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Madame du Deffand (1697-1780)

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(Marie Anne de Vichy-Chamond, marquise du Deffand)

“The distance is nothing; it is only the first step that is difficult.”

Cultivated and intense, Madame du Deffand was a French woman of letters (a fancy term for a scholar) who was a patron of fashion and literature.  Her salons were frequented by leaders of the Enlightenment and became an important source of political ideas and revolutionary sentiments.  The French Salons were groups of people gathered by a salonniére (in this case, Madame du Deffand), to eat, drink, and be merry while discussing all manner of important topics from literature to politics to science.


I am an overthinker.  This means my brain tends to work non-productively on things for a lot longer than it needs to.  Overthinking is the extreme end of my curiosity.  And I am also very curious.

But where my curiosity leads me to discovery, overthinking usually leads me to a place where I am paralyzed.  I am stuck with every possible option that could lead to good or bad or neutral outcomes.  So instead of taking a step forward, or moving in flow, I simply become stopped.  Or blocked.

Back in November I was dealing with some serious writer’s block.  My overthinking demons had multiplied and become a chorus of noise that had quite simply paralyzed me.  At that point, I was craving connection, but it felt like there were so many barriers to me reaching out, that I just shut down. 

And my demons were loud:  What would you write anyway?  Who would read it?  Why would anyone care what you’re writing?  With all the zillions of things people have to read, why would they read you?  What if it’s dumb?  What if it doesn’t matter? 

My reactions to each of the questions were just as tricky.  A lot of insecurity.  Fear of failure.  Self-consciousness.  And around and around I went inside my head.  Our heads are so strong (headstrong, much?), and opinionated.  I get into a lot of trouble when I spend too much time up there.  Things get real for me when I can come down from my head and inhabit my heart space.

Heart Space

My heart is the place where my passion and momentum get to step in.  This is the space where all the good and reasonable work that’s been done in my head, gets a boat.   And that boat gets launched into a running river of flow that is all the life and energy of possibility surrounding me.  My heart is where my courage waits, and it only takes a moment of contact with courage before I leap.

Sometimes my leaping happens before my head is even aware of it. But a leap is a leap and momentum has been engaged.  There is nothing quite so wonderful, terrifying, connecting, challenging, and beautiful as the flow that follows.


The more experience I have flowing in my life, the easier it is becoming for me to leave the overthinking spaces of my head and be at home in my heart.  Back in November when I was struggling with stagnancy and feeling stuck and blocked, there was a split second of movement from my head to my heart.  I sat down at my computer and started writing.  I wrote for seventy plus days.  That first step was just what I needed to enter a fast-flowing river that covered a great distance of insecurity, doubt, and fear.  And from the river, I am learning to trust the flow process. 

If you are flowing in the river, or standing on the bank; if you are in your head or in your heart, let’s step together and be friends~

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