I hope this finds you safe and well, and that you had a lovely Labor Day weekend! My partner and I did Boat Camping: The Sequel, and enjoyed many shady hikes, seal sightings, chili and breakfast tacos, and some Type 2 Fun wind + waves on the sail back.
On the way back (amidst licking salt spray off my sunglasses so I could wipe them clean and try to see, doing my best not to tumble overboard, and sucking in my breath at the dips and rolls of the boat) I thought of the saying "A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor," which is one of my favorites. Last week, the newsletter was about making choices and keeping promises to ourselves. For the last two weeks, I've been determined to keep a promise I made to myself: look in the mirror once EVERY DAY and say "I love you" to my own face, until I feel at least a glimmer of love and compassion towards myself.
Because we were camping, I didn't have any mirrors with me. I thought about just forgetting it. Writing the weekend off. I thought, "Who cares? It's just a few days. It's hard to do this task when you're out on the water and camping. Just skip it. It doesn't matter." (Which is partially true. Is my world going to fall apart because I missed one day out of two weeks? No.)
But what I realized when we were bouncing over those waves is this: hard things are hardest to do...when they're hard.
Like, duh, I know, but really, I'm still wrapping my head around this, and it's hurting my brain a little, so bear with me.
I keep thinking that because I've decided to make a change that it should come easily, that the hard part is done, that somehow because I've planned things to be a certain way, that they'll happen without much more effort on my part. That they should happen easily. "I'm going to tell myself I love myself in the mirror every day, cool cool no problem no problem." "I'm going to meditate for five minutes every day." "I'm going to stop thinking negative thoughts about my body." "I'll definitely check in with my life coach when I said I would."
Surprise for me: the action, not the intention, is when the choice actually happens.
What inevitably happens? The universe presents me with an opportunity or a unique situation in which to show up for that promise, and I don't want to do it, because it's work. It's another thing to fit in. Why should I have to do this? It's more fun to do something else. Whatever the excuse is, it boils down to it's hard and I don't wanna. (There might be some people in the world who are always ready to do the hard thing, but I'd argue that the thing that might be hard for them is saying no, setting boundaries, or resting.)
I let myself be my own enemy. I use the fact that the hard thing is hard as the rationale for why it can't be done. I let myself believe that because it's difficult to do or remember or sit with, then it's not meant to be. If it was supposed to change, or get done, or whatever, then it would be easy; but if we subscribe to that circuitous logic, we would never change, never grow, never evolve. It's like being a wee sailboat trapped in a whirlpool - swirling past the same spot over and over again because we convince ourselves that we don't have the capacity to escape.
If we've moved to the point of committing to something - whether that's remembering to water the garden, to stop saying cruel things about our bodies to ourselves, or to make a huge career change - we've already decided that it matters. We just aren't taking the steps to prove it to ourselves.
Hard things are hard.
My advice if you're stuck in one of these circuitous whirlpool spots (hello, welcome, help yourself to a margarita, the view is redundant but the seats are comfortable): start small. Start with one minute instead of five minutes. Start with one I love you. Start with one calendar reminder. Because those small things will turn into much, much bigger things, even more so than if we had just jumped straight to the big things. Telling myself I love myself has blossomed into the first inklings of knowing that I am capable of big things. Watering the garden reminds me that I can co-create joy and life. Leaving my former career to try something new created space for experimentation, art, and laughter.
You're not checking off the small things to GET to the bigger things. You can't summit the mountain without taking all the steps to get up there. But the small things ripple outwards, like waves, or sunshine; drawing our attention to what's possible, showing us the path out of the whirlpool, if we have the patience and persistence to follow it out.
More on this in my classes this week! See my schedule below.
Love and gratitude,