If you find yourself not finishing projects and you want to retrain your mind, here is a tactic. Make a list and do one thing a day to keep yourself accountable. By practicing daily, we climb out of the ruts where we are stuck. We can make short, easy to complete tasks such as reading one paragraph or dancing five minutes. Continue until you relearn the pleasure that comes from your accomplishments. Feel the pride. It’s your thing.
Your mind will try to protect you from this but know you are safe. You’ll have enough energy left over, enough time, and even enough inspiration. You won’t run out of fuel. Your mind is locked in scarcity and is protecting you by holding that mode.
I look back at work I wrote a year ago, and I don’t recognize it as my own. Yes, I know the piece. I wrote it. The characters are mine, and the art is authentic, but sometimes as if another person works through me.
I DO ME
Flow is the place we aspire to be. It’s a surfer’s dream. To lose the struggle and only know exhilaration and glory, man! That’s the ideal. We all want that, don’t we? Then why do I white knuckle it?
Losing control is not a feeling I enjoy. When I was younger, the coasting downhill on my bike was good. Not flying through the air and losing my sense of direction. But in my fear I find release. There’s a comfort—An “Oh dear gawd I’m going to die—Okay maybe not.” And relief that I didn’t. All is alright. It’s a time when I learned to let go of me.
The greatest benefit of being a solo performer is that it is seriously frightening, but at the same time very empowering. It’s just you and the audience. All the weight is on you to deliver the songs.
Some of the things I’ve done which scared the shit out of me, I leaped into them fully, feet first. I had an idea and started. Once I painted my kitchen cabinets. Yes, I researched the hows. I bought supplies. But I had no experience. I took the first step, then the second. Sometime in the middle, I realized there was no turning back. I was committed. I would finish this project. It’s at these junctures when you turn the music loud and get to work.
I have so many questions sometimes when I try new things. I start with, I’m ready. I’m excited. I crouch down like the jumper at a sporting event, and I’m prepared to take off, but then the questions start. How much pressure do I need to push-off? Do I land on one foot or both? Do I dig in with my toes? You get the idea. So many questions that I start doubting if I can do it or if any of it can happen. Can I really make it work? Am I just daydreaming? We all go through this struggle. We worry. We fight the fear, then we fight the desire by telling ourselves, ‘Well, I don’t want it anyway.’ We try to shut the emotions down because they can be so raw. The open heart can feel so exposed.
Quit – over thinking. Quit – trying to make it work. Quit – wishing, thinking, pushing, willing, trying so hard. All of these things make you seem like a fish flopping on the shoreline, out of his comfort zone, out of your life zone. That’s not you. We act like we’re afraid. Like that sick fish, gasping for air. We are not desperate. We might be frightened, but we aren’t hopeless.
Once when I was dating a guy, without telling him anything, he started saying things like, you know you can’t be happy unless you’re with someone who meets your needs. You have to have someone that lets you have room. In essence, it was all the things I’d been mulling over in my head. Was he reading my mind? Sometimes I wonder if the universe isn’t responding to my thoughts. Is the world around me really just a hologram of my own making as the new-agers say? Matrix overload. Tilt. Tilt. Beep. Beep.
I’m afraid. I’m in the open, but I know I’m not alone here. I just have to wait. I did that thing I do so often, I got here early. I got over excited. How did I say that before? You can read that post here: Overeager.
Here are a few items I ran into in the process of writing this blog. I love how, when you start pulling strings, the blanket starts coming towards you.
I know I’m supposed to believe. I’m supposed to visualize good things and make vision boards. But in the end, you’ll find me yelling profanities out my window-maybe not literally, but figuratively I do curse the depression.
You will not torture me!
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light…-
There are three common responses to abuse. Fight, flight, and fawning. Fighting, raging, not trusting anyone, that’s how some handle life. They walk taller, live faster, and work harder than others. But a cockfight is not my first tendency.
My first response to problems is panic! I freeze, like a fawn. I’m a deer in the headlights, and my mind stops functioning. I swear that running would be healthier.
Depression, that deadly chill, is why I curse the darkness. It’s a night which can swallow me, and I hate it. But, I force myself to face its ugliness. I build massive fires to fight the chill.
I curse the darkness. I use any of the tools I have. I love music and watching movies. Writing and studying my ancestry are more than a distraction; they bring me joy. These are my bonfires. My friendships. My family. Memories of favorite moments. I’ve stockpiled a cache of fireworks for whenever I need them.
It’s sometimes the reason old people sit in their recliner too long. And why the snappiness gets lost from their step. Not on their sixtieth birthday or even in their seventy-fifth year. Just one day it’s easier not to try. Not push. Effort and achievement cause expectations.
The unknown is difficult to face. The young stare it down. Every job interview, each new friend, the new 10-page application they fill out for renting the house, new schools, and moving. But somewhere after the home and the kids and the third new job, life settles. It changes less. By the time the kids grow up, life has rolled on—around and over us.
As we age, we expect to know more. Be smarter. Shouldn’t we be advising our children? We feel we shouldn’t need to improve ourselves anymore. We did that in our twenties.
This is a new time to live. And I refuse to rust, whether it’s by sitting in a recliner or refusing to learn a new language.
We can do this. Don’t turn off your curiosity.
Is it possible, that some of us are afraid of diving, of jumping into the deep end? What’s the worst that could happen if we lived?
Inside my body is a sliver of metal marking where the doctor did a biopsy last year. I forget it’s there because the information isn’t for me. The next time I go for an X-ray, the radiologist who will see it, will look at the sliver inside the lump knowing this one was marked. #benign #harmless
We carry information inside every cell of our body. Each accident and virus remembered.
When I was young, I felt a calling. It drew me, tugging and pulling. I listened, but I was a child and had growing up things to do.
So many years later and a lot of living has been done. I heard and felt it wake up.
Somewhere in my head, the image of myself doesn’t match the picture I have of this gorgeous calling. I’ve revered it in such grandiosity I can never be that person.
And then I remember the instructions given to me in the year 2000. “Take the steps I place in front of you, and use whatever I place in your hand.”
I already know what I need to do. Accept the calling and let my mental picture fall away. No person or plan ever turned out exactly as we expected.
As Greyhound Busline would always say, Go Greyhound, and leave the driving to us.
The flip side of survival and the fear of failure is thriving. Thriving shouldn’t be difficult. How is it so difficult to win? To succeed? Well, the difficulty is when you have achieved, what’s next? You’ve met your goal. Do you coast or do you keep pedaling?
Keep pedaling. This is why slow growth is better than the lottery winning. If you’ve slowly grown a business you got there and grew into your success. Lucky breaks give you false hope.
We are good at striving. Making changes, adjusting, sacrificing, but actual thriving seems so dull sometimes. Oh, yeah we all have the fantasy of buying an island and not having to work for a living, but how long would it be before we would want more? A month? Six months? A year maybe? Somewhere in that time, you start feeling the itchy feet. The need to contribute is too great. Building something even if it’s only a garden is a rewarding experience.
I haven’t talked much about my dark days. Most of us have them. Some call them Dark Nights of the Soul. Others say they are walking through the valley of the shadow of death. No matter what we call them, the experience is difficult to put into words. And I will sometime. Emotions don’t always translate. That gut-wrenching ache after losing a spouse isn’t the same as being alone on a Friday night when everyone else has a date. The situations are almost similar. Alone. No date or spouse. But there’s a depth of substance not seen.
“There is a season for everything under the sun—even when we can’t see the sun.”
Are you familiar with the story of Plato’s Cave? Here’s a link. Plato’s Cave. There were captives chained inside the cave facing always forward, only seeing shadows because they were too far from the source of the light.
One day a single prisoner was freed and taken outside into the light. For years he’d seen the play of shadows and saw the monsters and grotesque shapes splattered on the wall, but now he could see. He had the sunlight, and he knew they were only shadow play on the cave wall from objects in the cave. There weren’t monsters.
Suddenly he was grabbed and yanked toward the cave. But he didn’t want to go back into the dark, he yelled. In the light, he wasn’t afraid.
The shackles were on him again, and the darkness enveloped him. He was restrained, but this time he was different. There was no fear. He knew. How could he not have seen? He had to explain it all to his friends. Would they even listen?
I can almost hear him singing – “Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance!!”
“The new is always at our doorstep when we feel most lost.”
The one thing that I believe I got right coming out of the religious world was a healthy dose of discernment. Even when I was neck deep in religiosity, I kept the same council as I’m going to bring out in this short blog today. I say short because a truth is simple usually. Once you know the truth of a thing, you stop worrying and get on with your life. When you’re uncertain, as in how to drive a car, you question everything. What if I mess up? What if I’m doing it wrong? When you’re an adult, and you drive to work, you get in your car and you drive to work. Sometimes you drive too fast, but you don’t sit around worrying about checking your brake pedal or your accelerator pad every five minutes.
End of Days – Again?
Know the truth and you will be free. So what’s this big truth? Love. Joy. Peace. I’m quoting the Bible because that’s the book I was given to read as a child, but I know that’s not the only holy scripture that teaches these truths. How do you know if a person is right? How do you know that they are wishing good things for you? Jesus’s disciples asked him how they would know if the other preachers were disciples of him? There were so many people performing miracles at one time it became confusing. His answer was easy, check their character. Not by their miracles, but by their fruit. Checking a person’s characterwas my first test when I was a child. I was serious as a kid.
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. Matthew 7:15-20
If you’ve been hugged in the warmest of bear hugs by a grandparent and loved, you weren’t feeling afraid at that moment. If there were any fears, it would only be for their well-being. Love brings with it a sense of satisfaction and safety. Love is my second test.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
So for all of the Christians that are following the Blood Moon fear mongers, STOP. They are selling you a paper bag filled with lies and it’s dripping of fear. I am tired of calming my family down from it.
Those that get off making others afraid – like Tom Horn and even the Christian TV broadcasters like Pat Robertson and John Hagee, they are sick sadists. If you buy into that shit, then you might as well pick up the Sunday horoscope column and follow their advice every week.
I think we as a society have forgotten something here. It’s not about the task in front us. How fast can you finish your spreadsheet? Are you a democrat or a republican? We sold more doohickeys than you. Is it about the people? Is it about the job? Is it about the thing?
Most jobs at their start were about helping, or at least solving a problem. Nutrition. Water. Disease prevention. Somewhere along the line they lose their focus. It’s easy to forget. If you’ve ever worked in a daycare with more than five children, you know how that feels. Children whine, they cry, they poop, and they need. It’s constant. You forget that you cared about these noisy, fussy children. At one time, you wished to nurture them. Now all you want to do is stop the noise. Suddenly it’s about the thing. The diapers.
It seems to make sense to prioritize in order of priority.
Do the urgent stuff first. Deal with the cranky customer who’s about to walk out, the disenchanted and difficult employee who hasn’t had the right sort of guidance (lately), the partner who is stomping his foot.
The problem with this rational prioritization is that it means that the good customers, the valuable employees and the long-suffering but loyal partners are neglected. And they realize that they should either get squeaky or leave.
If the only way to get your attention is to represent a risk, people will figure that out.
(The other problem is that you end up spending all your time with cranky, disenchanted, difficult people who are stomping their feet.) – Seth Godin
I think it’s important to check ourselves and ask it’s still about the people, right?
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