It’s Saturday morning, at present my only child free window in the week. There always seems to be an endless list of things that I should be doing to clear the physical and mental clutter and make space for writing, I feel like one of those dogs that keeps chasing its own tail.
I’ve realised that as I keep waiting for that perfect moment where I feel ready, great ideas just evaporate into thin air.
This morning I’m doing things differently, I’m trying to catch one of those imperfect moments and run with it.
Already I’ve observed something interesting. The strong intention to just do it seems to have quietened down all the excuses that previously stood in the way of starting.
Previously I was so fixated on finding that perfect setting to be my writing spot. I searched all through the Adelaide Hills and thought that I had found it (see photo below). It was so picturesque, like I had stumbled upon French countryside in the middle of the hills. You should have seen this place in autumn, it was something out of a fairytale. Yet when I sat down to write in this perfect, quiet little cafe that had taken me months to find - nothing came out. Zero. Nada.
I had wasted so much time and energy trying to get to the perfect circumstances to finally start writing. Finding the perfect writing spot was just one small part of it. I thought I had to deal with a lot of physical and mental clutter first, to get to a particular state of clarity where the ideas would just flow.
You can replace that word ‘writing’ with anything else you might be striving towards in life, just waiting for that right time.
During this waiting game, so many great ideas and insights just passed me by. At best they may have been scribbled on a notepad somewhere, with the intention of writing about it ‘one day’ when I eventually get to that sweet spot where everything is in place and I feel ready. It constantly felt like it was just around the corner.
So today I’m trying something a little different. I’m not at that perfect cafe in the hills, I just walked to one that’s close to home and it happens to be super noisy. But for some reason it doesn’t seem to matter.
My intention to write seems to override all the perceived imperfections I was fixated upon previously and tried desperately to control. Right now nothing can pull me away from my laptop for long enough to distract me. I hear and see everything, but I keep writing.
I have felt the fear creep in at least five times during the writing of this blog post. It’s like this quiet whisper or voice of doubt trying to sabotage this post. I don’t try to block it out. Just acknowledge it and keep writing. Sometimes it’s a little louder and it wants me to delete entire paragraphs. But I keep going, because I know that fear is necessary to protect me from danger, from taking much larger risks in life.
Having what feels like a public journal is not a small thing. But I honestly believe we need to be more open and honest with each other. Our time on earth is so precious and finite. Our experiences are so limited as it is, it seems a shame to waste that limited time being closed and only partially living.
Our intentions are so powerful, but no parent or teacher ever taught us this very important lesson in life. At least not in mine.
So this is where I’ve been these past few months of quiet time. Trying to control external circumstances to create what I imagined to be the perfect conditions to just start. The few times that I seemingly managed to perfect this juggling act, nothing happened. But it still didn’t sink in and I went back to my juggling ways.
It was also quite a dark period mentally and emotionally. I kept getting disheartened. I thought I had perfected it on the outside, and so I couldn’t understand why there was still nothing on the inside. This place was all too familiar to me. I had been there many times before, where everything was picture perfect on the outside. That’s when the emptiness really becomes apparent.
But I never stopped searching, trying, knocking on different doors, looking for help in all different places. Knowing not to be too quick to judge or dismiss things because I knew it would be in an unexpected place. Not having expectations seemed to be the key. Giving up was never an option. The thought never even crossed my mind.
Finally that trust and endurance seems to have led me to a good place. Was it easy? - hell no. But was it worth it? - definitely.
I was one of the lucky ones who was given the time, space and support to knock on many different doors and learn that there are multiple paths that lead to the same place. To help us deal with our internal baggage and lead a more open, honest and fulfilled life.
There are so many inspirational quotes and videos flooding the internet these days that encourage us to be the best version of ourselves. We all know this in theory, but no one really talks about the HOW, which used to leave me feeling quite frustrated.
Now I see that the reason the how can’t be summarised in a 5 minute inspirational video is because it’s so different for every person, depending on their past experiences and level of awareness.
Only we can figure out the how part for ourselves, just know that there’s a lot of help available and there are people who have dedicated their entire life to helping others on their journeys. It all starts with the intention to make this a way of life. That’s when the doors begin to appear, to a world you didn’t even know existed until you embarked on that inward journey.
Voice of doubt and attempted sabotage #6. Not because I don’t believe in what I’m writing, but because my lack of self belief is my biggest stumbling block. The sabotaging thought went something like this: ‘who am I to write about such topics, who’s going to read this, will they even understand or just think I’ve lost the plot, etc, etc’.
But it’s not going to derail me as I trust that posting this is the right thing to do. Even if it helps just one person see things differently and take that first step on their own journey, then my risk of public shaming was worth it.
In summary, I guess my message in this post is simple. We have a soul or an inner world that’s being starved in the modern world, and I’m encouraging you not to neglect yours like I did with mine. Don’t leave it all for one day, when the circumstances are perfect and the time is right, or wait for disease to hit you like an earthquake and crumble your perceived reality into a heap. Take one step on that inner journey on your terms, without waiting for the wake up call. Trust me, they’re usually not very pleasant.
But as someone who always struggled with the how part, I thought I should elaborate on this point rather than just finishing off on a feel good message of hope.
So here’s what I’ve learnt so far. Body, mind and spirit. All three are equally important. Neglect any one of these for too long and everything begins to crumble, allowing some type of disease to creep in.
The good news is, help is available in all three spheres. In my experience, the first two are much easier to nurture and there is a lot more help available. The third one has proven to be the most challenging, but that’s just my experience of it.
However, what I do know about that third one is that it involves breaking down preconceived ideas of what we expect it to look like.
This is the most personal one of all. But it begins with quietening down and trusting your insides which already know. I’m not one for cliches but its hard not to mention it when it rings so true. It’s already there - on the inside, the hard part seems to be removing all the layers we’ve piled on throughout our life. Layers we aren’t even aware of, hence why I believe the third one is the hardest one. But also the most rewarding.