The Eye of the Needle

I’m looking for the eye of the needle again. That small opening in my chest, my consciousness, that allows me to lift myself out of the press of the moment and feel aligned with my life and purpose. Now there’s pretty big words – the bottom line, I suppose, is that yesterday I spent the entire morning getting out query letters. I’ve been trying to sell a book manuscript, and after each pause in the process of querying, I’ve revised once again, honed once again, gone at it again. A valuable process. And today, after a long day yesterday of extending myself with letter writing and four hours of teaching last evening, I’m tired – and being tired often leads to discouragement.

Ah. There’s the word. Discouraged. I knew that if I sat here with the laptop humming and the words writing themselves, I’d finally come to the issue.

What to do with discouragement? What to do with a heavy chest that longs for a crack into believing?  What comes to mind is that I’m not alone. I expect the feeling is often general these days. The to-do lists are too long. The unfinished business too massive, the struggles beyond easy repair.

The thing is, I’m not alone. I know that. All I have to do is think “Gulf” and in my mind’s eye, I see the animals struggling in oil messes, the people cleaning beaches that won’t stay clean, the turtles, fish, birds, fishermen, boats, tools, water caked in oil. My struggles are nothing compared to that. So why doesn’t my chest lighten up?

When confronted by the demons of self-doubt, I usually pick up a book. This morning, I picked up a book about Hawaiian legends. The manuscript I’m selling is set in Hawaii, so I this Hawaii legends book is handy most of the time.

The passage I just read has to do with Duke Kahanamoku, an Olympic champion swimmer and world-class surfer. “Anyone who surfs knows that when surrounded by the strength of the sea, you are on your own. There is a time in our lives when each of us is provided an opportunity to rise to new heights of expertise through a confrontation with self-doubt.”

Well. I smiled for the first time this morning and the needle’s eye-opening cracked just a bit wider. Duke went on to say, “It was more as though the wave had selected me, rather than I had chosen it.”

And I remembered that the experience of going to Hawaii and the ensuing healing chose me. Whether or not the book gets published, the experience happened and it changed my life. The other experience came from writing the book and all I learned in the process. And the needle’s eye in my chest stretches wider. (If you’re wondering what happened? what happened? you can go to and click on Writings. Part One of Standing at the Crossroad is attached.)

Interesting, isn’t it, that “completion” can take a turn where we least expect it and the crossroad clearly marked turn here.