~ the past runs circles around the future

"The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it.

This is the day your life really begins.”
~ Bob Moawad

Ha. I spend a few minutes looking for quotes to inspire a blog. I picked this one. But my mind is blank. Let’s see…..

It’s a hard moment, realizing that your life belongs to you. That you can no longer blame your parents for your choices. That you can choose how to think and what to do. It’s so easy to say “your life is your own”, but is it?

The truth is that human beings are extremely complex. Why I think what I think when I think it, is based on a whole host of factors. Things I remember, things I do not. Survival mechanisms. Patterns. Programming. A ‘wanting to do the ‘right’ thing’. A way of being.

We are programmed as we grow, we receive messages from those around us, and we filter those messages through our own perceptions. It’s like we are built on precedent. That person smiled at me but then talked behind my back. Maybe the next person who smiles at me will do the same. So we get suspicious. We’re told over and over again that we are unworthy, that we are lazy and stupid, that we aren’t good enough… we start to act that way. We limit our socializing, we don’t go after promotions at work, we remain single or we get into unhealthy relationships. We give up on ourselves because what’s the point of trying, we’re never going to ‘get’ it anyway. We just don’t have ‘it’.

We talk about change, but it’s pretty obvious that it isn’t easy to achieve. Finding more creativity in our lives. Quitting smoking. Cutting down on coffee. Getting organized, eating healthy. Getting out of bad relationships and finding good ones. Making ourselves over, becoming the vision we have for ourselves…. These things are very very easy to say… but extremely hard to accomplish.

Change is hard because there is something in us that has a vested interested in us staying the same.

I know this because, as far as I have progressed on this journey of mine, there are still patterns of behavior that seem to defeat me. My tendency to stay up too late, which sabotages my energy & my work on the following day. Thereby directly affecting my success. My procrastination, which uses up energy in guilt & frustration. My scatteredness, which means that at any one time I am doing a multitude of things but probably not the thing that really needs to get done. My dislike of talking on the phone, which directly affects relationships with friends, family and business clients. The nasty way I sometimes talk to myself in this regard. That internal editor is very good at hitting all the right buttons.

I’ve noticed things like…. I have this plan that I will get up in the morning, and while the kettle is boiling, I’ll do the dishes & tidy the kitchen. I know that when the kitchen is tidy I feel… lighter, better. I like walking into my kitchen and seeing an empty sink and clean counters, a steamer that’s been washed out and is ready to go. So I’ll get up in the morning and go into the kitchen, fill the kettle. I’ll start sorting out the dishes… and this incredible lassitude will sweep over me. ‘I don’t feel like doing this’ I’ll think to myself, wilting by the sink. If I listen to that voice, the kitchen stays unsorted and then… that same voice happily tells me how lazy I am for the rest of the day. I know the only way to ‘win’ is to actually do the dishes. Then the strategy of the voice is defeated.

Another is… planning some time off to rest, relax, but also organize some things around the house. Bedroom needs some work, office drawers / paperwork needs sorting. A few hours of concentrated effort, and everything will be in its place. ‘Tomorrow’, I tell myself. Then I’ll stay up til midnight, think about going to bed… and the little voice in my head will say, ‘oh, let’s check out….’, and the next thing you know it’s 4 am and I’m playing games on the computer. Then I sleep in til noon, wake up exhausted, and don’t feel like doing anything. Oh, the voice in my head has a field day with that.

The good thing about all of this is that I am aware of these things. I know. I see myself doing these behaviours. I try not to judge, I try to ask myself why. What is it that I achieve by continuing to do (or not do) things in this way?

Answer: I don’t move forward. I stay stuck. The bedroom stays untidy, the office stays unorganized, I feel tired. These things keep me from being in the flow, from finishing projects, from being where I want to be. I distract myself from my purpose. Perhaps also, this not moving forward is meant to satisfy the voices of my youth, that told me I was useless, unworthy, and unlovable. I know these things aren’t true. On a very deep level. At last. But the old behaviours are still there, weighing me down.

My first task is to forgive myself for being unable to change this programming. Yet. My next task is to think of how I can rewrite it. Be progressive. Say “yes I can.”

Really, the answer is simple. As my maestro used to say "it's so simple it's hard." The answer is to do. Change comes from action, however small. Change comes from repeated doing. Change comes from recognizing the old pattern and taking steps to do something different.

Last night, I did the dishes before I went to bed. Got up to a clean kitchen. Last night, I made a start on the bedroom, sorted out some clothes, put old newspapers and magazines in recycle, put the Christmas wrapping away in the Christmas box. I went to bed at a reasonable time, fell asleep with the light on and a book in my hand. I got up at a reasonable hour and am now writing during the time I've set aside for writing.

Action, butterfly. Slow, repeated steps in the direction you wish to go. Change will come in its time. If you do the work.

4 comments:

JoAnn Braheny said...

Vikki, thank you for this inspiring post. Thank you for your candor. This honest self revelation is what makes SONGS valuable as well. It's what reminds us of our common humanity. I found myself identifying with many of your comments. Been there - done that - and still do some of it. We all, it seems, keep trying to overcome our past, put one foot in front of the other and forgive ourselves for stumbling. "Earth school" is a process. Thank you so much for the beautiful reminder. Keep doing it!
John Braheny

Giannis said...

Hi,

I've had your blog bookmarked for a few weeks now and it's great to read your words. Thank you!

I also started writing a blog the other day, yet very simple but maybe some day something will turn out well... http://giannismusic.blogspot.com/


Giannis

Phil Bennett said...

Yes, a great post and common feelings for the creative soul. All we really want to do is create, but creativity can come from the common tasks we loathe.

You are normal, but aware which is a cool combination.

Peace,

Phil

Karan said...

Phew.
Thanks for the reminder.
I surely needed it today.
:-)

Stay strong!
Karan