and being your own god
I’ll never forget getting that email. I was riding on the subway down from my apartment in Washington Heights to an acupuncture appointment in the flatiron district. While we were sitting at 34th street station, (one of the bigger stations that used to get cell service), I opened the gmail app on my phone — and there was an email from the business manager of Julia Cameron - the author of The Artist Way.
Whattt? I love the Artist’s Way. That book was the very reason I’d felt encouraged to spend so much time writing, and sharing my writing. And it was probably the only reason I had gained a following online, writing about our relationship with food.
I talked about the book all the time on my podcast, because of how impactful the perspective shift was for me on perfectionism in my own healing with both food, and also creating - writing.
Writing didn’t need to be perfect. I just needed to do it. To write. To post things with typos (sorry guys.)
I didn’t need to eat perfectly, I just needed to eat.
It’s impact on me was profound. So getting an email from her business manager??? What was that all about?
I quickly read the email… she had read my entire blog, and my self-published digital e-book, and it had helped her relationship with food, and she liked my writing and thought I should write a book…? And she wanted to talk to me to see if there was anything she could do to help that happen?
This email had nothing to do with The Artist’s Way, or Julia Cameron. The connection was purely random... pure coincidence. She only mentioned her position because she was involved with Julia’s book creation process, and so she wanted to give me a reason to not ignore her email.
What is going on?
I’d always wanted to write books, but didn’t know how to jump from blogger to author. I’d sort of tried to get a book agent the year before by doing some submissions, but I gave up when any interest fizzled out.
I remember walking from the subway to my appointment in awe. I was amazed.
Wow, I thought, this energy work and manifestation stuff really works….
I’d spent the last two years, rabidly trying to heal myself of all of my trauma and stuck energy and emotions and negative limiting beliefs. I was doing two different energy work trainings, learning how to assess someones energy with muscle testing and pendulums. I was learning different spiritual methods for releasing blocked energy, negative energy, stuck and stored emotions and beliefs… I say this all now with tons of skepticism. I don’t really know what I was doing. I think it was a combination of … actual just… feeling of emotions (good!), processing frozen nervous system energy (good!), and maybe… some accidental demonic spiritual practices thrown in (bad!), and …the placebo effect (good/neutral).
I had been trying to get past all my audition anxiety, and manifest the Broadway career I had trained for. I was trying to let go of limiting beliefs about career and money, and become extremely rich. I was trying to release all stuck emotions that were hindering me from my physical healing and optimal health. I was trying to let go the trauma of the heartbreak I was going through and my limiting beliefs around love. I was trying to manifest the life of my dreams, by getting rid of all the trauma and negative vibes that were clearly getting in the way. Or that was the idea, at least.
And… then this happens? This email, while just an email, felt pretty crazy. It felt pretty… I dunno… magical.
It felt like a Cinderella story. You! Yes you! You are special. Out of everyone at the ball, the prince only wants to dance with you. Yes! You! You, Cinderella, are special. You are being rewarded for just being YOU. All you had to do was show up.
I mean, I also really wished that I could have a Cinderella story with my love life, like, always. But a Cinderella story with my career was going to have to do for now. I’d take it.
And my big takeaway at the time, was that: all of my energy work had worked. I must have manifested this — something totally unlikely, beyond what I ever could have thought up.
But that was just it… I hadn’t thought this up. This was not what I was trying to manifest. It just… happened.
I had been trying to manifest a new Broadway agent. Not a book agent.
To speed up how the story went, this woman who emailed me, Emma, was serious about what she had said in the email. We met in person. She encouraged me to start putting the idea for the book together. Eventually, when I had a lot written, she introduced me to Julia Cameron’s literary agent, who was not taking clients at the time. But lo! She became my literary agent anyway! The fairytale continued…
Two years later, after writing the book with Emma as the book’s doula, and Susan as my encouraging and brilliant agent, I got a book deal with Harper Collins.
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The Less Great Part
However… I am not mentioning the part of the story where, during this same time, I was also extremely sick and miserable and exhausted. During the best and most “magical” years of my life, I was also not doing very well. After those two years of hardcore energy work and trauma work and spiritual practices, feeling all my stuck emotions, one would assume that I would have become healthier. I was trying to manifest better health, after all…
It’s only later, in retrospect, I see that my health actually tanked during my time deep in energy healing. I had no energy. (Ha.) I had liver issues. I had chronic low grade fevers. I had new recurring migraines. And I was diving into healing with a naturopathic doctor who, while talented and knowledgable, was also encouraging me to do even more (very expensive) energy/spiritual healing work with different practitioners she worked with. (Over the phone… energy healing sessions…)
And when The F*ck It Diet came out in 2019, to tons and tons of praise and glowing reviews from readers, I was so… anxious. I wasn’t at peace. I wasn’t happy. Ok, ok ok. It’s out. Wow. My life feels … exactly the same. Ok… what’s next.
That’s normal-ish though: getting to a big goal and realizing that you’re not fulfilled. It wasn’t a sign that something was horribly wrong, necessarily, just a sign I had to take my own advice, and realize that you never “make it” — there’s usually always something else we strive for. We so rarely let ourselves just be content.
But, looking back now, I see all of this so differently.
Now that I believe in a traditional, personal God, I see all of this as an answer to my prayers over the years, not me somehow manifesting “the dreams” I didn’t even know I had.
The F*ck It Diet…. was a gift from God. Really. I even knew it then, on some level. I knew it was beyond me. It was the unexpected answer to my prayer. I wanted a better relationship with food. I wanted physical healing. And the unexpected “part one” of that answer, was TFID. Healing my relationship with food.
My writing career… was also a gift from God. Literally: a gift. It wasn’t even what I wanted. I wanted to be an actress. But God knew better. The acting industry made me anxious and miserable. I loved the art of it, but hated the reality of the job. Here Caroline. Do this instead.
I didn’t manifest Emma emailing me that day, God let it happen. God made it happen. I am a lucky lucky b****. Here Caroline, you silly confused little lady. You are straying so far, but I’m going to get you back on track… eventually.
God let me experience pain that had a purpose. It’s easy to say that about my own life pain, because, as painful and confusing as it was, it does seem relatively mild, all things considered. But I also look back and see so much that makes sense now… even if I still have many outstanding unanswered prayers…
In 2022, after feeling like I’d somehow made a wrong turn, and wound up at some kind of dead end in my life, I had my conversion just a few months later. And so much of my anxiety melted away.
Nothing changed quickly, in fact, my life still looks very similar to how it looked at the “dead end,” but it all started making some more sense. It all started coming into focus… Oh… it was all a gift? It was all from God? I didn’t manifest any of that? He gave me this so I could… write about THIS now?
But even better, I also started trusting whatever is going to happen next. Even if my biggest fear comes true, and nothing happens next. I still trust it. Because I now trust a personal God who never left me, and never stopped helping me, and never stopped guiding my path, even when I was doing crazy things like seeing Shamans and doing witchy stuff and acting like my own little god. I was still being… blessed. It’s crazy. I am so thankful. I am so lucky.
I could also give you a long long laundry list of everything in my life that sucks. My life is not perfect. I am not fully healed. I am very very unsure of how I am going to make enough money going forward. I may live single in this house, talking to myself in my garden, until the day I die. My future is a big blank slate / question mark…
But… I trust it anyway. Because I can now look back and see that all of those other times, when I was lost and in pain and didn’t know what was going to happen… God still showed up.
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