As a national career coach, people often tell me, “I just wish I knew what I wanted to do.” I don’t believe them. I believe they want to know what they want to do– as long as it pays 100K a year and looks “appropriate,” like maybe becoming a brain surgeon for John Hopkins.
They don’t want to know that what they really want to do is drive a red convertible up the coast of Spain. Or take pictures of magpies. Study Reiki. Or sleep till noon and observe the stars at night.
Sometimes it’s a bitch to know. As an attorney, I ran away from my office and flew to a beach in Santa Cruz. I watched gray waves crash. I crashed. I knew what I did not want to know.
I knew I had to leave my law firm. I knew I would die if I ignored the part of me that wanted to write—and didn’t know how to make a living. I didn’t want to know this. I bargained with myself, but the negotiations were over. The poet had stormed out of the room, out of “playing nice.” She had waited long enough. She had suffered through conference room meetings and evenings in sterile law libraries. She had missed too many day hikes in the Rocky Mountains. She had left too many journals blank.
On that beach, I heard a voice within that said, “You know you want to write. And now you know you know. You may ignore this wisdom, but you will be back here years later, and you will know you knew.”
It’s like finding out your boyfriend is lying to you. You don’t want to know. But once you know, you can’t make it go away. The truth denied becomes a vicious beast. It becomes a rash, a bowling ball in your stomach, a lack of flavor in your food, an irregular heartbeat or blood clot, a razor blade in your side.
What do you know? Honor it sooner than later. The sooner you listen, the less work you will have to do to forgive yourself. You may not know a plan. You may not know specifics. You may not know anything that you think is “useful” or “respectable.”
Still, listen to what you know. It’s the part of you that is alive. The part of you that is alive has secrets up its sleeve. It has connections to other dimensions. It has energy. It has lifeblood. It has truth on its side.
Listen to what you know. Begin there. It’s holy. It’s safe. It’s safer than anything else.