And then it all hit me.
I had to quit “No“.
I had given up all hope in understanding my plan and purpose. I was stuck in a mental rut and allowing myself to stay in it. I was scared and tired of being scared. So I became anxious. All I could do was think.
And think, I did.
Not enough of what would help.
Just how disappointed I was.
In mostly myself.
I stood in my garden with a rusty rake in my hand, knees buried in weeds, the sun beating down on my head, with the grandest idea I’d had in a long time, Start now. Forget why not.
For weeks I’d created every excuse not to start. I was afraid that, like so many times before, I would fail and I believed that I couldn’t handle one more failure, not in the least.
With the odds stacked against me, all I had were my dreams that would carry me over the summit of my fears, failures and forgotten dreams.
I was ready, whether I failed or succeeded. The victory would be in the finish and the process. For a long time, I decided not to decide. I’d cut myself in half and stowed my passions deep in the abyss of my mind. I’d failed and there was no forgiving that. In my mind.
Reclusiveness became my lifestyle. Any sign of challenge kept me behind doors. All I could do was ponder on recycled regrets. Just a vicious cycle of mental suicide that I was too embarrassed to seek out help to address.
God forbid, with all these amenities afforded a citizen of the “free” world, I should feel any tinge of sorrow. I should be grateful. I should be selfless, seeking no desires or placing no expectations on anything.
I can’t be human then…
But I did and I sought. And the guilt subsided because, as I came to learn, that fire that burned under my skin was my soul fighting. Me. For me.
I had something to celebrate. I was alive.
That I had desires, expectations, regrets, gratitude, compassion, anger, assertiveness, impatience, were all signs that I was still alive and kicking.
Kicking up dirt, literally and figuratively.
I was alive and I still had a mind that could operate beyond dark thoughts.
For the first time in a long time, I made a decision. A real decision. I could trust myself.
There was no hope for those weeds.
Lifting the rusted rake in the air, with all the power in my elbows, I drove its chipped, bleeding iron teeth into the ground, relieving the first bundle of weeds from the grips of the earth’s soil.
Kicking up dirt
The next blow, and the next blow, and the next blow, all the same,
I composed a rhythm with the air around me as it sang the echoes of my blows to the earth.
Birds flew and cawed, disturbed in their naps on the telephone wires.
As I relieved the earth of the weeds that buried its rich soil, I weeded the thoughts that crowded my mind with every dig of the rake.
Standing between where I was and where I wanted to be, I paused.
To my right lay an abundance of weeds, more like a forest of weeds, and to my left, bare, loose soil, glowing in the sun’s rays.
Would I gloat in the fact that I’d weeded half of the yard or keep pushing until the entire yard was done?
I decided I’d do both.
Kicking up dirt
With all the advances in technology, breeding a world of individuals seeking instant gratification, it’s virtually impossible to bask in the glory of the present. Especially when you’re ambitious, anxious, determined and experiencing challenges. I’ve learned in my experiences that there is wisdom to be gained in accepting your circumstances, if only to place them into perspective, not to define whom you are. I let the challenges I faced and the circumstances I experienced define whom I was, in my mind. Detoxifying your psyche of that mindset can be damning or self-defining. It’s all about celebrating the process and inviting progress.
Celebrating the process helps you keep a realistic set of expectations, or none at all, as you face your fear of failure and triumph over, most importantly, yourself. Inviting progress really happens when you are open and don’t have a fixed way of how you believe your plan should play out. For example, originally, I wanted to use a weed-wacker to remove the weeds from my yard. Heck, I even reached out to a handful of friends who would help. Rain, scheduling and lack of equipment stifled those plans. But not the plan.
That day in the yard, I saw my garden. There was nothing keeping me away from it but myself. I was open to taking a different route to the same destination. No weed-wacker, I was standing alone with a rusted rake in my hand, and hadn’t reached out to anyone that day. I invited progress by divorcing the idea that I had to make it a certain way. The weeds would be removed, just not by a weed-wacker. Progress was made, just in a different way than originally planned.
I leave you with the beginning of my journey, digging, kicking, stepping, climbing, my way over that summit in the horizon that we all see when we close our eyes and dream.