“Sometime during the course of the year, when the time is nigh and right, you’ll receive a message.” A week into 2016, this intriguing email arrived in my inbox. It was from a friend who is a diviner, but what she offered was not a prophecy. I was among those handpicked for “a very special experiment”, a safekeeping of notes to ourselves. My message would come from no mystery other than my own desire to speak to myself. Its dispatch date was not to be of my choosing.
This is what I told her to keep safe for me, in those early days of a year that started just as unhappily as it continued: “You did the right thing. You picked the right path. You really did.”
It’s not that I was at any particular crossroads at the time. In many ways, it was a strange message to send myself, and not at all what I needed for what I could see of the year to come. I had known at the outset that mine was to be a year of patience, not of radical decisions. Even the good things that were to happen would not come from anything other than long, hard work.
Here’s what I can say with hindsight: such a vague message could come only from someone out of touch with her intuition.
And I was.
The months unrolled; less like a red carpet and more like apples from a broken carton, slipshod and mostly beyond grasping. I spent most of them waiting. I waited for my manuscripts to be turned into proofs and then to be turned into books. I waited to get away and then to get back home. I waited for things to be over with. I waited to feel better. I waited for the other shoe to drop.
And all along, at the back of my mind, as the year grew longer and my ability to tap into my own heart dimmed more and more, I waited for the validation of that stored message. No crossroad I encountered asked of me anything other than the intuitive, yet I struggled with giving myself permission.
The message never came.
Did my friend abandon her project, or did the right moment for that message simply not arrive? I haven’t asked her; instead, I’ve pondered the second question. With or without design, the non-appearance of that time capsule dispatch was probably more valuable to me than its actual content. Especially in the closing few weeks of the last year, when I began to wonder what had happened to it, and so began to have to contemplate the message itself.
After all, if it was only something I was telling myself, why did I require another person to deliver it, or to remind me of it? Perhaps this deceptively simple realisation, rather than the empty validation of a self-doubting message, was what I had truly needed.
What would your message to yourself be, if you too embarked on such an introspection? I’m eschewing a time capsule for a more everyday message: trust yourself, trust yourself, trust yourself. Let’s just hope that I’ll listen.
An edited version appeared in The New Indian Express on January 5th 2017. “The Venus Flytrap” appears on Thursdays in Chennai’s City Express supplement.