Whether change comes through trauma or choice, it can be overwhelming to make a major shift all at once. Rather than feel pressured to make a master plan and have the outcome all figured out ahead of time, I find it helpful to take just one step.
From the chaos of change I survey the options before me, brainstorm to add some crazy ideas, and then choose a step to take. Even if the action is small, it’s still a step. I take this step. I stand in the new place I have come to and explore this new environment. From that position, I can repeat the process and take another step. And another. It doesn’t happen all at once. It’s one mindful step at a time. In small increments, I am creating a path that I believe in and that supports my life direction.
I recently felt the benefit of this method when I held 150 pages of fully-edited manuscript in my hand, and realized that I was actually holding my next book. In that moment, I felt a sense of relief, accomplishment, and empowerment. When I started out, thinking ahead to a completed manuscript had been beyond the limited energy, memory, and focus of my post-chemo brain. I had to do it piece by piece. It took years to get to this point.
My book process starts by printing out hundreds of transmissions from the Teachers. The printouts are sorted into piles of related topics, and each topic-pile is sorted into a linear message that will become a chapter. Then I go back into the computer and rearrange all of this information, clean out irrelevant material, and print it out again. Although each of these steps is painstakingly difficult for me, they offer the opportunity to review and relearn the lessons over and over, to absorb them into my soul.
Then comes editing. The business that helped me edit my first two books was unavailable this time, and I had to come up with something else. It’s very important to me that my editor not just be academic, but also interested in and comfortable with the topics. I didn’t know who that would be. I came up with a new idea, a new step. I invited a group of people to help me with the editing process. Six friends met by zoom every two weeks for eight months to comb through the manuscript page by page.* Everyone had a different skill set and fresh perspective. I began looking forward to spending time with them. I became a better writer. And I now have a completed manuscript! Holding it in my hand is a wonder. How did I finally get here?! Step by step.
I’m not done, of course. There are more steps ahead. I will have to figure them out as I go. Some, like the cover design, are in progress. Formatting, something I can’t even imagine right now, comes next. Eventually there will be submission to a printer and the ordering of hard copies. I’m hoping to have physical books in my hand by the end of July.
Then a very different leg of my journey begins. I will need to step off the page and back out into the world. I want to find a publisher to take on the Inspiring Deeper Connections book series. There will be promotion and marketing. Well-meaning people continue to offer me suggestions about podcasts and vlogs and book tours. This is all beyond my ability to absorb. I have to stick to the place where I am right now and deal with that. It’s important to revel in the excitement of the manuscript in my hand, to enjoy the step where I am right now. Be in it and live it. I will know when I’m ready to take the next step.
* Immeasurable gratitude to Melanie, Nancy, Zahir, Amy, Gene, and Abbie for their tireless love and attention to editing!!