“From the moment I awakened, much too early, my mind was busy. Back to the looping thoughts: Where will I go from next week onward, and how will I afford it, and I scrambled for a little while, but not too long. Because, then, I remembered that I chose this, that I have an intention. And anyway, all of this unbridled freedom feels incredible, and important to me somehow. It won’t be forever, nothing is. I have, now, work, good work, and my writing to carry me. I have an intention. The doubts feel old and unnecessary."
This quote is a journal entry from September 13. I’d been sleeping on my friend’s couch for a week, as I had the last year intermittently. One entire year that I’ve been on the road, so to speak, writing my first book.
I had this idea when I left New York last summer that I would make space in my life for creativity, the recipe for which would include a precise yet maddening level of stress via what I deemed essential: uprootedness. What I mean is, I have not had an address of my own for one year; have lived on contract-based income; and was pursuing a creative, wholly uncertain career.
Across the six countries where I split my time, the obstacles of not knowing where I might sleep were small in the scope of the task I set out for myself —which was, not only about writing but to try to find the point of "it all."
I used to wake up a lot in the middle of the night, this last year, troubled with self-doubt, which in turn, grew into doubt in my ambitions. Crippling thoughts of failure would play on an endless feedback loop, and I would grasp for solutions with the kind of desperation that all humans are achingly wont to do — it’s both scary to live in, and be accepting of, the invitation known as the unknown!
Those following mornings, I would write my doubts down, to see which of my evening musings was truthful and what was fear; a practice which helped me check in, and re-align my purpose.
The other night, I couldn’t sleep again, though this time, nothing felt particularly wrong. My mind was not busy. I simply woke up.
The house was quiet, save for the fan I’ve been using during the sticky August evenings. Outside was quiet; no leaves were rustling, no rain was falling, no cats were mewing. Drawing open the curtains, and the sky was clear, crisp, and I could see the stars. Just, I felt moved by the sight of them. So I sat up for a moment, and rested my chin on the back of the couch, and felt, for a second, the raw, unadorned awe of a child.
Then my mind wanted to drift, so I let it. It traveled to the Outer Banks, where I spent last autumn, where there was little to no light pollution, and the bowl of the sky was scattered endlessly with stars. Sometimes, back then, when I couldn’t sleep, which was at the beginning of my journey before doubt trickled in, I would get up, and go outside to stand in a space that appeared empty of all things — sound, light, life, and gaze up. I felt so lucky to be there, so close to the source.
Coming back to the present moment, I didn’t care that I couldn’t see as many or as clearly as I could last fall. What I could see was just as lovely, and remarkable, and unique only for the fact that we exist at all. And then I didn’t think about else, I just looked at the stars, and smiled, struck with the wisdom that the whole point of this unusual life is only to be; just be alive. That’s all we have to do.
With this acknowledgment, I was aligned, once again, with the divine. In a sense, the sky appeared a mirror image to me — the way our lives, our friendships, our memories, are too extraordinary constellations burning bright with the light that we’ve made. Fabrics of existence that we create together, throughout our incredible life stories.
There is an extraordinary intimacy of all things, I think. The woven spirit of togetherness, oneness, living with, and in an unwavering sense of trust, in not only the self but in all 'other' is but integrity, love.
Jocelyn M. Ulevicus is a writer, educator, and seeker of truth and beauty. Her work aims to assign a meaningful, accessible, and loving language to themes of loss, trauma, and heartache. You can follow her on Instagram or contact her via her website.
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