I've always admired people that seem to have a sense of direction. But if I'm willing to be completely honest, those people annoyed me. I guess my annoyance stemmed from the fact that I didn't feel like I had that sense, and was envious of those who did. I felt as if I missed the memo that everyone else somehow got on how to put one foot in front of the other to get to the destination. I didn't want to take the baby steps; I just wanted to get "there" without any direction.
Throughout my 20's and 30's, I thought I knew how to navigate this journey called "life" when, in fact, I was lost. I ignored the navigation system, which some refer to as "intuition.” Have you ever been in a car with a passenger who acts like they know where they're going and tries to give you directions, and they only get you more lost? I've been that person, and I've been annoyed by that person. At times I still ignore my car's navigation system, thinking I somehow know where I'm going when I don't; then when finally I realize I'm not getting anywhere, I start listening to the voice trying to navigate me. I once heard a pastor draw the analogy of a car’s navigation system to God. He said to pay attention next time to the voice of the navigator and listen to how kind it sounds when it's giving direction. And how it gently says "rerouting" when we choose to ignore the directions. It doesn't shame us or shut off because we're ignoring it. The funny thing about this analogy is that's exactly how I see my relationship with God. At times I just go rogue, then, when I come to a dead end, I decide to turn on the navigation system.
Since I started writing this blog, I've started to pay close attention, which in my case is "obsessing," and came up with a few observations that are similar to my personal journey in filming “A Refugee's Heart”:
• I have to enter the address to be guided.
One of the BIGGEST, and I mean BIGGEST frustrations I've had over the last two years with this project is the countless times I've heard "your storyline is vague," or "I'm not clear on what you're trying to say," or "you have to get clear on your story.” To be honest, that has been the most annoying part of this journey--not the endless hours of the logistics, but getting clear on what I want my narrative to be. Someone told me that without a clear narrative, I won't be clear on how to schedule the scenes which impact pre-production, which will ultimately impact the budget. I don't have to figure out how everything will come together for this film, but I do have to be clear on the purpose of the mission. Without a clearly defined purpose, this film will have no meaning and, after all, I'm not filming a reality show.
• It only navigates while I'm driving.
I don't know about you, but I can use "spirituality" as an excuse not to take action when I'm scared to take a step for fear of failure. For about a year or so, I sat on moving forward with the film because I was "waiting to hear from God." In my defense, I was, but it was more out of doubt than my search for direction. I can pray for direction all I want, but I have to be willing to continue taking baby steps. I tend to stop moving forward when I get scared or when something doesn't look like I think it should. Perfectionism is usually the culprit of my procrastination. I'm sometimes so afraid of making mistakes that I can just sit on an idea for years, like the 20 years it's taken me to write. I can talk a good game about spirituality, but until I give my faith feet, it means nothing.
• Slow down when I hear "rerouting"--give it a chance to recognize my location to resume navigation.
Anyone who knows me knows that I keep busy. When well-meaning friends said, "Get some rest, you work too much," my response was, "I'll rest when I'm six feet under." Friends would suggest I go to yoga or meditate to calm down, and I would want to punch them. Then I had a moment of clarity when I read the scripture "Be Still And Know I Am God." I'd heard this many times before, but for some reason, this time, it sucked the air out of me. How could I get clear direction if I'm always running? I mean, I pray all the time, and feel like I communicate with my Higher Power, so what's the big deal about this meditation? I heard someone say that prayer is them talking to God and meditation is God talking to them. I remember thinking, "Wow. I don't let God get a word in,"--lol! Well, I finally figured out that for the navigation system to be effective, I have to slow down, be still, and wait for direction.
It's time to move forward with filming this journey. Sometimes I question if I have what it takes, other days I'm overjoyed with excitement, but regardless of my feelings, there's one thing I can trust--that as long as I'm willing to take direction and trust my "Navigator," we will get to the destination--my Cuba.
Let the journey begin...
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