Throw Yourself in the River

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When well-wishers ask how the book launch is coming, all I seem to be saying is “I am so overwhelmed.”

Clearly not savoring this moment, but wanting to, I pulled out my dog-eared and notes-in-the-margin copy of Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. Here’s a sampling of what inspired me:

Time is a relentless river. When I fully enter time’s swift current, enter into the current moment with the weight of all my attention, I slow the torrent with the weight of me all here. Weigh down the moment in time with attention full, and the whole of time’s river slows, slows, slows.

photo credit jessie owen

As I fret over the swift current, beating myself up over my failure to stay afloat amidst deadlines, like not finishing my next blog post for HBR (that I’ve been finishing for three weeks) because I am in a dither over the Ad Club speech on May 3, because….you get the drift. But if I will give each task I've committed to — every blog post, every speech, every conversation, the full weight of my attention, I will have enough time, allowing me to swim in this brief sanctuary of a moment – the eve of publishing my first book.

Anything less than gratitude and trust is practical atheism.

photo credit freefotouk

We dream within the context of our deeply-held beliefs, I’ve written. One of my professed beliefs was penned by musician Stevie Wonder, “You can bet your life, and that, and twice its double, that God knew exactly where He wanted you to be placed.” But given that I struggle mightily to be grateful, hence my 15 Days of Gratitude last year. And without gratitude, I can’t trust; I’m in quite a bind. Yes, fear is an indicator that something matters to me, and therefore I should walk in that direction. But when we succumb to the stranglehold of fear, it’s pretty tough to believe in a providential world where who we are matters and our truest dreams can happen.

“Whenever man is made the centre of things, he becomes the storm-centre of trouble. The moment you think of serving people, you begin to have a notion that other people owe you something for your pains…you will begin to bargain for a reward, to angle for applause.” – mystery writer Dorothy Sayers

When I confided to a friend that I hope Dare, Dream, Do sells bestseller list well, she shot back, “Is that why you wrote the book? You know — that’s often the problem with second books. The first is written out of conviction, the second for the royalties.” My truth-teller friend is right. I wrote this book largely because I wanted to more fully attend to seeing your magnificence, no thought of accolades, just that single moment of daring and dreaming together: throwing myself into the river is the reward.

Thank you Ann Voskamp — I am grateful for your wise words.

What are your go-to books? Who are your go-to people when you need some truth-telling? 

How do you throw the weight of your attention into a moment? Into appreciating a dream coming true?

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