I despised the work of Ernest Hemingway when I was younger. I thought his journalistic style of writing was uncreative and uninspiring. Reporting on life never seemed as exciting as daydreaming infinite possibilities. Nor was it as satisfying as the heavy-handed blows that could be dealt with a well-crafted argument. Before I started traveling, I wasn’t aware of the way simple observation could become the greatest gateway to imagination. How the world has enough mystery among the mundane to occupy even the most hungry head and heart.
I didn’t know this — and I do now.
Over the past four years, I have started and stopped numerous writing projects. I have covered everything from travel to sex to health to art. I would pick a theme and decide on a niche. I would do it for a while only to find some other topic of interest that would pull me from my original path. This is the creative process and, at the same time, is no way to tell a good story. When I bought a one-way ticket to the other side of the world in 2013 it wasn’t because I was pursuing the interesting life that so many of the greats say we must live before we can become good writers. No, I was just looking for a way to be anyone but the woman who had recently had her heart broken in exactly three places.
It worked for a while until it didn’t. And, despite all my failed attempts at escaping myself, I had some wild and wonderful experiences along the way.
I spent a month in Bali surfing. Three months walking half of the Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand. Three months in the South Island living at the Lost Gypsy Gallery. Three months as a stripper in Australia with the stage name Pepper. Six months at a CrossFit box in Brisbane where I also got my CrossFit coaching certification. Three months as a beekeeper and organic farmer up the Sunshine Coast. A month as a promotions assistant for a show at the Melbourne Fringe Comedy Festival. A few months as an alteration girl at Dejour Jeans. Many more months as a yoga teacher. Six months as a hemmer at Lululemon. One month as a costume maker for the comedy duo Sammy J & Randy. A couple of months as a stewardess on a private boat. Nine days as a deckhand on a boat delivery across the Tasman Sea from Australia to New Zealand. Two months becoming a PADI Divemaster in Thailand. Ten days learning how to cook Thai food at May Kaidee’s cooking school in Bangkok. Then a year in Vancouver where I started studying Integral Coaching with Integral Coaching Canada.
My travels should have been my first clue as to what my process needed to be. Not to mention the fact that over the course of my three years abroad — and even in the last year when I attempted and failed to reintegrate myself into domestic life — the only constant has been my stream of consciousness morning pages and social media posts. Being the kind of fool who needs to live something to understand it, I spent four years trying to be some other type of writer. One who was poised in her words and immaculate in her editing. Which meant I often started and stopped pieces because the sheer overwhelm of perfection made it difficult to hit publish.
Now, from the jungles and beaches of Nosara, Costa Rica, I’m at it again. Only this time, I’m approaching my process in a way that feels most true to myself and what I am trying to do with my work as a writer and as a coach. Which means I’m simply going to give you unfiltered updates on where I am at in my process. Whether it’s about writing or coaching or life, I’m just going to get it all out here. So I can feel seen in this process of becoming myself and also so you can find solace in the fact that life is messy and here is proof.
From here on out my blog is going to be comprised of only three categories: process, practice and poetry. Process being my writing on where I’m at in the moment. Practice being Integral Coaching practices that I’ve designed for either myself, my clients or because you’ve asked. Poetry being poetry; it helps me make sense of the changes I’m experiencing. Just like Hemingway, I’m going to give myself to you straight and unfiltered while keeping in mind his words of wisdom:
“The first draft of anything is shit.”
Ain’t that the truth.
I would love to hear from you and how you’re writing your shitty first draft of your life or maybe a slightly more formed second draft. Of course, working with me as a coach is always an option if you’re craving a bit more structure and accountability when it comes to your development. Share this post if it moves you. Follow me on social media if you’re into that.
Whatever you do, be sure to get some living in before you have to give this body you’ve been gifted back. You don’t have all the time in the world; don’t tell yourself the story that you do. Get amongst your process and have faith that things will sort themselves out.
Whatever you do, stay bright.*
*”Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labour wears while the used key is always bright.” — Benjamin Franklin (I know, two dead white guys. Ugh and also, wise words.)