I’m back in Paris after Part I of my U.S. book tour. It’s been an incredible time on the road, something I could have never imagined for myself three years ago when I started this journey.
It’s been quite an undertaking: booking my own tour; organizing the travel; pitching for press; the non-stop planes, trains, automobiles (no, publishers do not arrange this). I didn’t count on the fatigue, the strain, the stress—both physical and mental. I found myself complaining more than I was enjoying myself. Sure, it was very hard work, but sometimes I could not find the joy in what should have been the time of my life. Where were the woohoos? The hands waving in the air? What was wrong with me?
Ah, yes, my old friend was back: Resistance.
In 2014, I made one of the boldest moves of my life, leaving a cushy job for an unknown future in Paris. And since then the universe seems to be just handing me stuff—like my book deal—so I’ve felt as if I’ve been coasting along on the momentum of that first bold act. Once you finally pull the trigger on your dream, the rest should be a piece of cake, right?
Maybe not. I’ve been in this place before. I talk about it in this passage from my book, My (Part-Time) Paris Life:
Except from Chapter 13: Living in Exile
I thought when I left my job and took the leap to come to Paris, it would feel incredible, fulfilling. Taking huge, bold steps should be rewarding. When you climb the mountain, you’re supposed to embrace the view, the new perspective. You’re supposed to yell, “Woohoo!” into the air.
I just felt stranded on the mountain. It’s lonely work, blazing a trail.
All your life, they encourage you to dream big. “Reach for the stars,” they tell children. But no one ever said anything about how you’d feel after the dream became real. You grew up thinking once you’re living the dream, all your problems would be solved. You’d be magically transformed into an untouchable, celestial being living happily ever after.
Instead you’re still you, lugging all the same crap around—same fears, same self-doubt. A black-and-white Dorothy in Technicolor Oz.
I’m at whole new level of success now, a whole new “bigness” of life, and I’ve been digging in my heels. In many ways, I’m back where I was three years ago, Dorothy in Oz. I’m facing that unknown future again, and I feel fearful at times, ill-equipped. In 2014, the “unknown” was unbridled happiness; now the unknown is unbridled success. A life and career without limits? Holy crap! Holy crap!
And that’s where the resistance comes in. I’ve been moving forward physically, doing what I should be doing—the tour, the interviews—but my mind has been saying, “No way! Nuh-uh! Forgettaboutit!”
That’s why the fatigue, the strain, the stress: I was resisting the universe. The inability find joy in the process, even anger and sickness come from this. When we resist the forward energy of our intentions, we fight our own greatness. Fear of success is much more potent than fear of failure, much more exhausting, too. It takes a ton of energy to say no, to constantly push back. Surrender is much easier on us physically and emotionally, but much harder for us to do. And so we resist in order to stay put where we think we are safer. But it’s an illusion that only creates pain and unhappiness.
When we resist the forward energy of our intentions, we fight our own greatness.
Skiers talk about the right way to fall: when you feel you can’t control your trajectory, and a spill is imminent, the worst thing you can do is resist. “Think Jell-O,” an instructor told me once. Tighten or fight and you’ll break something for sure. Instead, just surrender to the fall, let yourself go, and plop in place. You may roll, you may get tossed about, but chances are you’ll come out okay.
I’d been resisting my forward trajectory, but also my fears and trepidations. If I let myself feel those things, maybe it meant I was a failure—and who wants to feel that? But fear doesn’t make you a failure; it’s just there to let you know you’re in new territory. I’d forgotten that because I hadn’t realized how much bigger my life had become since 2014.
I’m not going to fight the universe anymore. I’m going to surrender to that momentum again, like Jell-O, and let the woohoos fly.
When we are on a bolder, bigger course and things get tough, we often quit, thinking that we’re just not cutting it; it’s not meant for us. But we don’t realize it’s tough because we’re in it, we’re doing it. We have the dream we wanted; it’s here. But hell yeah, it takes hard work. We’re stretching in every direction. And we will falter, and we will feel tired, because we’re still us, still Dorothy in Oz: same fears, same self-doubt. But when we hit a wall, it’s not time to quit, it’s just a sign we need to reset, rest, and find the gratitude. And if the road ahead seems too long, maybe it’s okay look back a moment just to appreciate how far we’ve come—but just for a moment before moving on again. Because forward is all you got, people. Resistance is futile.
I share these stories with you so you won’t think my success is because I’m perhaps born under a special star, or cut from some sort of magical cloth that brings success to me. I’m just like you. I’m insecure, unsure, fearful. And I’m doing it anyway, in spite of all that. Because there’s just this one life, and I don’t want to wait to be happy.
If I set aside the resistance (i.e., get out of my own way), and look back at the first leg of my book tour—wow! The people I’ve met, the cities I’ve seen—it’s glorious and humbling. And when I speak with the readers, nothing else matters. That’s the point of it all, anyway. In the moment when your purpose meets your present, that’s all there is. Thank you for your support, your messages, and your passion for my little book. You’re the reason I’m doing what I’m doing, sharing my truths—and I will keep on doing it. What are you resisting?
Bisous de Paris.