Unwrapping the Index Cards

Am I hearing things? I said I wanted to start hearing my soul’s whispers, but I never imagined they’d be so loud.

I think I *am* hearing things … and I like it.

Allow me to rewind a month or so.

Standing at my bookcase, I searched for something good to read when a particularly strong whisper started breathing force into my ear. It said:

“It’s time to re-read Eat Pray Love.”

I was dumb-founded.

I hadn’t so much as thought about the book since I read it years ago, during my college senior year’s freezing Boston winter. Nursing a sore heart, I remember devouring the book’s tales about a woman nursing her own sore heart by visiting far-off lands and forcing herself to pray and “smile with her liver.” Its hooks buried deep inside my heart, I read until I fell asleep and as I walked around campus, figuring the book’s words powerful enough to rearrange the path before me. (I now have a scar on my left hand disproving that theory. Walking and reading are not activities that one should tackle simultaneously. Lesson learned.)

But the whisper got louder and louder, demanding that I re-read the book. To add insult to injury, the whispers now insisted I read it in hard copy, too.

I asked around, but my friends had misplaced their copies. Mine was missing, too, and getting a new paperback to Nicaragua would take weeks. When the urgency of the whispers didn’t let up, I considered the search for a paperback copy fruitless and settled for a digital version.

Reading the book on my phone, the narrative pulled me deliciously back into its orbit, just as it had some six years ago.

The very next day, I was looking for something on my mom’s shelf when the words Eat Pray Love” stood out on a book’s beautiful yellow and purple spine. The paperback ended up finding me. Those whispers, they sure are saavy.

That’s when I noticed something had changed.

The book had me wrapped up in its words, but what drew me to them was different this time around. What sucked me in were the very parts that I ignored the first time around:

  • mindfulness
  • presence
  • self-compassion
  • beauty
  • stoicism
  • love
  • God

All these concepts that have been whirling around my head for months—maybe years—were presented before me in the comforting embrace of a story.

That’s when I realized…

I have a story to tell, too.

Actually, I have many stories to tell. Some I’ve already told—on this blog, in a book, in conversations, or before an audience.

But there’s one big story I haven’t told yet.

Cue the shame-fest, as dark clouds of self-doubt start threateningly roll in…

Last week, I walked out of a store with index cards. Because index cards is how I imagine I’ll organize my thoughts around this story. Since I picked them up, though, the cards have sat sullen and untouched on my bedside table. They’re the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see at night, but I still haven’t done a single thing with them.

Because I’ve been too afraid to start.

Not because it may be too big of a project to complete or because I wonder if it’s worth it. Not because of what people will think, or because I don’t know where to begin.

I’m afraid to start because of the effect digging up this story will have on my heart. Some stories are easy to tell. Some, like mine, aren’t.

I’m afraid. But so what?

Will it help to feel ashamed of it? Not at all. Instead, I’ll work with my emotional state right now: a dash of afraid, a sprinkle of hesitant, and a drizzle of vulnerable.

In Eat Pray Love, there’s a passage that stood out to me as I sought out this transformation I’ve been mulling over. It says:

“You cannot see your reflection in running water, only in still water.”

And there’s nothing I want more than to be able to see myself. Because knowing where I stand is the only way I’ll know how to get anywhere else.

And so I have hunkered down. No more ticking things off a to-do list or running around chasing projects and money. Instead, I’ll be sitting around, listening for more whispers.

And the whispers are saying it’s time to unwrap the index cards and start writing my story. Like this:


— Marcella