When I woke last week at 5:40 in the morning, I caught the full moon retiring in the still-black sky. Within minutes, it tangled itself in the oaks that are still holding fast to their brown curls. An hour later, as the sky brightened, I wondered, should I leave the warm comfy cove of blankets and drive to a hilltop to photograph the setting moon with the mercury dipped unseasonably below 20 degrees? No. Nah. Uh… Yes. Within 4 minutes I was out the door into the shock of cold. Minute by minute, the moon was sinking closer to the horizon. I drove a few miles until found a decent hilltop. The sun pitched a glaring fire behind me, and the moon, light as a slip, peeked shyly from a fringe of young treetops. I got the shot.
Did I have a tripod and take a world-class photo? No. But I did it. I did the thing I set out to do. And it was exhilarating. Sometimes, though, I don’t do it (whatever the it might be), or I don’t even set out. That’s because sometimes I get stuck in the sea of possibilities. Sometimes it’s just a puddle of possibilities that trips me up. Either way, I don’t get going. I swim and swim in my thoughts. But that day, I deliberated for under 30 seconds. And I did something. Not the perfect thing. But, the thing.
I recently flew across the country to San Diego to attend a conference for creative women. On top of fun and fabulous, the conference turned out to be incredibly practical and deeply insightful. Before we got into the tough stuff, we were asked to choose a word tattoo to place on our body somewhere. I had to glance over the list, and choose a word that spoke to me on some level. I chose possibilities, but it felt more like possibilities had chosen me. I didn’t really want that word. I already have notebooks, mindmaps, and cabinets full of ideas and possibilities. Sometimes they weigh me down because, as I said, I swim and swim in that sea. The last thing I needed was more stuff to swirl around in. Then it hit me. What I needed was a new way to relate to possibilities. A way to let them rise up around me and follow me like a glitter cloud, and yet be able to just choose one. Any one. And go.
Without mulling over my other tattoo options, I promptly sponged possibilities on the soft inside of my forearm. Huh. It looked oddly natural, as if it belonged to me in a way no other word would have belonged.
The little black script has since washed away, but its spirit lingers. Capturing the full moon in the pale morning sky last week, I sensed the dawn of a new friendship between me and my possibilities. I didn’t take the perfect shot of the moon. I just took a good one.
On December 8th, I’m offering an online writing workshop! I’m so excited because writing is one of my favorite ways to work through possibilities! I’ll be sending out more information on the workshop in a day or so. I hope you’ll join me!
So here’s the moon and your possibilities. Here’s to taking the shot from wherever you wind up, less than prepared, in that less than perfect circumstance. Maybe the shot you take will even be a good one. But no matter what, your day will be better because you took it.