Do The Thing - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Following What Lights Me Up

Image credit: Rebecca Campbell

The funny thing about the image above: I typed, “Do what lights you up” in Google to see if any pictures popped up that I could use here. That image from Rebecca Campbell did. I adore her. I read her book Light is the New Black years ago — before I was taking notes on books I read. It was dog-eared and bookmarked, highlighted and written in. I had this post written in my head — and had a draft in a notes app — three days ago.

I started drafting this post in my head while I was editing my previous one. I tweeted a two-tweet version of it, knowing that it would birth something longer and more fully formed.

Writing lights me up. I’ve known forever that writing is my passion. It’s always a part of what I do. And yet, to sit and do it, to “do the thing” requires a nudge. I hadn’t been inspired in a while. I had no goal. Even a time goal (e.g. 20 minutes) or word count goal resulted in a blank mind. Writing prompts; nothing prompted.

You do it because the doing of it is the thing. The doing is the thing. The talking and worrying and thinking is not the thing.

– Amy Poehler.

So I sat and wrote. I revisited books that I’d read. I shared some takeaways, and through the words of those authors, I got inspired. Once I began sharing my thoughts, I realized that I had enough for at least two posts. Doing the thing resulted in a spark that ignited a fire.

Why do I always forget that doing the thing results in the feeling??

I felt alive again. Communicating through text, sharing, makes me feel connected to something greater than myself. When I’m in the zone, it’s like I’m outside my physical body. A spent hours on that post on Saturday, and maybe that’s the subconscious resistance. Perhaps I need to stick to shorter pieces during the week — except, I’m verbose. My muse doesn’t do brevity. When words want out, they want out.

I’m a meditator, an intuitive person who sometimes gets glimpses of my destiny, and a daydreamer who sometimes sees things in her mind’s eye that she never knew she wanted. Most of that doesn’t translate into public writing. It’s too personal and vulnerable.

Channelling Truth Into Fiction?

I’ve considered channelling it into fiction writing, but I haven’t written fiction since childhood. I forget how. I don’t remember how to compose a story, despite all the characters in my head. Instead, I write observations and lessons from the world, prompted by books & podcasts. I take notes. I consume books about personal growth, business, religion, biography, psychology. I take inspiration. I don’t always do the thing.

Following What Lights You Up

As Rebecca Campbell shared,

When you follow what lights you up you light up the world with your presence. When you light up the world with your presence you automatically inspire others to connect with their own inner light. I.e your light is contagious.

I’ve read variations of that theme and completely believe it.

In writing this, I searched all the places where I keep my notes looking for that Poehler quote. I love that quote. I revisit as an occasional reminder.

The search of my files for that statement by Poehler took me to my Google Drive, where I found a draft of a post that I published here on Medium last March. I titled that post, “Do You Have One True Passion In Life?”

I needed to find that post today, though I didn’t realize it. It’s honestly the same post I publish over and over again in different ways. It essentially goes like this:

→“I love to write, but I’m not motivated to write, so I stop writing for a long time, then I do it again, and I feel good.”←

In that post from March, I wrote this:

One of the reasons I tweet is to keep sharing thoughts and opinion, in a timely and convenient manner. “Microblogging”. There are many days when I find inspiration for a blog post and don’t have time to execute, or the idea of getting started exhausts me.


I almost said something similar here. I mean, really. Now I want to smack Past Andrea in the head. Can you relate?

What’s that saying about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?

I even followed that last snippet, “one of the reasons…” with, “I know, just start.”


Why do we do this to ourselves? I suppose we need to learn and that it’s human nature to have lots of starts and stops. Had I never stopped, though, would I be more successful now? Perhaps.


I also know that I’m going through a period of change right now. The words that keep coming to mind are“rebirth” and “renewal.” I write these words in my journal. The term, “metamorphosis” popped into my head recently. I feel happier now than I have in a while. I feel myself smiling more, caring less about things that used to bother me. I’m optimistic. Projects that I’d procrastinated doing are getting done. One digital product that I created will be up for sale soon.

I got my hair cut last week, losing about six inches, getting layers and changing up the colour a little bit. The haircut, my first in 28 months, was a symbol of the change of seasons and the reorienting of life.

My previous post concluded with these words,

I have so much I want to say. I kind of wish I was a songwriter, to use that as an outlet. One of the books and some meditation messages did inspire me to write a song/poem for the first time in decades, but I think it’s awful right now and that if anyone sees it, it won’t be for a couple of years.

More coming up. The passion spark has been ignited.

I recently noticed that I’ve been experiencing feelings and desires that I haven’t had in years. Long forgotten daydreams and goals that have returned. Notions I had as a child that went something like, “When I grow up…” are returning. I somehow had gotten off track and forgot all about those imaginations. Maybe it’s the age of 43 that’s somehow reconnecting me with these original desires. I know that everything I’ve gone through in the decades had to occur — and I’m grateful for sure. It’s been mostly pleasant — but I think that I really am ready this time. I’m ready to execute what I told people years ago I would. I’m ready for what I told myself I wanted.

This might fall under the “famous last words” cliche, but I think I’ve got it this time.

And Now a Word From My Inner Gremlins

There’s this part of me that wants to edit this post so that none of the paragraphs begin with “I”. My inner critic is telling me that it might be narcissist writing. You know what? Fuck my inner critic. I’m doing the thing.

Dear Gremlins,

I love you, thank you, you may leave now.

And if you can relate to any of this, please leave a comment. Feel free to answer the questions above that may or may not be rhetorical. Clap if you want to.

Thanks for reading.