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Sarah Lipton

Sarah Lipton

I Know What I’m Doing. Why Doubt My Vision?

woman with red balloon

Photo by Tyrell James on Unsplash

You may not be able to do all the things I can do.

…Which is not a sentiment I like, encourage, or adopt, and I feel uncomfortable uttering it out loud.

Perhaps I’m too kind. Perhaps you think I’m a Pollyanna. Perhaps you think I’m too cheerful, too sunshiney, too grandiose.

I like to be encouraging. I like everyone I meet to feel good in their skin and bones, to feel satisfied and full of possibility.

But maybe I need to stop that nonsense. Maybe, in order to properly crush it, as Gary Vaynerchuk promotes, I need to reify the fact that truly you can’t do everything I can do.

At least once a week, often many times more than that, I am told, to my face, that, “You can’t do all of that! It’s too much! How are you going to focus and achieve anything with so much going on?”

That’s when my blood starts to boil.

I stop listening.

I don’t remember to hear what they say next, “I surely couldn’t do all of that. I need to do one thing at a time. I don’t juggle things well.”

I forget that their doubt is a reflection of their own fears and doubts, and I take it personally.

And I get super pissed when they then deign to give me advice about how to try to get one thing done, and done well.

There are a few ways to look at this.

Perhaps I should stop sharing. Perhaps I should shut up and just get to work. Perhaps I should only share the one little thing I’m doing that intersects with the person I’m talking to so they don’t get overwhelmed and therefore I can stop them in their tracks when they baulk and start to tell me I’m too much.

Perhaps I should listen to them and put a pause on all my dreams. Perhaps I should cease dreaming altogether. Perhaps I should put my visions on the shelf and go get a friggin’ day job.

Or perhaps, and I suspect this is the proper and appropriate answer:

I should just stop listening.

I’ve learned how to discern so much in my life through the deep journey of contemplative practice. I know what to accept and what to reject. Mostly. What I am coming to terms with here and now is that I need to learn how to reject the sentiment that I’m too gawd-damned much.

You may not be able to do all the things I can do.

But let me give you a little window into how I can do all the things I am doing.

I am present with my experience. As I type right this moment at this beautiful hand-carved raw wooden farm table at this spacious and quiet coffee shop perched upon a hill overlooking a busy Vermont intersection in rusty Hardwick, I can feel the familiar sensation of my keyboard under my fingers, the softness of my cushioned chair, my foot perched upon the leg of the chair, my other foot tilted against the table leg. I can hear the sounds of the coffee machine, the bumping Arabian music in my ears, the tinkle of tiny bells as the coffee shop door opens and the fragrance of new customers comes in.

I can feel all the layers too: I am hungry and excited for an unknown future lunch. I am deeply aware of my dying great uncle, my suffering elderly cousin, my daughters ensconced thirty miles away in their days of play. I can feel the luscious vibrant space of writing, the place I feel the free-est.

I crack a knuckle and feel the softness of my recently lotioned hand. I am aware that I have 10,000 things I need to do. The taxes and bills and mail pile piled up on my desk at home. The business planning that needs to be done for all of my ventures. The website waiting to be crafted, the videos waiting to be drafted, the proposals to be outlined. The clients and members to be magnetized.

But there is calm. I am here. The wooden table, the vista of mountains and logging trucks and rushing spring river coat me with ease.

And so I weave. Strand in and over and up and out, fibers teased to shine, I see the forest and the trees. The tapestry I weave is the fullest tapestry of my life that I can weave.

I suddenly remember being 12 and sitting quietly at my Papa’s funeral. My step-grandpa was a rotund and cheerful man who always knew how to sparkle with enjoyment. I remember the Cantor singing at his funeral and speaking to how Allan lived life to the fullest.

I remember vowing quietly to myself that I too would do that, and that would be a way I could honor his memory.

But that vow was secret, silent, kept close to my heart. My family, you see, ridiculed Papa. He was too fat. He was a glutton. He didn’t know how to take care of himself. He was demanding, and was certainly embarrassing to go out to eat with-he’d order a steak and fettuccine Alfredo and then yell at the waitress to bring him more dinner rolls. He was not kind to wait staff.

But he was always kind to me. And he adored my Nana. And for me, that was enough.

With the impetus to “live life to the fullest,” I started to investigate ways to do that. I developed skills around learning to do lots of different things. I forgot about my vow (until sitting here right now), but I did a deep dive on learning how to be good at doing as many things as possible. The more people of difference I could encounter, the better. The more time I spent with people different than I, the more I felt I would be able to work with anyone I met.

When I met my teacher, nearly 20 years ago, and learned that he too was a savant, a person of many stripes, many skills, many abilities, I felt right at home. So I continued to learn how to do lots of many things.

And all along the way, apparently, I was learning how to weave. I spent my twenties collecting all the fibers and tools, and I spent my thirties learning what to accept and what to reject.

I now sit at this brink, here at forty, recognizing that I have achieved the confidence, presence and capability to fully weave the tapestry of my dreams.

The emancipation I feel now, is bursting forth from me like a waterfall pummeling a dam. Tear it down! The water shouts.

Who in the world actually wants me to stop? Who actually wants me to hold back?! Why does your fear have to impact me any more?

Why can’t I be a revolutionary? Why do I have prove to you that I do know what the heck I’m doing? Why can’t I be an entrepreneurial visionary savant? And who says I can’t be successful???

Yes, I’m still at the “beginning,” but I’m so, so, so much further along than you think. In fact, I’m further along than I think…I have already accomplished so much, it’s just that I never focused on documenting my progress before.

So, and take this to heart, dear reader, I’m done being told I’m too much. I’m done being questioned. I know what the *F* I’m doing, and more importantly, I know WHY.

Please pause before you tell me you think I should do things differently. Please pause before you ask me how I am going to accomplish all of this on a part-time schedule with my two tiny kids. Please pause before you doubt me, out loud.

I vow to you, right here, right now, with this wooden table and that red balloon wafting in the spring wind from the green South Main St street sign, that I will stop listening to your doubt. I vow to you that I am going to achieve all that I envision. I know that it may not look like what you think it should look like. I know that it won’t be on the timeline you think it should be.

But I know exactly what I’m doing. And I know that I’m not the only one feeling this way. If you feel similarly, I’d love to hear from you. So far, this has been a pretty lonely journey…

Get in touch with me if you want help on YOUR journey!