Reverb10. December 13.

Action. When it comes to aspirations, its not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step? (from Scott Belsky, author of Making Ideas Happen)

I am the antithesis of action. So much so that I couldn’t remember what today’s prompt was as I moved through my day. I recently put a much-loved idea on hold because I don’t have the emotional strength to get things done. There are dishes in the sink. I made a fried egg for dinner.

I keep writing and deleting this sentence. I am stuck.

I read this post by Karen Maezen Miller two weeks ago and it hit me like a 2×4 between the eyes. I have often compared being and doing, as though they are not only separate, but contradictory.  It came to mind tonight as I wallowed in self-pity before my meditation. I can’t get anything done. I’ll never get anything done. I can’t even grieve properly because I have to scramble an egg/kill an ant/beat myself up/write a blog post/worry that I will never get anything done.

It came to mind because I have to adjust my expectations and my interpretation of what counts as action. I have a list as long as my arm of everything I wanted to do tonight. I contemplated quitting Reverb10. There is an element – based in the well-intentioned and valuable idea of community building – that begins to feel to me like a popularity contest. I don’t have it in me to play the game and I struggle to stay in touch with the wonderful writers I have discovered so far.

As I sit here, writing and deleting, writing and deleting, watching the clock tick and knowing I need sleep more than anything else, I am tempted to give up. To hell with wanting to be somewhere else, do something else, be a better me. To hell with overt action of any kind. I wonder if I could do it. If I could trust myself enough to let it all go. Stop blogging for a week or a month and go to bed at 9 o’clock. Stop striving. Stop making to do lists. Stop feeling like I am never enough. Live in the moment and see what happens.

Am I making up excuses? Is my fear of failure success keeping my wings firmly clipped to my side? Maybe it’s time for another therapist, or coach, or housekeeper. I do know that as soon as I worry about how many people are reading me, or whether what I’m writing is good enough, my energy shifts and the words begin to come from my head rather than my heart. There are people who do that brilliantly. I am not one of them.

Back to the question then. What’s my next step? What do I really, really want?

It all comes back to ease. And to trust. If I can keep putting one foot in front of the other, trusting that the earth will be there to support me, trusting that my heart will lead me in the right direction, then maybe, just maybe, there will come a day when I will close my eyes to sleep and say to myself, That was a day well-lived. I did – and was – exactly enough.

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0 Responses to Action

  1. Marie says:

    Tears come to my eyes reading the last paragraph. Trusting that the earth will be there to support my feet. Wow, it can be that simple and I can find happiness in just that simple thing. Amazing. That means I don’t have to make super plans, to have ambition even? What a relief in a way… So simple. It can be so simple to be happy, truly happy… I almost feel guilty about not wanting enough though, hmmm. If I don’t want it enough and don’t work hard on it enough, can it still happen?
    Thanks for making me think Alana!

  2. Roos says:

    Every day you get up and keep on breathing is a day well lived. Trust that one fact and see where it leads you.

  3. Stereo says:

    It’s not often that I find such heartfelt and sincere writing on the the Web. Alana, because you were brave enough to write this, you’ve already taken action. And boy, am I glad you did, because now you’re stuck with me 🙂

  4. Bob D. says:

    This a stunningly honest and beautiful post. My heart (and head) connects with every word of it.

    “begins to feel to me like a popularity contest. I don’t have it in me to play the game and I struggle to stay in touch with the wonderful writers I have discovered so far.” – I’ve had this exact same thought. Almost word for word, I swear I heard this in my own head!

    I’m glad you didn’t quit Reverb 10, but whatever you do, I have a feeling it will be just fine. Exactly enough. Thanks for writing this. It’s already changed the way I’m thinking about this whole process. And going to bed at 9pm sounds great. Good night!

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