As I write this, I am travelling many kilometres underground in a metal capsule hurtling along a track at tremendous speed, with the waters of the English Channel above me. I am sorry I have written that line now. It brings my focus immediately to the very thing I promised myself I would NOT think about while it was happening. Drat!
However, it is part of what I am reflecting on at the moment. How we are willing to do that which we had not considered a possibility for us when something we desire is at the other end. It can have some very unexpected results - saying yes. In this case, travelling in a tunnel below the ocean to enjoy a week in sunny Provence.
Being out of my depth and saying yes to things I have never done before has been at the forefront of my thinking latterly. Earlier this year I was thrown in the deep end by the belief of someone who signed me up to write a play. He did this by adding the prefix of playwright to my name in a grant application and suddenly, the world had to match the word.
Even though I had not written a play since grade six, which is a VERY long time ago... and even though the timeline seemed ridiculously short, I said yes. I trusted his trust in me, and I had my own motives that had nothing to do with wanting to be a playwright. My prize, in this case, was a ticket to London to attend my daughter's wedding. A once in a lifetime reward.
In any other year, I may have said, No, I can’t. I don't know how.
But I said yes, and found to my delight that playwriting was an exercise of creativity and joy.
It certainly didn’t feel like work. The words seemed to come effortlessly; the scenes unfolded, the research lent itself to scenes that entertained and affected the audience beyond my expectations.
In short, I was suddenly in my element. Rather than seeking to be passionate about my work, being in the zone is what I look for and the search I encourage in others. We have a story that work ought to be hard. The more difficult it is, the more rewarding it will be. But I am getting to an age where I find this very questionable. The Protestant Work Ethic continues and supports that narrative, but when your work flows, when it feels seamless, smooth and satisfying all at once, then you know you are in the right space, tapping into the inner creative self that responds with zest.
And it shows. I have had so many comments lately about how well and glowing I look - although my friends are hard put to explain precisely what is different about me.
With those words, we are out of the Chunnel- on the other side- just like that. Well, that wasn't so scary after all.
I wonder what you might say yes to, and find yourself surprised by what you discover?