…continued from Becoming Aware 1:5 – Your Quiet Voice
First Things First
Often the hardest thing about starting anything new, challenging, or creative, like embarking on this Quiet Corner journey, is simply that—starting. Our mind, our doubts, our fears, the loud voices within us, our judge and critic, keep us from even trying. In my case, I liken it to my resistance to physical exercise. The most difficult part is putting on my workout clothes and walking out the door. Once I make it that far, the rest is easy. I always enjoy it, I always feel better. Yet I resist it the very next time. Why? Because I tend to resist most activities that are beneficial to my health. So knowing this about myself helps to push me out the door each time.
I have been involved in routine physical activity for many years and have come to understand and accept my various moods and limitations in that arena. I can sometimes work out with unlimited energy and grace, while at other times I feel sluggish and bored. For stretches of time I exercise every chance I get; at other times I don’t exercise at all. I no longer allow any of this to persuade me that I should either be a professional athlete or that I should never exercise again. My particular body simply works this way, and I have come to know just when to push myself and when to hold back. I no longer judge or compare myself with others; I just accept my physical being as it is.
Such seemingly minor realizations can increase our self-awareness and help us to identify similar patterns in other areas of our life that affect our mental and spiritual well-being. Have you ever constructed in your mind an ideal you? Do you put pressure on yourself to conform to this image? Write down some examples of how you do this. Then consider that this pressure could be keeping you from approaching new and creative endeavors, since you have an established idea of the outcome before you even begin. And nothing, good or bad, ever turns out the way we imagine it.
Getting started and leaving behind all expectations is always a challenge. When you have trouble getting started doing anything, remind yourself that once you take the first step you are on your way.
Choose one small action that will get you moving. If I resist beginning a new writing project, for instance, I know that picking up my pen and notebook or sitting down in front of my computer and turning it on is similar to walking out the door. Yet it sometimes takes a while to get there. I circle the computer, thinking about being there, worrying about being there, wanting to be there. This is all part of the process that eventually gets me there. I now accept this. And I always get there.
Pay attention to your own particular patterns as you work on becoming more aware. Do you routinely resist some activity even though you enjoy it once you get started? What pushes you to do it each time? What is your version of walking out the door? Make a list of activities that you once enjoyed but no longer practice. Would you like to introduce some of them back into your life? What would it take to do that? Write down three activities that you’ve only ever dreamed of doing or admired from afar. Write down three or more professions that you would like to try your hand at. No need to take action on any of this yet; simply write about it all for now in your Quiet Corner notebook. Consider these your “life’s dreams” pages.
And remember that whenever you are having trouble getting started doing something new, especially something creative, start by doing something small, something that feels easy and manageable, to get you through that door of resistance.
For example, if you think you’d like to return to school but are worried about not having the resources (time, money, skill), start simply by collecting catalogs from the schools that interest you. Start there. Then maybe make a phone call to the one that most interests you and inquire further about the schedule or fees. Or, if you decide that you want to make a quilt, first get a book on the subject, then research local quilting groups, then perhaps begin a small project before you determine your long-term interest or talent. Focusing on these small steps will move you in some direction. And each step will take you further along the road. So, don’t jump to the end of whatever it is you want to do before you get there. Just push yourself into that mental space of willingness, through that imaginary door, and take one small action. The end will take care of itself. Before you know it, you will have started. That is the hard part. Once you’re there, you’re there.
To be continued…