The First Step to Anywhere!
Author: Nicky Woodsprite LeBlanc
Recently I achieved the heady experience of seeing my very first book manifest in printed form. Having been a writer for almost my entire life, though not yet a published one, I did not feel the great rush that some fellow authors told me I’d feel the first time I held my actual book in my hands and thumbed through its pages. I felt very matter-of-fact about it, actually…and why wouldn’t I? I’d been working on it day and night for six months! However, a few things that happened not long after I received my books and began selling them clued me in to the significance of what I’d just done.
One was that I heard a few people who had far bigger credentials than mine, speaking about how they hoped to one day have a book published but, for one reason or another, had not done so yet. This really struck me, because it was something I hadn’t thought about before. Sometimes, when we do something, we lose sight of how big it really is. This amounts to us under-valuing our achievement, in a way.
We need to stop thinking of our accomplishments in terms of “it’s about darn time I did this! ” and instead take a big step forward into the place of “I Did This and It Is a Really Big Thing!” Is this being proud of ourselves? Sure it is, and that’s all right, because in order to be self-confident in our ability to do things, we have to be a bit proud. Apart from that, though, it helps us to realize that there’s nothing wrong with the people who have not yet done what we just did. They haven’t done it yet, not because they’re somehow lower on the evolutionary scale than we are, but because IT IS A REALLY BIG THING. Just because we did it, we don’t need to go around acting like it’s an everyday occurrence. That discredits both us and others who’ve done it, as well as those who hope to do it but haven’t yet.
Another eye-opener happened for me the first time I went, with my book, to one of the rather big Pagan gatherings, Sacred Space 2014 in Laurel, Maryland. Of course I went there planning to take some awesome classes, participate in some amazing rituals, and meet some great new people. I also hoped to sell a few books! I was excited, thinking about MY book, in all its grandness, being on The Authors’ Table along with many others.
When I arrived, and strode boldly to The Authors’ Table with my small stack of books, though, I suddenly plummeted from a proud High to a small and humble Low. There were so many books already there, by so many authors! Some were by people I’d never heard of before, a few of whom might’ve been fledgling authors like me. But many were by very famous Pagans whom nearly all Pagans have heard of, some of whom were going to be teaching classes at the Conference! Since first helping to design the cover of my book, I’d been especially proud of how beautiful it was…but all of the books on The Authors’ Table were just as beautiful! And I found myself thinking, “Why would anyone choose my book from amongst all these?” From my own smaller world, in which I felt fairly significant, I’d stepped into a much bigger world and was feeling very insignificant indeed.
Happily, book sales happened and spirits lifted. And I learned that, no matter how big one’s accomplishment is, there will always come a time and place where one meets others whose accomplishments are bigger. There is no “best in show” for the majority of human accomplishments! The fact is, we are all traveling on a path, with some people a bit ahead of us, and others a bit behind us, and a few who walk along right beside us for a ways. Besides that, nearly all of us travel on several different paths at the same time! For example, I am traveling the Author path and also the Magickal path. I know people who travel just one or the other of these, and a lot who travel both! Some of them, I might be ahead of on one of the paths and behind on the other. Some, I might be ahead of or behind of on both! It really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I am ON paths and I am moving forward on each one, and so are you and you. Shared experience like this should never intimidate us; it can inspire us and give us insight and help us grow.
Sometimes we hesitate to take the first step…to writing a book or to any other goal…because we don’t feel that we are ready yet. The truth is, sometimes we’re really not ready, but oftentimes we need to get started on the work in order to finish the task of BECOMING ready! Our skills might need honing, and taking those first steps hones them! There certainly is importance in the preparatory work that we do, but acts of preparation can only get us to a certain point. The more advanced skill-enhancement comes in the actual doing. In short, there’s a limit to how ready you can become before you begin! It’s the process itself, and going through it, that gets you fully ready.
Do not ever wait to perform your dance, song, etc., or present your book, workshop, art, etc., until you or it is perfect, because if you are that picky, you’ll never think it’s perfect enough. Even when you do, for a moment, decide it is perfect, you’ll eventually encounter an example of it, manifested by someone else, that will seem better than yours. That is perfectly okay, too, because once you’ve taken that first step, and reached that goal for the first time, you’ll undoubtedly not stop there. You’ll reach it again and again, with each time being better than the first, even though none are that unattainable “perfect”!
It’s been said that beauty lies in imperfection, and that is true. As we gather our courage, shift our gears into “drive, ” and take our first steps toward the things we want to do in this life, there is so much beauty in our planning, dreaming, hoping, revising, conferring with others, improving, erasing, restarting, and finally celebrating and sharing! And while it could be said that as we manifest creative works again and again, we are striving toward perfection, I think it’s better to not say that. We’re not striving toward perfection at all; we are striving toward doing and completing, for only with completion can we have things to share with others, that can help and inspire them. And along with our doing and completing is our BECOMING. With each first step, and through each process, and with each completion, we become more and more the shining individuals we came into this life to be!