New Assignments


How do you create something new? The job ends, the lover leaves, the children move out, the book is finished. Now there’s empty space in your life, time that’s yours alone that you had grown accustomed to sharing with other people and projects. Maybe you had dreamed of this time when you had felt it wasn’t yours to spend as you wished, had dreamed of what would be possible with it the way a new writer dreams of a book before it’s written.

Now that time and space is here, and its formlessness is disorienting. There had been a comfort in taking directions from the demands of your life – these assignments, however mundane, still required your focus and even your ingenuity. It was nice to have a concrete reason to get up in the morning, all the while maintaining the idea of freedom somewhere in the future so you didn’t feel imprisoned by a life that didn’t always seem to belong entirely to you.

The old hobbies and habits won’t do. Those were for what you used to call free time, those brief, delicious swaths between obligation. The old activities have their place, and it’s not on this open canvas, this new blank page. You need something new, something you can discover, something you can follow. You need another assignment.

Many of the assignments you’ve been given have come from other people. This one won’t. It won’t come from you, but it will come to you. The empty time, the blank page, is necessary for you to receive that assignment. It’s easy to miss its message while distracted by the daily business of routine. But in order to hear it, you can’t mistake the quiet of this time for an infertile, fallow plane. Do not think you’re some mule, useful only for other people’s ideas and creativity. You’re a servant, uniquely qualified to fulfill a desire only you and life knew needed doing, spending time as only you and life could spend it.

If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual coaching and group workshops.