A touchstone is a smooth, dark stone but metaphorically, it is a point of reference, leading us along a path. When I get stuck or stalled, unsure of the next action, I wait for my next touchstone, that clear signal, the green light in the form of an idea, a success, the right person or opportunity that shows up to say This is next. Now this. You’re on the right track.
Lately, my touchstones have been showing up a lot and pushing me forward. I’m not special. Everyone has touchstones. In fact, maybe I’ve taken longer than most to follow mine. But they are appearing, solid and shining.
There were the questions, the curiosities. The desire for the next right action.
What if I tell the story that scares me? Follow it.
My story won! Follow that.
Get it published. Another touchstone. Keep going.
An invitation from another, bigger magazine to write for them. Keep going.
What if send my story, an excerpt from my memoir, to the most respected person in the field related to my theme. The child advocate, the one whose work I admire more than any other because it is in an area near and dear to my heart, and to my own writing? The worst that can happen is he ignores it. Or his staff ignores it. But what if this story is about much more than just me? What if it helps others?
My heart says go. Just do it.
His response is more generous and encouraging than I could have imagined. And he puts my story on his blog the next day. I am honored, happy, grateful. Touchstone.
His colleague requests a Skype interview. Keep going. I say yes.
Emails from others. An invitation to speak. Touchstones. They keep appearing.
I am busy, I am breathless, scared, and absolutely certain I on the right path.
I think that touchstones shine more brightly with an uncluttered background. I think that I had to simplify, clear out the half hearted yeses and the fear in order to see what was waiting for me.
It all feels overwhelming but exactly right. It feels like of course this is it. I knew it all along. I just had to remember, to find the clues and to follow them.
Touchstones were once used for testing alloys of gold. Is this real? Is this valuable?
I think that we recognize our touchstones when we see them. We just have to ask from the heart. We have to ask like we mean it.
And when they appear, telling us yes this is real, this is valuable, we cannot say no.