anchored itself, or whether it will land me in the deep, drenched and cold.

It's like feeling around in the dark on my night table, careful not to knock over my eyeglasses or books, trying not to wake anyone, feeling with my fingers for the clock or the glass of water, without using my eyes.

It's like writing a poem or a story, struggling to find the exact word, the perfect way to describe an object or an experience.

It's like twisting the dial on a radio or the manual lens on a camera, with the slightest alteration causing either fuzziness or clarity.

I'm in the midst of shifting what I do for work, just a little bit. The idea dropped into my head on April 19 and here we are, two and a half months later and it's still coming into focus, still a work in progress. This, despite my determined and intense efforts, my enthusiastic conversations and even more determined listening, despite my endless reading and list-making. And despite the fact that it really is a slight change.

But then, it's a slight change that throws a picture out of focus, or makes you step into the stream instead of crossing dry-footed. It's a slight change in a poem between describing something as 'grey' or 'gray.' And those slight changes, those nuances matter intensely.

In this case, as in so much, I'm listening with my intuition more than anything else. Because I want this new step to be really me, so that I can use my best skills and experiences in service to others. If I try to be someone else, try to create a service I can't deliver, try to do something that doesn't fascinate me, it isn't going to go far and it isn't going to be fun along the way.

But it interests me what this process takes. For one thing, it takes time. Oodles of noodling time. For another, it takes false starts - putting forward an idea and then retracting it if it's wrong. It takes listening to wise people. It takes keeping my mouth shut until the time is right, to ponder the ideas in my heart. It takes a willingness to put my vision into words, to dare to sound idealistic and hokey. It takes notes on the backs of envelopes and chequebooks as well as on the computer and in a file. It takes a willingness to commit - to say yes and also to say no to other pulls. It takes a willingness to step into the water, to grope in the dark, to search for the right words, to listen for clarity.

And I'm almost there now. And soon it will been time to tell you about it. And to invite you to be part of it.

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