Monday, July 16, 2018

Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough

What is it that keeps you from moving forward, moving out, moving on, or moving up?  What is stopping you from moving into the person you're meant to be?  Moving to another country?  Moving away from toxic employment?  Moving toward your dreams?  Moving in synchronicity with the beating of your heart?  Move-ing (full stop)?

I suppose, for most of us it must come down to one of two reasons.
1. Fear
2. Physical impairment
(and possibly some mixture of the two).
As human beings go, I know we're pretty talented at cooking up any number of obstacles to any number of advancements we want, or need to make.  Once we strip away all of the stories we tell ourselves about what stands in our way, however, I think we really are only left with the two above choices.  And once that has been revealed we are exponentially closer to doing something about it ... I think this is when that whole, "...grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference," thing comes into play.

For me, personally, it's never been a matter of courage.  I don't like change simply because I don't like to be inconvenienced, but it's never been rooted in the nastiest of all four-letter-words:


I've never been one to have the sort of debilitating fear that can keep people from new experiences (not that these people lack courage, many courageous people have been crippled by fear before).  I've known anxiety from my body not working properly, and all of the insecurity  and feelings of instability that generates, I've had stage-fright, and the Monday morning blues when you have to go to school and confront your bully face-to-face.  But at my core throughout my life, I've never really cared what other people think of me, I've never experienced a single twinge of homesickness, and I'm not afraid of traveling alone because I'm a pretty resourceful girl, and always seem to land on my feet.  I've also found through gratitude (whether it's the practice of counting one's blessings, thanking lucky stars, etc.) it's actually difficult to have fear or live a fearful existence.

So, for the longest time, I thought I could never relate ... Yet, a caged animal is still a caged animal no matter the cage, right?  I can't help but think that the sense of entrapment has to be pretty universal.  Nonetheless, I always believe that ultimately everything is going to be okay, because it always is.  No, I haven't lived a charmed, spoiled, and protected life - it's just that even when my external circumstances were horrible it was always temporary, it never lasted, and it always got better (not without hard work, planning, and a little faith on my end) but even when I felt totally tapped out, something (I don't know if it was divine intervention, or what) always turned it around for the better.  Even when it's the death of a loved one, as hard as it is to let go, it's all part of the natural order of things, and I'd much rather miss someone everyday, than have them suffer another minute.  With time, and acceptance even the worst heartache can subside, at least a little, and I've always found that to be a small comfort.

For the things we actually can change ... Why don't we?  And, is there a common recipe for file-cakes?  

I'm what you might call an all-or-nothing type of girl.  I want exactly what I want, how I want it, or I'm perfectly happy to wait (no pout!), or go without until I can get it.  Apparently, this frustrates the living hell out of other people.  I swear I'm not spoiled, and here's why: I can't bear to settle, because having something close to, but not quite what I want actually makes me feel worse -- a deeper sadness, and sense of regret, and even loss -- than not having the thing at all.  I'm not greedy, and I don't hoard, but the things, and people I do have in my life are dearly loved, enjoyed, and appreciated to the fullest.  For that, I have no problem waiting my turn!

I've spent my life playing the long game, with my eyes on the whole picture, and while that does something for elevating the quality, it doesn't exactly feel conducive to progress in the meantime.  It's that lack of consistent and quantifiable forward motion that makes the animals pace in their cages.  So what's to be done about it?  What happens when your file is too small, or dull for the bars on your cage?  Quit?  What about the cages that have no bars?  Can we still adapt to solve the problem?

I've never been comfortable chalking up the human existence, or our experiences herein as illusory, and maybe that'll be the most crucial obstacle of my life; the ultimate lesson I have to learn.  Or not.  More often than not, I think there are very real things that we must overcome, unless the illusion part is the elaborate stories we tell ourselves that keep us from making moves, of course, then I do think that's a thing.  There is, however, a legitimacy to our material world.  You're either in a wheel chair or you're not.  You're either experiencing hyperemesis gravidarum during pregnancy or you're not.  You're either hearing impaired or you're not, et cetera.  No amount of pretending these things don't exist or affect your life is going to make the reality of it any different.  Calling it all an illusion, to me, erases people's physical actuality, and shortchanges their growth, and the wisdom that comes with it.

What makes the true difference in any of our lives will be all of the moves we make in order to cope with, and thrive in our immediate realities.  

This is why living day-by-day is so important, and if something isn't working for you, shirking the unease of trying something new in the moment is paramount.  Think on your feet (so to speak), and keep growing, and learning in all ways, both big and small.  Putting off necessary changes, and refusing to learn new methods is kind of like trying to use substances to make your problems disappear.  They're still going to be there when you sober up, but if you would've just dealt with them in the first place, now they'd be, well ... If not completely gone, possibly manageable, and definitely less problematic than they were when you first considered avoiding them.  Like my Ma always says, "You can start today, and be that much closer to being done with it, or you can wait six months, and whine about it some more (when you'd most likely already have been done with it).  So, you may as well start right now."

Maybe we were made with this much will for exactly this moment in our lives.  Maybe we had to experience a few things before we could fully grasp the empathy required when interacting with others.  Maybe life is preparing each one of us for a future we can't even fathom at this moment ... I know it's definitely surprised me once or twice before.  Maybe life won't look exactly the way any of us thought it would, but that doesn't mean we can't, or don't have it all.  Stephen Hawking's body could be considered a type of "cage" and yet, he lived a life with his head in the stars for decades.  His life was definitely no less remarkable than an able-bodied person, but the one thing he was constantly doing was moving, and that's not something every-body does.

What is one thing that can be done today in order to get a little closer to a life well-lived?

Do that.  I promise it will be worth it.