Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Goethe
My old friend Goethe entered my life again recently. He’s been a companion for over two decades, although silent for much of that time.
I first fell in love with these words of Goethe as a young writer, mother, wife, and teacher. I clipped them from a magazine as a reminder to myself, lest I forget my deepest desire, which was to write, in the midst of my many roles.
Because time knows no direction except forward, the todays became yesterdays at breakneck speed. As my children grew, so did my busyness. One day I realized the desire to write had stolen out of my life without so much as a backwards glance.
The Goethe quote resurfaced years later when my daughter, at 12, found it shoved to the back of a desk drawer, forgotten among the bills waiting to be paid, and liked it enough to move it to a place of honor on the refrigerator. I smiled wistfully when I saw the words that once brimmed with possibility, and let them be.
Time continued to trek along. My three children left home one by one, and by mutual agreement, my husband made his exit too. Life returned to a more leisurely pace and offered time to remember, reflect, and regroup. My deepest desire resurfaced during the quiet moments, beckoning. I was scared to heed the call. My work felt safe and comfortable. But nothing is more real than a dream, so after months of deliberating I walked away from the preschool that I directed, from people that I loved.
For the first time in over 30 years, I found myself untethered to a classroom or office. Interestingly, I fretted less about the hit to my income than about the loss in identity. During the first few months, I floundered as I lost the feel of solid ground under my feet. I seemed to spiral, anchorless, through the universe. I knew not who I was or where in the world I was headed. I didn’t feel real.
I left my day job one year ago. Since, I’ve found my footing and am now once again on solid ground and could not be happier. My friend Goethe played a part.
As I traversed the path from full-time professional to freelance writer, I delved into Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. It’s billed as a 12-week course in discovering and recovering one’s creative self. Synchronicity, the concept that Carl Jung described as unrelated events occurring together in a meaningful manner, is explored at length in The Artist’s Way. Students are instructed to pay attention, to keep eyes open for it, because once we begin our creative recovery, we will probably be startled to find it cropping up everywhere. Cameron uses the Goethe quote to encourage students to walk in the direction of a dream, because once we do, she says, all sorts of things occur to help that would never have occurred otherwise.
I wasn’t sure if the old clipping still clung to my refrigerator because we tend to stop seeing things that are right in front of us every day. Believing this an experience of synchronicity, a message of sorts, I scrambled to the kitchen to check. And there he was, partially hidden under a magnetic photo and a gaudy bottle opener from Las Vegas, still hanging around. Goethe’s words brimmed with possibility once again, and I moved them to a more prominent position.
And it’s true. All kinds of good things have happened since I began walking in the direction of my dream. I know where I’m headed. And I hope to share this with you.
Editor’s Note: Visit Candyce at her site, http://candycedeal.com.