One morning back in May I was having breakfast in Spain (because my husband and I are moving there...surprise! I was waiting to write about it to my email list because the timing was -still is- not definite. But there you have it, folks! More on this soon...) Like I was saying, I was having breakfast, journaling and listening to some tunes when the Imogen Heap song “Can’t Take It In” from The Chronicles of Narnia soundtrack cycled through the playlist.
“Empty my heart
I’ve got to make room for this feeling
That’s so much bigger than me.
It couldn’t be any more beautiful
I can’t take it in.”
It’s so whimsical and lovely and it resonated with me as I sipped my Nescafe and feasted on an array of gluten free items that my pals at the hotel restaurant had grown accustomed to bringing me. (I mean, we were there for 10 days. I promised to visit upon our return.)
I realized something about this exciting move, one that high-school-Spanish-class Kate only dreamed of: I needed to make room for the feeling. It was almost as if at times I couldn’t take it in.
I started to ponder my tolerance for good feelings.
I thought about the times when I’m writing and feel like an idea is really clicking. I can feel I’m about to write something that resonates with me…
And then I get up and walk away.
I go refill my coffee. Or start laundry. Or, or or...
I will literally sit back down to my journal to the phrase “but the MOST important thing is..” and the sentence just drops off.
It’s like I can’t take it in.
I thought about other “big” life events or creative projects I’ve poured my heart into that I’ve downplayed. What is that?
When I was first introduced to the idea of being afraid of success or other positive emotions I thought it sounded absurd. Of course I want to be successful/happy/wealthy/joyful/connected …right?
In the book The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks posits that we all have an upper limit for the amount of happiness, joy, success, wealth, love etc. we are willing to feel and experience. He goes as far as to say that we will self sabotage if something in our life starts to push us beyond where our thermostat for said emotion was previously set. We will make ourselves physically sick, make excuses, pick fights with loved ones - a whole host of irrational things - just to stay in that comfort zone and in control.
I’ve become more aware of the times when I “upper limit” myself, when I’m in the flow of something beautiful in life then I inexplicably get out of the water, or worse, start drowning in my own self-constructed shame/doubt/fear cycle. I’ve become more conscious of the false narratives that cause me to play small like the fear of outshining or making others uncomfortable, or the “you aren’t worthy of that” bull honky. I’m trying to check my “why is this happening again?” at the door and recognize that discomfort is often a part of growth: lean in, boo.
Most importantly, I’m trying to expand my tolerance for joy by feeling the feeling fully.
This past weekend I had the joy of collaborating with a number of insanely talented artists to bring to life a demo recording of my musical, “Will You?” The experience ended a few days ago and I’m still trying to take it in.
Last night I was sitting at my dining room table - the same spot where I completed writing said musical only 7 months ago - when Shawn, my brilliant composing partner, sent a demo of one of the songs we recorded. I listened. I listened again. I listened with Richie when he got home from work. Then I listened in my car on the way to the store to get a bottle of wine, and when I pulled back into my driveway the track still wasn’t over (it’s a long one). So I sat in my car listening (and crying).
Truth be told: I’ve got to make room for this feeling. It’s so much bigger than me. It couldn’t be any more beautiful. I can’t take it in.
But I’m working on it.
I am overcome with appreciation and wonder for the artists who transform the iphone voice memo melodies and the words on the page into something beautiful.
I CAN’T WAIT TO SHARE MORE WITH ALL OF YOU VERY SOON.
In the next few weeks we will have the project landing page live. Stay tuned…
Until then, let’s let the joy in...
How good are you willing to let life get?