|Photo & quote: If you like me, you're an eclectic Facebook Page|
This particular quote and a recent conversation with a friend coalesced into today's post. I made a comment to this friend that there is never going to be a "perfect, ideal moment" to put a specific desire into action. This friend is experiencing some enforced limbo, due to outside factors beyond their control. The degree of limbo being enforced is one that could very well drag on indefinitely, and that was what prompted my comment about waiting for that "perfect, ideal moment". This friend can choose to take more control and continue to live a full life, or allow those outside forces to put their life into a lengthy limbo, or stall mode.
I've often called this thing that we humans do, the Disease of Waiting to Live. I'm guilty of it. I daresay most of us are. We hold ourselves back from fully living, fully experiencing, fully engaging....promising ourselves that when "this bill is paid off", or "when I finish this project at work", or "when the kids graduate", or "when I lose X amount of weight"....THEN we'll be able to step forward and LIVE. Does this sound familiar to you? Yep, it does to me as well. I spent a large amount of my life in that mindset and I still wrestle with it.
Let me share some truths:
- there will ALWAYS be another bill to replace the one you're using as an excuse
- there will ALWAYS be another project or challenge at work to focus on that you'll use as an excuse
- when your kids graduate from high school, they will most likely go on to college and you'll use THAT as the next excuse
- you will ALWAYS find something about your body you want to improve and you'll use that as an excuse
To a degree, there is logic and wisdom in waiting, preparing and having all the tools and experience you need prior to stepping forward in Life. What ends up being truly sad is when we continually grasp at brittle straws of distraction to keep from fully engaging in Life. What does a brittle straw do when we grasp it? It usually disintegrates in our hands, crumbling to fragments and dust, leaving us with empty hands. It may sound harsh, but this is a good analogy of what using excuses to not fully engage in life gives us.....dreams that eventually crumble to dust, leaving us with empty, lonely lives.
It takes bravery to step forward and truly engage in Life. I'm the first to admit that it can be scary and that I fall back on the easier, more lazy side of throwing out excuses. I do it less and less as I get older, and I find that when someone I'm connected to displays this habit in a manner that affects ME directly, I get a serious punch of a big, strong Life Lesson walloping me head on. This conversation I had recently gave me just such a wallop. The frustration of seeing clearly that this other person's decision to turn to easy excuses rather than take the risk of engaging was directly affecting ME in a negative manner was a big wakeup call.
In turn, I was faced with the decision of whether to give this person time to sort through their own immediate entanglements, or whether it served me better to separate myself from that relationship completely. In order to protect this other person's privacy, I am being a bit cryptic here. I haven't yet fully made my own decision on what action to take, but I do know that action MUST be taken. I have specific goals in mind for my life and taking on another person's limbo stage isn't something that makes any sort of logical sense for me. Being understanding and empathetic, and offering true support and friendship is a completely different issue, and I am there 100%. It is just as necessary for me to display that same support for myself as I wrestle with building solid boundaries that will enable me to maintain clear focus for my life path.
So! Here I am, looking at all sides of this situation. The analogy of the arrow being drawn back, preparatory to being shot forward....this is where I feel I am, currently. I'm okay with that, as I can see the logic of it, and I am being very clear about NOT falling into comfortable excuses to delay the release of that arrow. That clarity and conscious choice to stop getting in my own way requires some tough choices to be made, and I'm still in the process of making them. My heart wants one thing and can see the potential of something beautiful occurring. My mind wants that potential to be engaged upon and to STOP WASTING TIME!! To digress a moment, I happen to be what is known as "balanced brained", rather than right brain or left brain dominant, so this means I can see both sides of a given situation very clearly. That's a blog post all its own, but it's also another way that I can easily get bogged down in distractions and lose sight of the things that require immediate attention and equally immediate action. These days, I'm very much about engaging and taking action, so when someone else starts dragging their feet in a manner that affects me directly, it can become a big source of frustration. Frustration is the result of energy stalling and that's exactly what I am working to avoid and smooth out.
When I get frustrated, I have to be even more vigilant to keep myself from racing forward and making snap judgments that I might regret a few days later. It's one of those delicate balances and my mind goes right back to that arrow being drawn. Perfect balance is necessary in archery. Have you ever tried it? It is astonishing, the physical and mental strength necessary just to draw the arrow back in the structure of the bow, then hold that pose whilst focusing on the target. Your breathing must calm, your heart rate must calm, your mind must calm....myriad levels of quiet have to be achieved, all in order to direct the course of that arrow.
Just imagine if someone next to you reaches out and knocks your hands as you're in the midst of this focusing. Everything falls out of focus. You have to readjust, regroup, come back to calm and quiet and it usually takes a while to regain your original focus. That's where I am, currently, being jostled by other people here and there, as I work to focus on my personal aim. Other people don't necessarily mean to distract us, mind you, that's just part of the pattern of Life and how we interact. Our job is to stay true to ourselves and my word, that's just downright challenging on the best of days!
I know this much: I don't want to continue a negative cycle of Waiting to Live. I'm doing some admittedly difficult personal work to cut and erase some of my past negative habits that embraced that Waiting to Live mindset. And as is common, when we're ready to take that next step of personal evolution, God/Universe/Spirit usually hands us a hefty test to experience in the midst of it all. Then we are assailed with a boatload of doubts. Will I make the best choices and take the best actions?
What I have learned over my life is that there are no "wrong" decisions and choices. They're just decisions and choices and we do what we know at the time. My focus and my intent is to make the BEST choices and actions for myself that I'm capable of. That requires some reeling in of emotions, some conscious wrestling of Ego and some determined engaging in detachment. If you're like me, those actions can feel like trying to draw a delicate pen and ink sketch whilst wearing great big mittens five sizes too large for your hands. It's not comfortable at all. But it IS necessary, as all those things force me to breathe into calm, slow my heart rate to calm, bring my mind to calm....to achieve clarity about the best course for myself. I'm that arrow, waiting to be released, and I owe it to myself to put this much effort into the preparations.
And equally important, there is NO logic in an arrow being knocked, pulled back, aimed....and never released! Who wants to exist in an eternal state of limbo?! Well, "waiting to live" is a different flavor of that concept. I'm going to serve a much better purpose if I stop allowing other peoples' energies to overlap my own process....at least stop allowing their energies to distract me enough that I fall back into Waiting to Live mentality. At this moment in my life and my growth, I know I am capable of making choices and decisions that will serve my greater good. I have to be brave enough to take those steps....and I am aware that I still have a bit of a Grace period. I'm taking that extra moment, relaxing into the process, rather than fighting it. I'm doing my level best to ignore the distractions, refuse to give into the excuses and believe that my best choices are resonating in the right harmony for me to hit that target.
I shared the above quote on my Facebook page about a week ago and it appeared to hit a common chord for many, going by the number of comments I received. That's why I chose to sit down and write this post. Something tells me it is a topic, and a quote, that many of you will find applies to what you're currently experiencing. We're never truly alone, even though it often feels that way.
In my mind's eye, I see a huge, misty field with untold numbers of us standing in archer's pose....arrow knocked, bow drawn and each of us focusing on our respective target. Some of those around me have let loose their arrows to fly. Others are just stepping onto the field to choose an arrow. I'm still in the brief Grace period of arrow knocked and drawn back. I'm curious to know where each of you are...and I invite you to join me on the field. Perhaps the woods...those spaces of Waiting to Live...are comfortable and easier to inhabit, but the field isn't as imposing and scary as you might think. Step forward with me and leave Waiting to Live behind....but only when you're ready. As far as I can see, this misty field never goes away, and the archery tools are always available when each of us are ready to step forward and take aim. I'll see you there.