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The Drops with Deb Debut

Updated: Mar 12, 2021

“Start a blog” has been on my want-to-do list for many years. I adore words. This is a life-long love affair, and it consumes me completely. I treasure the sounds of words, the round and sharp and smooth textures like so many gloriously varied candies in my mouth. I delight in how words appear on paper, tall and short, simple and complex, still but entirely alive. And since I was a very young girl I’ve relished the way words feel as they move through me, a buzzy tingle, almost like a giggle about to surface, joy and wonder and power and magic. My love of words is an integral part of who I am, as much as my skin, my laughter, my heart. I’m fairly certain, if you could see my soul, it would be entirely composed of words, a me-shaped tangle of language, written over and over itself until it acquires substance, grace, weight.

As a child I wrote short stories. As a teen, poetry. I worked on my high school newspaper and submitted work that was published in my university’s literary journal. But somewhere along the way, my relationship with words lost its balance. I’ve always been a voracious reader, consuming words the way a koala consumes eucalyptus, as the only substance that will ensure survival. But as a young adult, this became all I did with words—consume them. I no longer allowed them to flow through me, lighting up the magic inside, allowing it to shine outward, into the world. There seemed so much to do: hold down multiple jobs, get married, get divorced, learn all the lessons the hard way. Consuming words still felt like a necessity, but somehow producing them seemed a luxury, and I did not believe my life to be luxurious.

Now, at the age of 46, I’ve consumed enough words from myriad wise voices to understand how to ask questions of my own soul, and I’ve spent much of the last year doing just that (thanks, COVID-19). I keep getting the same answer: write, write…write. Tell your story. Create space for others to explore their stories. Do what you love. Be who you are. Own what you’ve been given. Write.

I resisted that message for a little while. Like so many, I had to make some major changes when COVID came to town. My once profitable personal training and health coaching business ground to a complete halt. At first I enjoyed the down-time, figuring the world would be “back to normal” soon enough. Six months later, it was becoming obvious that what was once normal was gone for good, and whatever new kind of ordinary we were cooking up still had months in the oven.

I began looking at how to change my business model to be more profitable in a pandemic. In essence I was starting a new business, as a life coach, albeit in the same town, using my existing education and experience and many of the same skills, and under the same name. Still, blogging felt irresponsible. It’s not an “income producing” activity. It’s not even a particularly expedient way to grow an audience, a following, to find my tribe. When I looked at what I needed to make this professional pivot, I didn’t see a blog anywhere on the list. After I’m established, I told myself. When the mysteries of marketing have become mundane. When I have a complete understanding of delivering services in an entirely new way. When my client roster is full. Then, I rationalized, I can blog for fun.

Work now, fun later.

That’s a song I’ve been signing for a long time: work now, fun later. It’s my nemesis, really. I’m slowly unlearning the lyrics, figuring out how to turn a deaf ear to the siren song of work. But beliefs are sneaky! They can be like a hydra—cut one head off over here, and another one is already reappearing behind your back. Putting off a blog didn’t feel like signing the same old song, but it was. Even though my hours were shorter, my work more efficient,

my profit margins more cushy, there I was, choosing sensibility over creativity, earning over learning, rigidity over flexibility.

I was choosing structure over soul. Again. Thankfully, I was also continuing to touch base with said soul. The very one I was actively denying! (#workinprogress) When I would meditate, journal, or perform automatic writing, I kept hearing the same word: write. I might be slow, but I DO learn, and I began to wonder about this gift I’d been given. I began looking closely at this four-decade long love affair that burned like hardwood--slow, steady, and hot. And then something whispered from the back of my mind…perhaps I wasn’t given this gift for me. Maybe the gift of writing was given to me not to titillate and tantalize my own mind, but to create in the name of service. Perhaps my soul was not suggesting I put words on paper for my own good, but for the good of others.

And just like that, “start a blog” moved from the want-to-do list to the to-do list. Because I believe this is my job, to speak—out loud or on paper—to teach, to inspire, to agitate, to question, to wonder, and to invite others to do the same. So here we are, together, in the midst of my very first blog post, the beginning of something I can only speculate on with regards to the end.

We’ll explore many concepts here. I’ll share what makes me wonder, helps me grow, and changes lives—my own and those of my clients. You’ll watch me learning life’s lessons in real time, and I hope you’ll give me the chance to walk beside you as you do the same. Because that whisper I heard—the idea that these words aren’t for me, they’re for YOU—is really why we’re here. For comfort, community, to know that we are always in this life together, you and me. I don’t know for certain what we’ll achieve here, but I’m increasingly confident that it’s going to be significant.

So let’s start with the most important truth I can share with you…

Your dreams are matter.

You have a purpose.

It is absolutely imperative that you live in this truth. The world is sick right now, and I’m not talking about a novel virus. Earth and her people are not well, and the evidence is everywhere: imbalance of power, degradation of natural resources, a complete loss of the ability to relate as humans sharing an existence. And this sickness is caused, in large part, by too few people acknowledging their dreams and seeking their purpose. It’s caused by decisions like waiting to start a blog.

The universe is full of holes, and each of us arrives here programmed to fill one. You came here with a light, and there is a particular patch of darkness in this world shaped precisely like you. When you shine your light, you banish that darkness, not just for yourself, but for the world as a whole. The darkness is overwhelming right now because we have created a culture that denies the light.

We are, so many of us, living someone else’s life. We are moving forward like automatons, going through the motions of a life scripted for us by a culture of same and shame, a culture that values certain accomplishments, talents, and tendencies while utterly dismissing others.

As children we are handed a stack of instructions and told to follow them…and we do. But these instructions don’t belong to us. We hold them in our hands, but they aren’t for us. They are for conformity and status quo and uniformity. They are for maintaining the holes, so it’s no wonder they don’t teach us how to find the light and banish the darkness. And the longer we follow them, the bigger the darkness grows, outside of us and within. With it grows the struggle to follow the instructions and do the right things, all the while wondering why we feel so bleak and barren inside.

You can buy back your dreams. You can burn the instruction manual. You can choose your own values, instead of blindly subscribing to the ones with which you’ve been indoctrinated since birth. And when you do, you will learn to shine; you will begin to banish the darkness. When enough people do this—own their light and shine unapologetically—we tip the scales, and the world begins to heal.

This is not a single action, a singular moment in time when you declare your freedom and a seismic shift rumbles through you and into the wider world. Like all changes, claiming your light is incremental. It’s a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand choices, actions taken again and again. It’s not an earthquake but a slow massing of subtle vibrations. It’s single drops in a bucket, slowly rinsing away filth with pure, clean water.

It’s one choice, one day. Followed by another the next. It’s starting a blog. It’s making the first post.

This style of movement, at once incremental and monumental, is how I have come to this place in my life, as a woman, a wife, a daughter, a coach, a community member, a soul. It is, in fact, the only way any of us ever accomplishes anything. One drop at a time. That’s why it’s the name of my business, Drops in the Bucket, LLC. And ultimately, it’s why I’m here. To share what used to be in my bucket, what’s already been replaced, and what I will continue to drop in, one choice at a time.

If you’re looking, you will find me here. All of me. The drops I’m proud of, the drops I’m not, the parts of life that scare me, and the parts that light me up with joy and excitement. It’s my hope that you’ll also begin to find YOU here. The parts that you’re proud of, and the parts you’re not. The parts you want to change, and the motivation and inspiration to begin doing so. Together we can wash away the darkness, one drop at a time.

I’m so glad you’re here with me. We’ll talk again soon. Until then, think about your light. What does it look like? Mine looks like this blog—send me a message and let me know what shape you think yours is taking.

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Awesome blog! I feel inspired to do some blogging myself and I feel even more connected to you than I ever have, if that is even possible. You are beautiful, inside and out but I might be just a little bit prejudiced. You come from a family that has done some writing. Your Aunt Jo is a very talented writer and I have even done some myself. I sure didn't know that you could learn so much from your children. You are an inspiration and I believe a true teacher. You just have that fire burning inside you and I am just so amazed that you are following your inspiration and dreams. Something that a lot of us ju…

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Deb Penner
Deb Penner
13 mar 2021
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Aw, thanks! It takes an amazing woman to raise an amazing woman, so thank you for all you've done and continue to do for me. I'm so blessed in you!

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