Not Stepping Away

October 10, 2012 § 32 Comments

Away, away, away.

When I felt the closeness growing, I pulled away from her.

When the big book opportunity came, I slowly drifted off.

When this work- right here- began to feel big and meaningful, I retreated into my busy schedule- stopped writing.  Not enough time, I said.  I’ll get back to it- later- when I have the time.

What is this?  Why do I step away from what feels good and right?

I know the pattern.  Always asking myself- what’s the point?  Be with her, write the book, stay with this blog- or not- what’s the difference?  Nothing will really change.

But I never ask this of the less important pieces of my life.  Only when I’m standing at the threshold of something real and authentic and true, do I trigger this cascading, self-crushing analysis.  And the answer is always the same.  No point.  No difference.

What lies beneath this terrible and self-destructive way of living?  I sense fear and doubt, feel the weariness.  But when I really sit with this, I know the source- my oldest and most constant demon.  He whispers- who are you to aspire to an authentic life?  You lack the heart for it.  You’ll always back away because you know it’s not for you.  Not you.  Unworthy.

But no more.

This is my life.  Each moment a chance to live- truly and forcibly.  With great heart and presence.

So I’m throwing myself into what I know is good and right for me.  Embracing what comes.  And saying this here and now- to myself and to you- this is who I am.

Not stepping away.  Not ever again.

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§ 32 Responses to Not Stepping Away

  • Gigi wanders says:

    You seem to have, um, stepped away.

  • I was just wondering where you were! I can so understand this, I go through the same thing again and again. And then, I come back, and write. I am getting a message that these limitations are sacred as well. They have something to teach us. Maybe, it’s just that by writing about them openly, you give others the same permission to accept those limitations in themselves. Thank you for that, for your honesty.
    I know you are into Zen, so I will share with you something I read in a Thich Nhat Hanh book that I always, always come back to. Maybe you already know this. He said that when you feel negative emotions or think negative thoughts, invite them in for a cup of tea. Listen to them, learn from them. Welcome them.
    By the way, I am holding you accountable to keep on writing. It is good. It is valuable. When you feel the resistance, remember your community here, and keep on writing.

  • Anne says:

    Tom, great to see a new post from you. I think we all go through the same from time to time, thinking that we are unworthy. Our natural vibration in life is to be positive, but every so often the negative comes in and tells us no! Step away, I am not worthy of another person’s love, I am not worthy as a writer. Self-doubt comes to us all, and sometimes it is easier to walk away than to fully commit! (Unworthy I don’t think so!)(You are a gift to writing world, you write from your heart, so no I don’t see that you will ever step away!) I am so looking forward to reading your book, no pressure there then! With light and love I send you-



  • sayohmmm says:

    Really beautiful. Really beautiful way to open us your heart! Biggest wishes to you! xoxo

  • julienmatei says:

    “What is this? Why do I step away from what feels good and right?”

    Ego´s major obsession is its sense of unworthiness. Ego can´t stand joy and fulfillment, it loathes authenticity. Presence is its biggest threat. It finds happiness indigestible and inacceptable.

    It loves drama and suffering. When you are in the midst of its rant, it feels real.
    IT IS NOT…

    Soon you will just laugh at it…

    Trust me on that. 🙂

  • Robyn Lee says:

    You know the quote by Marianne Williamson and spoken by Nelson Mandela: ““Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? …” Your post so echoed this same sentiment – YOU are worthy Tom — and I am glad you are realizing this… ~ Sending Love ~Robyn

    • Thomas Ross says:


      Recently a close friend sent me exactly that quote. I was struck that you chose it for me as well. It’s the message that I most need to hear and live right now. And I am feeling it- a strength, clarity.

      You are a great inspiration to me- in your life and in your artistry.

      Thank you for your constant and loving support.


  • FeyGirl says:

    Such a wonderful message… And a potent reminder. So many of us do this (myself now at times), out of fear, or whatever self-destructive methodology. Embrace your authenticity! It’s why we’re here, after all. 🙂

  • DIRNDL SKIRT says:

    The word “away” can be transformed to “a way.” Which is always within grasp. Thank you, as always, for connecting in such a human way.

  • dadirri7 says:

    wow tom, well said, there is nothing to add that the others have not said, our path of self-doubt, bringing us now, in this moment to make the choices for our communal best … the world view is transforming … we are realising our divinity, our connection, our responsibility … blessings, christine x

  • Self doubt is such an issue for many of us, actually for all of us. Anytime we can step away from it, it is a very good thing indeed. So I say, good for you. 🙂

  • ladydeedge says:

    Living authentically is one of the hardest things to do. It requires faith–faith that we can take the deep look at who we are and still like ourselves; faith that we can know ourselves intimately and be powerful enough to change the things we don’t like; faith that we deserve good things regardless of what our feelings tell us. I commend you for striving to overcome the self-sabotaging voices that so often attack us. I’m in that club also. Good luck!

  • smithdavid says:

    it’s great to see you write so openly about doubt tom. mirrors what i often keep hidden. this post reminds for of an rem song – falls to climb ‘my actions make me beautiful, dignify the flesh, me, i am free…’ keep writing…dave

  • Dear Tom,
    Thank you so much for this. What a beautiful message and just what I needed to read, thank you. I am feeling exactly the same way, so I think I am going to read your post a few more (probably several) times so that it sinks in for me, too!

  • Gigi wanders says:

    Hi Tom

    Very nicely written piece – has the pure simple flow of ‘The Watch.’

    As I was reading it, I was like:
    Fear of love – check
    Fear of success – check
    ‘I’m not worthy’ – check

    So, we’re back to self-love.
    More love for the more authentic self (and vice versa).

    Now that the ‘knowing is known, the doing of it remains.’
    When the doing is done and done and done, over and over and over again (an awakened soul), then the ‘not ever again’ is more likely to happen ;,)


    PS I hear tell that abundance is our due, mate; it is only we who choose non-abundance in our lives, because of fear and other attendant self-sabotaging emotions.

    • Thomas Ross says:


      “Abundance is our due.” So perfectly true.

      Feeling a shift. Another level of self-awareness. Self-love. A clarity. Don’t know the words, but feeling it.

      Abundance is our due, Gigi- and it’s right here, for us, as it always was.


  • phlyfitmama says:

    You and I are kindred spirits. Aspiring for the highest truth and authenticity but often sharply pulled in by past limitations – self-imposed. I feel your strength and believe in your truest purpose. So glad for our parallel moments. Keep striving! xo Heather

    • Thomas Ross says:

      What a journey, huh?

      This mutual support and connection is the great gift I never saw coming.

      So we strive on- in our parallel grooves. Keeping an eye on the other.

      Thanks, Heather.


  • Chris Mabon says:

    This post let me slack-jawed! You captured in words what has happened to so many of us as we walk the path of growth toward our highest and best self. We all have to say “be gone” to that demon of self-doubt and press onward. Thank you for this beautiful post.

    Autumn blessings to you.

  • chrisbkm says:

    Good choice Tom! Phew.
    Keep pressing against the wall my friend… I’m sure you won’t feel it happen, but one day you will simply find yourself on the other side. Wall, what wall? Self, what self?


  • jennlaurent (LiveThroughTheHeart) says:

    Beautiful Tom. That struggle is something I believe that we all face as we journey down the road to live our greatest potential. You are a brilliant writer and I am honored to be in your presence. Thank you!

  • Susan P. Koniak says:

    You never stepped away. That too is an illusion.

    Peek-a-boo! Hands over eyes from shame or fear. A gesture, real, present, instinctual. But we’ve not disappeared. You’ve not disappeared.

    No one is fooled–no one who loves you.

    • Thomas Ross says:

      Yes, you see me.

      That demonic voice was there throughout. Prodding me to put on the mask of effacement.

      What’s true and real? Not stepping away. Not dead. Living with force and presence. That’s who I’ve been and who I am.

      So, tell me again, why are we so close?


  • Robert G. Longpré says:

    Powerful, powerful words, Thomas. As I read, I heard those echoes of my own “self” deceptions, my own “self” denials. The songs never written and sung, the book never written, the fullness never risked. But like you, I am also saying I am not stepping away anymore. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Cassie says:

    The biggest moments, the biggest decisions always seem to come wrapped in doubt. Those of us who tend to think things through a lot; maybe too much, can easily be tricked or halted by such times of doubt and confusion… And those doubts get very personal don’t they? They sting like knives and make us feel as if we are swimming through treacle, getting nowhere…
    Thank you for writing about these things. I know life goes best when you just let nature take it’s course or follow the Tao… It all seems so simple when we read it in books or drink in other people’s words of inspiration. But that makes it all the worse when we get stuck or hit a stumbling block. It makes us feel like a lonesome failure.
    But we all hit those blocks. We all fail sometimes. We are not alone though and helping each other up and helping each other along the path must surely be part of the Tao too.

    • Thomas Ross says:


      “We are not alone though…”. This is the amazing thing about the last six months. Not alone. We read each other’s work. We respond to the work and to each other- in a serious, supportive, understanding way. I never knew. I feel so blessed.

      Thank you, Cassie.


  • SprinklinThoughts says:

    Way to go!

  • Archana says:

    *hugs* to you Tom!

  • Mark says:

    Can you really say “Not ever again.” ?

    • Thomas Ross says:


      I’m saying it out loud here not because I could ever know what will come or how I will be in any future moment but because I just want to say it out loud. I want to see it there- in black and white. It’s important to me somehow. Even though, as you rightly suggest, I can’t possibly know.

      Thanks for taking the time to read the work and to leave a reply.


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