Two Words

I stood in the kitchen of my tiny studio apartment talking to my life coach a year and a half ago. We were on our weekly conference call, she in Austin, me in Nashville. I was frustrated about something—some goal I hadn’t yet achieved, some step I was afraid to take, some hurdle I had yet to overcome, I don’t remember. Rather than toss a bunch of “you should”s my way, she shared a story of her own. She described a past relationship she struggled to end and how she lamented to her father her fears that she might not ever get out of it and get over it. Her father’s response? You will. 
 
I met a woman this week participating in an artist residency with which I’m affiliated.* During our brief chat, she expressed concern that she would not get out of her experience what she’d heard everyone else had gotten out of his or hers (and having gone through it myself, what I had gotten out of mine). Rather than toss a bunch of “here’s how to ensure a transformative artistic experience” lines her way, I said, You will. 
 
You will. I repeat these words to myself over and over again. I have offered them to others in lieu of advice and in the hope that they are a comfort because they were offered to me in that same way. 
 
Will I ever stop grieving? You will.
Will I ever get that thing I need? You will. (Actually, you already have it.)
Will I ever quit smoking/stop drinking/lose weight? You will.
Will I ever get over him/her? You will.
Will I ever know what to do next? You will.
Will I ever find my purpose? You will.   
 
I’m not arguing for putting off until tomorrow what can be done today. Yes, we all have a limited number of days on this planet. There is a 100% chance 100% of us will die. But you will takes the pressure off today so that we can actually be present for today, so that we can do the work required of us today (the things that will make you will a reality later).
 
If we can ease up on some of the pressure we put on ourselves to figure it all out, to have everything be “right” or “good” or “perfect” the first time (or the thirtieth time), or to move our hearts and minds faster than our feet, then we don’t give shame any real estate in our lives when we don’t get it all done today, or we “fail,” or we trip over our own two feet. Because that shame, that you-should-be-moving-faster,-experiencing-more,-doing-better shame is born from a painful sense of urgency that will only leave us dissatisfied and still wanting more in the end. Urgency works in direct opposition to actually being present and being patient. Urgency is a trickster. Urgency comes dressed up as the present, screaming now, Now, NOW! This is really important! But the urgent moment is not the same as the present moment. Urgency always wants more. Being present only wants what is.
 
You will is an empowering paradox. You will moves you to I am. You will because you already are.
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* An artist residency is a dedicated space for artists to retreat from the pull of their daily lives for an extended period of time, usually somewhere remote, to focus on their art.