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« On approaching destinations unknown | Main | The Power of Putting Dreams onto Paper »

On swimming in the deep end...

by Kayce Stevens Hughlett

Do you know what’s 1,000,000 times better than getting to the top of the mountain? 

Getting there, after having been lost.

Ohhh yeah,

            The Universe.”

Lost or drowning? Either way I feel like I’ve been tossed into the deep end of the swimming pool and I’m not ready. Blub. Blub. Blub. My head sinks below the surface and I pray my water wings will hold. I’m a guppy and the sharks are circling, waiting to gobble me up like a tasty treat.

Who do you think you are? They say through gritted teeth. You’re not ready for the big time. You’re a fraud, a big fat faker.

Blub. Blub. I drop below the surface again. I twist and turn and then I let go of the wrestling. Things quiet down. The sharks begin to move on. Blub. Blub. Blub.

This was the scenario that ran through my mind a few days ago.  In hindsight, the interesting thing about the scene is that I wasn’t totally panicked. Somehow, somewhere, I trusted that I would be held by something greater than my water wings. I remembered that I’ve battled gremlins far more real than these imaginary sharks.

Still… I wonder what possessed me to dive into the deep end, because that’s where I feel like I’m swimming these days. I realize that no one pushed me in, and I do have the choice to paddle over to the side and climb out at any time. No one, but myself, is making me stay here.

Marketing. Branding. Mission. Publication. Teaching. Speaking. Writing. I’m swimming in the deep end. It’s thrilling and terrifying. My feet don’t touch the bottom of the pool and my internal naysayers tell me I will drown... but I resist.

Things are lining up. Requests are coming in. My novel is being published. Fantastic women are coming to Paris with me. Life feels shiny.

It all takes my breath away and the magnitude can toss me into hyper-spin if I’m not careful. Fortunately I’ve had lots of practice in learning to be a go-with-the-flow kinda girl.

So what do I do when the water threatens to fill my lungs and my water wings start to lose air?

I quit thrashing around. I stop. I pause. I get quiet.

I remember a question I learned a while ago and I ask myself: What would calm do? I take pen to paper and begin…

Calm would sit down and write. Take a brisk walk. Breathe in the last summer air of Seattle. She would look at the blue sky and feel the breeze caress her face. She would admire the fuchsia blooms that do not hesitate to shout, “Look at me!” Calm would listen to the roar of the jet overhead. She would wave as it passes without a care for where it’s going or where it’s been.

Calm would trust that she’s been training a lifetime for this swim in the deep end. She would peacefully remove the water wings, roll over onto her back, and float… allowing herself to be carried. She would remember that the destination is 1,000,000 times better after being lost.

What do you do when the rushing waters threaten to carry you away? Or your feet don’t touch the ground? Or the breath escapes from your lungs? What if you asked yourself the question: What would calm do? 


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