100 days. Little more than three months. I wanted to celebrate this. Celebrate life.
I’ve been into self-discovery for a long time now. Every year, often twice, I would stop in my track, question what I want, who I am, where should I go next. And yet… This is the first year my foundations have been shaken this way.
In «The Artist’s Way», each week, Julia Cameron offers exercises to complete. Tasks to find our creativity and bring it back into the light. I’m not here to sell her book, she’s been around long enough to sell it herself, but it proved to be an invaluable source of growth for me. It offered me a seed. I decided to plant it.
Her first teaching is the morning pages. It simply means that every single morning, the task is to write down three journal pages. The goal is to clear your mind of everything that bothers you so you can use your brain to create instead of suffer.
I did the first seven weeks of exercise. Some were hastily done, while others were deeply thought out. But, at some point, something stopped me from continuing her book.
Something was missing.
Back then, I didn’t know what it was. I kept doing the morning pages exercise because, out of everything, this helped me the most to focus my thoughts and follow where my search for the missing piece was going.
My path led me to some avenues I never thought I would cross. I stopped reading (something I later discovered was an exercise Cameron suggested). I sought nature. I went out more. Tried new things on my own. Still, the missing piece wasn’t yet found.
For the past six or seven years, I saw my life as a tower. A kingdom. Everybody owns their own, made of what they think, what they do, who they are. My tower was tall, erect on a past kept hidden underneath. Looking out for answers didn’t work. I tried looking up instead.
Boy did that tower I made of myself needed work.
It wasn’t crooked. It looked strong. But its walls seemed… lifeless. Rotten. The only windows were near the top of it, where I spent most of my time. Everything else was dark. Empty.
I had found the missing piece. I knew what I had to do.
I took a hammer and started working. The first blows were violent. The tower needed to go down. And down it went. It didn’t take long for it to fall on the ground, revealing the basement I was always so careful to keep behind closed doors. I saw it, this black hole full of stale air, worms, and molds. Bent down and looked into it. Touched the rim of the stones that remained. I thanked it for what it taught me. Then, I started to fill the hole with the broken pieces of me.
A lot of the stones of the tower remained intact after the fall. One by one, I took them in my hands. Examined them. Each stone an idea I challenged. Would they be worthy enough to build another home for me? Nine times out of ten, the answer was «no». I tossed those stones into the hole with the others.
I questionned everything. Family. Love. Friendship. Food. Money. Possessions. Work. Studies. Passions. Everything that is part of my life went through the hard process of questionning it. What was enough for me? What was necessary? Why did I think that?
Why. That question remains the one I use the most. Why am I angry? Why am I bored? Why am I scared? Why am I worried? Why am I complaining? Within myself, all the answers. Every single answer starts with «I», never «they», because, ultimately, even if they act in a way I don’t like, I’m the one who doesn’t like it. It’s my decision to either do something about it or not. I take responsibility for my own actions.
The stones filled a little more than half of the hole. I used dirt to fill the rest and flower seeds as a finishing touch. Buried the past with love. Forgiven. Beauty will grow out of it, but it won’t be where I build my home anymore.
As I looked down on the stones that remained, everything that is now me, I noticed how small the pile was. It barely reached my knees. Yet, it was perfect. I transformed the stones into a backpack filled with all the necessities for a good camping trip and I left behind the patch of dirt, ready to discover what the world has to offer beyond the limits of the realm I always knew.
Life isn’t a tower anymore. It’s an adventure.
100 days of morning pages. This is what it took to challenge myself. Free myself. Maybe one day, after all those roadtrips into the unknown, I’ll have enough baggage to settle down and create a house for myself. But right now, 100 days into this new life I gave myself, I keep walking.