In July of 2008, as I was contending with some particularly prickly patches of chaos and mayhem in my position of VP, Publisher at Simon & Schuster, I scribbled the following words in my journal: "Is this all one big message—a flag, an arrow, a road sign— telling me to go somewhere else, do something else? To do something NEW? Is it my time to go and try something new, fresh, a new beginning? “When you're ready to take a risk, the world will crack open.” The world seems to be ready for me to take some risks. Now I just need to be ready and willing!" I wrestled with the tumult of feelings, hurriedly wrote the words to get them out of my system, secreted my journal away, and got back to work.
In May of 2009, after nearly nineteen years with the company, I was laid off. Although I’d felt inspired and energized by Tolle’s words and although I’d expressed serious questions and doubts in my journal a year before, I didn’t for one moment recall anything Tolle said nor did I recall writing those words. All I knew was that I was being shaken to my roots by events out of my control—the world was cracked open and uncertainty was unraveling itself about me.
It’s May 2010—and today marks the year anniversary of my last day with the company. It’s a day that marks an end and a beginning of such magnitude that I cannot but witness this day emotionally, physically, and spiritually. This past year’s been a time of enormous upheaval and great calm, anger and peace, imbalance and precision, doubt and determination, disbelief and proof, betrayal and friendship, loss and family. Having been forced into a position of having no choice but to make some remarkable unexpected choices, I’ve wended my way through a year that has led up to this day. It was only a few weeks ago that I happened to re-read those lines in Tolle and discovered my journal entry—and today I marvel at my place in a universe that delivers messages to us with far more clarity than I will ever be able to see or sense.
In hindsight, I wish I’d somehow documented this past year more thoroughly, perhaps jotting down a word or phrase to define and capture the essence of each passing day. But who among us has the wherewithal to do that? There’s so much I won’t ever remember. What I’m left with of this past year are the memories and repercussions of some of the lowest lows and some of the highest highs I’ve ever experienced. And in between I’ve lived a whole lot of plain old life. I’ve come to appreciate that so often it’s how we live the plain old life in between the extremes that helps us to know better who we are and of what we’re capable.
On this day and at this point in my life, I am infused with a quiet stillness and a crackling like lightning. Dreaming and wildly awake. Rooted and soaring in flight. And so, it certainly seems to have all transpired just as it was meant to: Change happened in order to create space in my life for something new to emerge. It was time for the world to crack open. It was time for a new story to begin. And so, the story is unfolding. I have no idea what comes next. And I can’t think of a more wonderful reason to get up tomorrow.
(c) emma d dryden, drydenbks llc