What's so important about a photograph of my kitchen counter, a dish rack, and some clean dishes?
I am actually in this photograph.
Can't see me? That's because I was a "ghost girl".
These are the men and women walking around, occupying their lives but not living them.
Men and women divorced from themselves, their true essences. Staying busy, productive, doing all the doing that they're supposed to do.
As a "ghost girl," it came to me that I was struggling coming up with a coaching niche, a message, and a passion because I didn't truly know who I was or what I was passionate about.
Like a lot of invisibles, I talk a great game, people think I'm passionate about pretty much everything. What I couldn't find was the true, sustainable, yearning and burning passion I kept hearing people talk about.
One day, I sat down to take some kind of survey - What kind of worker are you? Or something silly. I froze in horror when I discovered I couldn't answer any of the questions. Do I prefer to work alone or in a group? Yes. Do I prefer to generate ideas or follow through on details? Yes. Would I rather spend all day delivering great customer service or spend all day creating product designs? Yes.
I tried to answer the deeper questions: What do I love to do? What could I do all day long, never once look at the clock? What do I do for fun? If I had all the time and money in the world, what would I do? If I won the lottery, what would I do?
I don't know. I don't know, I don't know, I don't know.
Ghost girl. I began to feel as though if I walked across a room, you could see right through me. Like a wisp, like an irrelevant part of the scenery around me. This felt horrifying, dangerous, and awful. I immediately called in a coach and mentor or two to talk this all out with. I began talking in my mastermind group. I started to explore it all with my camera. And the message kept coming back: Stop doing. Do nothing.
No building a business, no fiddling around with blogs, websites, Facebook, and twitter messages for my followers. No commissioning logos for my latest great idea soon to be abandoned. No calling the library to set up workshops, no drinking, no clouding my energy no matter how painful.
For weeks I walked around, sat around, retreated, was irritable, was confused, and worst and best of all, experienced a current of constant electricity running through me.
When I woke up every morning: Electric. When I went about my day, drove my car, went to work, read a book: Electric. Painfully so but also welcome - as though it was the pins and needles of my soul, coming back to life after a long sleep.
I set about to follow only the breadcrumbs. If the humming and buzzing electricity got louder, I followed that breadcrumb. I committed to awakening, at any cost. I did not turn away from any impulse, call, or electric hum. No matter what, at any cost, I realized that I could not live asleep and invisible any more. I could not go forward as a ghost in this world. More than anything, I longed to know the feeling of becoming solid, alive, and here.
The journey itself was unique to only me. The Truths I uncovered and the questions that lead me to my own awakening are unique to only me and won't have any meaning to you, dear reader. Your own awakening will be your own journey, as your intricate, idiosyncratic, and distinct manifestation of humanness can only intersect with the path of awakening in one, perfect way.
Part of my path in the dark, dark woods included picking up my camera again. Relentlessly, wherever, however, and whenever I could, I propped it up on books, put it on the floor, the ottoman, cranked it up and took my own photograph. The first one I took was the one above. When I looked at the screen after I took the photograph, I had one of those unreal experiences: I was truly a ghost girl. I was not in the photograph.
However, my shadow is there. If you look closely under the sink, you can see the shadow of my torso. I was there, but I was not.
This is the case in a strongly backlit photograph with the shutter speed cranked up high. The point is not whether or not we see a UFO or a NASA experiment. The point was that staring my shadow in the invisible face was the radical undoing I needed to relentlessly step into the darkest, most overgrown, least traveled path.