Updated: Aug 18, 2020
“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; it’s choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them” ~ Brene Brown.
I love this idea. Less so the thought of having to actually do something uncomfortable.
With any new habit or project, beginning is often the hardest part. The cranky old bear of inertia lurking deep inside most of us, gets dangerously upset at the thought of change.
I both love and hate beginnings.
I love the newness, the possibility, the rush of energy that accompanies the starting gun. As a kid I was always first out from the blocks, loving the feeling of space as I charged ahead of the pack.
Less fun of course is the letting go. The discomfort we agree to in signing up for the test.
The pang of desire as we pass along the sourdough when we’ve resolved to go gluten-free. The sting of tired muscles on our first morning run. A crazy, racing mind in our first-in-many-months meditation. The fear of overwhelm or judgement with any creative endeavour, not to mention the scariest beast of them all – the possibility of failure.
I hear Ben Lee singing: “…not beginning is the only way to fail”. Yes Ben, yes.
I’ve done plenty of hiding, don’t worry. And still do. Often I don’t even realise that that’s what I’m doing, fooled instead by the voices in my head that will do anything to keep me safe (and asleep).
But the price is quite simply too high.
There’s peace, but it’s dull. Time drags and resentment breeds.
Have you ever noticed that when you’re “going through the motions” time seems on tranquilizers but once absorbed in your joy or passion it either bends to infinity or races like a mother. There’s never enough time to do the things you love doing, while the mundane chores seem to drag on for-ev-aaaaaah.
To quote Nathaniel Hawthorne: “Happiness is not found in things you possess, but in what you have the courage to release.”
At the heart of all this, as usual, is Love.
Love knows that you are already more than enough. That there’s nothing to improve upon. And also that you are here in this adventure called Life, in this playground called Earth, full of opposites and contradictions and paradoxes and shit to learn.
We approach new experiences as an opportunity for growth. Brene Brown again: “Healthy striving is self-focused: ‘How can I improve?’ Perfectionism is other-focused: ‘What will they think?’”
Truly, personally, revolutionary change has nothing to do with what they’ll think, and everything to do with how you feel. You’ll know it’s coming from the right place when you really want to do it, even though it’s hard. Heart, mind, body & Soul agree.
If a thought feels stressful, then it is. Good ideas arise like a gift from Source, packaged in a rush of energy, and excitement, and… yep, quite likely a wee shot of fear.
I like to welcome this fear as an excellent sign that I’m far enough outside my comfort zone as to be doing something worthwhile.
Fear worries. Love says, “Fuck it. What’s there to lose?” (a really good question). “I’m gonna take a chance on feeling fully alive and engaged”.
If that means getting out of bed a bit earlier to sit still on a cushion and get my head straight each morning, then I’m willing.
Rolling out my mat cos it literally breathes life into my body, my heart, my family. Yes please, three times/week.
Setting my alarm for 5am because it's the only time I have to write is before my kid/s wake up.
None of these things because we think we should, but because WE KNOW WE MUST if we are to really live, on our own terms, doing the things that light us up.
Hiding from discomfort and failure is a perfectly valid way to live. You will not be alone in doing so. And there are times I believe that staying safe is exactly what you need to do. Times of grieving or recovery are challenging enough without the need to add yet more intensity.
But when it’s truly time to make a shift, you’ll know it. Ideas will start to niggle. Images will land. You’ll feel a bit impatient… uncomfortable inside your own skin because, quite frankly, you’ve outgrown it.
It’s time to shed.