limp and dangling

We could, you know. We can live any way we want. People take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience--even of silence--by choice. The thing is to stalk your calling in a certain skilled and supple way, to locate the most tender and live spot and plug into that pulse. This is yielding, not fighting. A weasel doesn't "attack" anything; a weasel lives as he's meant to, yielding at every moment to the perfect freedom of single necessity.
I think it would be well, and proper, and obedient, and pure, to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you. Then even deathwhere you're going no matter how you live, cannot you part. Seize it and let it seize you up aloft even, till your eyes burn out and drop; let your musky flesh fall off in shreds, and let your very bones unhinge and scatter, loosened over fields, over fields and woods, lightly, thoughtless, from any height at all, from as high as eagles - Annie Dillard

A few years ago, I taught Annie Dillard's essay Living Like Weasels and was gobsmacked by the truth of these paragraphs. I stared at the words while my students discussed diction and syntax and my breathe caught when I realized what resonated with me so deeply.

I wasn't living like a weasel in those moments. My one thing was darting every which way in front of me, evading my grip and slipping through my claws every time I got close. 

If I wasn't careful, I'd lose it for good.

This marked the beginning of many soul-conversations sessions with myself. I knew teaching was where I needed to be in that moment, but what about in a year? Two? Five? Was staying up late grading papers and wishing I could write going to fulfill me forever? 

Absolutely not.

It was as if in that singular moment the realization of where I was and where I wanted to be catapulted me into a new reality where I was clinging to my one thing for all its worth. For the first time, I believed in my calling.

I went home and started writing my novel that evening. A month later I had 55,000 words toward a complete story. Three years later, I sat in a Barnes and Noble and signed copies for strangers.

I started incorporating the importance of story—and living your story—into my lesson plans at school. Students left my classroom saying, "if we learned anything, it's that our stories are important..."

I went to a conference on STORY and in the spring when I took part in a storytelling class, both personal and written, for my church's get trained program I realized my purpose: taking my knowledge of writing and inspiration out of the classroom and into the church. 

I just had no idea it would be behind the computer screen.

Voicing my dreams—however crazy—is the one thing that kept my necessity limp and dangling from my jaw.

So I keep doing it, however far-fetched they seem. Last year, I had no idea I would be here - speaking into you and your dreams and holding high the banner for women and their freedom. It took a friend looking me in the eye and telling me these dreams were worth the risk for me to understand my heart beats a certain way for a reason.

Let me do this for you?

I'm reaching over and grabbing hold of your hand. Those dreams? They matter. Even the ones that seem sort of nebulous and hanging in the balance of reality. The way you move, the way you react, the way you light up: it all matters.

A few months ago, starting a business seemed not only impossible, but ridiculous. Foolish. Not for me. 

Until I sat down, listened to my dreams, and realized it was exactly what my heart wanted to do. Coupling writing + inspiring others to live out their best story? Done. I'm there. 

And I couldn't imagine being anywhere else.

This comes from my 30 days to finding your one thing. Want in on daily prompts+inspiration? Sign up here. 

Posted on May 13, 2013 .