The previous post was about the literal detours we've made during our first 6 months on the road in our RV. Today's post is about detours in the figurative sense ....
Despite the problems we had with the RV and all the hassles of detouring and trying to get them fixed, RVPainter and I continued to have fun. BUT, there's no question that it got to me sometimes. And it wasn't just the problems, it was the whole CHANGE thing - a huge transition for a girl whose always been all about "home." I LOVE having a home, I LOVE creating a lovely home, decorating it, arranging it, rearranging it - these are creative pleasures that are a big part of my life. Suddenly, these are gone.
And, I've always liked the security of knowing where home is and the comfort of familiarity and routine. But routine can also become synonymous with "rut." I've never been adventurous, and I've often been afraid to experience life to its fullest. I know that about myself, and it's something I've wanted to change.
Nova Scotia was our first long stop - a full month. We'd been looking forward to this rest from covering rather a large amount of territory in a short time. We thought, "This is when we'll start to see how you 'live' in this kind of lifestyle - as opposed to acting like you're on vacation all the time." I thought I'd write and RVpainter would paint.
But when we stopped, suddenly all my fears about the magnitude of this change and about the future crashed down on me. It was unfamiliar, we had no TV stations and internet was spotty. Everything that could possibly come up did - fears about all the awful things that could go wrong and fears about not knowing where we would end up or if I'd ever get back to having a home again. Not knowing how to make a daily life in this new set of circumstances. For about two weeks my anxiety was high and free-flowing.
But then I read a wonderful book by Robert Gerzon called, "Finding Serenity in the Age of Anxiety," which helped me a lot.
I began to realize that I have become conditioned from childhood to "achieve". To always be doing, working, studying, producing. Striving and toiling. And that a big part of my problem was adapting to doing less - to in fact doing little more than just ... enjoying the day and the scenery. In the past I've been able to relax easily on vacation, but I realize that it was because I knew it was temporary. To see that same sort of relaxation stretch on indefinitely into the future seemed to terrify me!
In his book, Gerzon says to ask yourself what God would want to say to you about the situation you're struggling with, and this is what I thought he'd say: "Melissa, you've been striving and toiling your whole life. It really would be just fine with me, and with everyone, if you goof off for a while. A long while. No one is waiting for you to deliver anything. No one is pressuring you to write your next book, or to produce anything. Only you are creating that pressure. See that beautiful ocean I created over there? Why don't you just go appreciate how beautiful it is, how wonderful the warm sun feels on your face and the cool breeze on your skin.Give it break, girl, it will be okay, it really will. "
Slowly but surely, I started to become comfortable with just "being" and not having to be "doing." One day I noticed that I wasn't worrying anymore; that I had moved into a place where I had handed over my fears about the unknown future to a higher power. I've always been a worrier, and I realized that worrying only makes you suffer constantly over things that haven't actually even happened. It steals the joy from the present. Since mid-way through Nova Scotia, I've found that I haven't been worrying much at all.
So ultimately what I realized is that this whole RV adventure is a DETOUR for me in my way of LIFE that I badly needed. It's not that I want to goof off forever. I'd get bored. I do want to write my next book, and the next and the next. But I felt pressured to get right to it, to not lose the momentum created by my first book. I also realized though, that I needed to back off from that and let the book emerge from my heart and my soul, and not from a place of pressure. And that the only person putting that pressure on me, was ... me.
I don't want to just write books to make money, I really want my books to be the best they can be. I want to be very proud of them, and I want them to delight my readers. My first book took me quite a while to write. Inspiration didn't just come to me continuously - it came to me over time. So I've decided to trust that I'm just where I'm supposed to be, doing just what I'm supposed to be doing, and that everything will come around.
If I just travel and see new places and experience new things, sit on beaches and under trees, rest and read and take walks, think and pray and appreciate for a while longer, I think it will be just fine. The point will come when I'm raring to get back to work, and the time will come when my next home will find me, and it will all be at exactly the right time.