Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NOW what??

It’s been a week since I sat at Birch Coffee in the Flatiron District and wrote the last line of my book. With each sentence, my heart began to beat faster, the noise in my head got louder and the finish line so close that it took everything I had to stay focused and push forward.

“Oh my GOD! You’re close! You’re almost there! Girl! You’re going to finish this book!” screamed the voices in my head.

I felt drunk with excitement overload – kind of like a first date when you know he (or she) is going to kiss you and things slow down and speed up all at once.

Straightening my back, I edged closer to my laptop in the hopes that by shifting my weight, I would give myself that final push needed to get to the end.

And it worked.

I did it. I finished and when I did, I wanted to jump up and scream to all the people in the café, “HOLY SHIT! I just finished my first book!”

Instead, I sat back in my chair and did a little silent “Woo hoo!” clenching my fists in victory.

That was seven days ago.

Today, I am plagued with the “Now what?” Sure, I’ve got a ways to go with the book, but until it comes back from my editor, I’ll have a lot of time on my hands and what better way to spend it, than to be obsessed with the next thing?

My friend Daphne, who’s always good for a kind kick in the ass called me out on it last night.

“You never sit in the space of the accomplishment. A year ago, Liz, you didn’t even know what this book was about and now look at you – you finished it. Why isn’t that enough for the moment?”

So, why isn’t it enough? I know I’m not the only one with this affliction. Why are we always looking ahead of where we’re at? If we keep waiting for something, how will we ever know it has arrived? It’s like being on a perpetual bus ride to nowhere.

Ram Dass, the famous Yogi, wrote a book in the seventies called “Be Here Now”.   He wrote:

“Reflect on the thought that if you are truly Here and Now
(a) it is ENOUGH, and
(b) you will have optimum power and understanding to do the best thing at the given moment. Thus when 'then' (the future) becomes Now — if you have learned this discipline — you will then be in an ideal position to do the best thing. So you need not spend your time now worrying about then.”


Why are so many people, including myself, obsessed with, “If that then this….”

“When I get my book deal, then I’ll be happy.” Or “When things slow down in my life, then we can be in a relationship.” Or “If I could just make enough money, then I’ll be happy.”

What about the now? What is great about the now?

What, in your life, is standing in front of you asking to be appreciated?

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to give this being-here-now thing a shot. I’ll let you know how it goes when the “then” becomes now.

Until then, I am

1 comment:

Horvendile said...

As I'm thinking about this now (heh), I picture a marathon runner crossing the finish line and saying to herself, "That was great! I think I'll start running another one tomorrow!" Forgetting, in the endorphin rush of relief, how exhausting the hills were and how many times she wanted to just stop running and take a cab home. And forgetting also that marathons are about pacing and endurance. So pace yourself and endure. Give yourself the writer's equivalent of a runner's big carb dinner. And if you want to run a marathon again, do it. But not right now. :-)