I am not accidental.
When I tell my story, my life sounds like one gargantuan, clumsy accident, which explains why the name “Accidental Blogger” appealed when I launched my website in 2015.
If I’m honest, there are periods of my life for which “accidental” is the more adequate descriptor. Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t accident prone. But the word “mindfulness” wasn’t even in my vocabulary.
I was whooshed with the current of expectations, but not for lack of dreams. I’ve known what I wanted to be since I began tracing the ascender and bowl of “P” for “Pennie.” A writer. A novelist. A poet. An artist.
But I didn’t know what to do—what I needed to accomplish—in order to be the writer. Certainly more than trace the letters of my name.
My sensitivity to rules and expectations sadly led me to each next thing in that invisible book of rules and expectations that my parents and community (maybe the whole world) held over my head.
Today, I know, there was no such book.
Sure, there were expectations. All parents and communities have them. But none of those expectations were etched, written, or even scratched in a tablet or book.
I’m still coming to terms with my role in creating the rule book that flung me along accidental and incidental paths. That rule book within was crafted by the voices that have battled in my head for 63 years. My book looks something like writer’s block, can sound like a poser, wannabe, or even an imposter. Without fail, any book like this cripples the inner artist in whoever holds it.
Did I accidentally let that rule book govern my choices for decades? Maybe.
Ironically, establishing my Accidental Blogger website was my first step in dropping the rule book that had made me prone to Accidental Living.
Accidental and Control
This year, I’m letting the Accidental go, not only from my website, but from RL. I dropped Accidental from my morning, from those crystal moments before I step into the new day. I dropped Accidental from the words I speak and the words I write. When I lie down at night, it’s not accidental. I take a mindful moment to write a few words (some might call them prayers) before falling to sleep: gratefuls, accomplishments/things that went well, and even a few asks for the day to come.
“Oh, you’re taking control of everything?” you ask.
Absolutely not. Sure, I have a better grip on the oar, and can control my little craft in this giant river of life so I don’t accidentally drift off. But I don’t pretend to control the river or the other people in it.
Two things: 1) I’m letting go of Accidental and using my oar to guide myself down the river; 2) I am NOT trying to control things outside of my little craft: not the river and not the others navigating it.
In dropping accidental, my new mission didn’t become controlling everything around me. My mission is mindfulness in all I do.
This sweet freedom allows me the energy I have always needed to be what I’ve always wanted to be.
I’m showing up for the writer I have always been and the writer I am becoming. Dropping Accidental has made me unafraid to speak my plans (my novels, the retreat center and workshops, and more), because they are also not accidental. They are products of mindful, intentional steps into each day.
I’ve turned over many important leaves since March 13, 2020. This year, I’m turning an important page: I am not accidental. I am on purpose.
©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2023.