Back in March of this year a tremendous idea downloaded in entirety into my brain, name and all. It was to be “Spark the Circle.” I saw a vision for its purpose and the forms it would take. First, I would physically get myself to places where I had “hosts” and for one evening in their home, I would facilitate a circle of women. Nothing intense. Nothing pushing anyone’s boundaries. Just a chance to be safe and intimate around other women in circle. My hope was that after I left, the spark would have been lit, and the circle would continue. I also saw a book and a blog and a website. I truly believed that I was the person to run with it. I happen to believe that on a life level: When you receive an idea, big or small, it’s been given to you for a reason (by God, by the Universe, whatever you believe in).
A friend of mine created the logo for me. An online acquaintance created the website (for free!). I got a color scheme going, a font and a master spreadsheet in Google Drive to track all the places that I would go with Spark the Circle, literally. I had a map with four different routes around the country. Color coded. Notes on each flag showing who had expressed interest in hosting a circle. I was in motion.
But the website sat empty. No text, no content. From time to time someone writes me to alert me to the “latin” on the homepage. I love my logo and I have a badge to share, but it’s not been plastered around the social media channels. And I know why. It’s not that I’m lazy (I’m telling myself because it’s a dagger voice that I have). It’s not another idea that I’ve started and won’t finish (an even nastier voice I hear). No, in fact, it’s the opposite. I can see the depth and importance of this project so clearly, that I know it requires and deserves my constant attention and nurturing. I can’t just pop up from time to time and mention it; that won’t do. I hear a voice that is not mine and it says that this is a project that is needed. That will move people. That will work. But needs my full attention.
And the very idea of that exhausted me into shut-down mode.
The website and the movement have sat mostly idle because I was intimidated by the amount of attention it needed. And I want to talk about that.
When I started this project, I was still living in a toxic, stressful situation and relationship. I had to end it, survive the end of it (no one was hitting me, but really negative situations are disastrous to our bodily health and mine was suffering badly), pack all of my belongings, sell much furniture, navigate my and Liam’s way through each day while we figured out where to go. Then pack the U-Haul (thank goodness for the one who helped me), and then move to a new city where I only knew one person. In the 100+ degree days of July. With an almost four year old in tow, who I wanted to keep sane and happy and as unaffected as possible. I only cried while he napped. Then it was moving in and getting settled. I did keep tender care of Spark the Circle, in my mind’s eye. And I did make it to four different cities in July, which was always my intention. The inaugural route, coinciding with a visit to my home town for my mom’s and Liam’s birthday, happened, and taught me a lot.
Circling in Kelly Barton’s backyard, amid her amazing decor!
The truth is, it also made me question a lot. First, my entire personhood is extremely introverted. Forming and leading group circles? Am I crazy? My little introverted soul was just zapped after a weekend of driving and circling. By the time I got to my mother’s in my home town, I was sick sick sick.
Another issue that arose was that I had always communicated and envisioned having Liam with me for these road-trips across country. Well guess what. NO FREAKING WAY IS THAT GOING TO WORK. He’s well-behaved, and charms everyone he meets, but it totally changes the atmosphere. And, I should not expect so much of him either. He said to me loud and clear: I don’t want to do this mama. Clearly my idea of driving round the country with him won’t work, which means those four routes on my map for 2013?? Not going to happen.
Liam and the lovely Lisa Ullrich, who hosted us outside of Chicago
The final, and perhaps most important, issue is my health. I drove quite a ways to get up to the first four circles and my hometown. No one really knows, but I nurse a pretty bad leg, and have been dealing with it for over a decade. Maybe it’s the change in age, or the fact that I’m out of shape, but my leg would.not.tolerate the driving. It ended up with back spasms and muscle cramps and being literally unable to use my right leg for days after a long drive.
So. After the first Spark the Circle (mini) tour, I had these looming questions to ponder. Was I really the person to do this? Why was I given this idea when there are clearly so many obstacles before me? I thought long and hard, worried, felt embarrassed. Finally I sank down into my soul and listened. The answer was: I am the person that is supposed to to this, and in this case, there’s a reason it won’t be easy. I believe that this project will work and will move people, but that it will also bring me to live with more respect for my life, energy and body.
artwork by Kelly Barton
Despite the dreamy confidence I have surrounding this project, it still had to fit with my life. And what I realize is that a project that desires your nurturing and care cannot fit into your life unless your life is running smoothly. Because on some level, at least for awhile, your dream needs to become your life. It needs the energy I didn’t have. The extra hours without sleep I could not afford. A life with open space and extra energy to dream and write and tackle daunting sub-projects like “PR” and “Crowd-Funding.”
If you don’t have it, your project won’t die. But it may have to wait.
Spark the Circle had to wait. And trust me, I’ve harbored and battled a lot of guilt, and even some shame, around the limbo I’ve been holding. Euuuch, it’s been ugly inside.
But today, on a very boring Monday, while the studio is utterly empty all day and uninspiring, and the heat is already threatening 100 outside, and I missed my gym class and my son peed in (my) bed and my hypoglycemia is trying to get the best of me…I still feel magnetically pulled to it. As if Spark the Circle is a fact. I feel ready to put in to Spark the Circle what has been missing: my spark.
There are many projects we start and never finish. I do it. Your idol e-course seller, art-maker, program-deliverer…she dreams up many things that never take off. But for each of us, there is a project and dream that exists so firmly in our mind’s eye, and in our hearts, that we just know it has to happen. And those are the projects that can bare the wait. Those are the ones to allow their course.
chalk art by Kelly Barton