Lessons From This Week, Volume 1
I’m in the midst of writing a book and it’s proving to be quite the undertaking.
Not that I thought it would be easy. Hell no. I just didn’t realize how overwhelmed I would feel when I started to write it.
The process is providing a powerful lesson in staying present.
All the in-the-future tasks required to make this book a reality have been doing some serious loitering as I search for the right words to fill the pages. Suffice it to say, my mind has been wandering a lot.
What does this teach me? That I need to focus on staying in the moment.
Some days I’m better at it than others. At times my inability to focus feels like a curse. I experience moments, sometimes days, and even weeks when my brain is firing off so many thoughts I don’t even feel safe being behind the wheel of the car.
Meditation helps. It realigns me with my purpose. So does eating the right foods (Glucose from fruit = great for ADD type symptoms.)
And so does logic. I know the power in considering options for the future, like, “What’s the cover going to look like?” and “Who should I hire to edit this thing?” but logic affirms that busying myself with tasks beyond writing the actual book isn’t a top priority right now.
I also know what drives the barrage of thoughts that pull me from the task of writing: my sub-conscious, trying to keep me safe from making an ass of myself.
I do feel a bit freaked out about the whole book-writing process, but I also feel serenely secure in the realization that this is what I’m meant to do.
Of course, I’d like to live in the serenely secure zone more often. Fearing failure sucks the joy out of things, something we all experience to a certain degree or another.
There’s a subconsciously driven aspect to all of us that makes a job of trying to convince us to not do what will catapult us into a realm of ourselves we’ve never known.
Here are the big questions that freak our freakin’ freak, whether we realize it or not:
Who would we be if we did the work we needed to do to accomplish our goals?What would happen to us?
No one knows, and that scares the shit out of us. That fear then entices us to busy ourselves with things that won’t help us do what we need to do to accomplish what we want to accomplish.
Mark Nepo is a poet and the author of a beautiful book, called The Book of Awakening (check out this post from my resource section to learn more about it.)
He speaks about pain in a way that resonates deeply with me, and it relates just as well to fear: Our life contains pain, not the other way around. That is, our pain does not contain us; our life contains pain.
I look at fear the same way: It’s something that comes about in our lives on occasion but it’s not meant to be the dictator of our everyday existence.
Fear has a proven talent for messing with our ability to be calm, generous, and connected to each other. It takes from us; it depletes us. Therefore, it’s not qualified to be the director, star, or producer of our lives.
And besides, there are plenty of other feelings to feel other than fear. From what I know about myself, and from what I witness in the actions and words of the people close to me, we give fear way too fucking much of our time and energy.
Consider who we can be without it: In the absence of fear, I am calm, generous, and accepting of others. I am no longer at war with the world or myself.
Without fear I can say, “I can handle it,” and I do. I pick up my pen or laptop and focus on writing a book, the contents of which might be able to help others.
So the lesson this week is to stop giving fear so much damn attention; To stop letting it contain us.
We do that by focusing on what we’re doing right now, in the moment. If thoughts about yesterday, tomorrow, or next month come up, we reroute our focus back to right now. And then we do it over, and over, and over again.
It’s not glamorous; It’s not profound or exciting. It’s not the easy way out, or the quick fix to happiness we relentlessly search for, yet never find.
It takes work and commitment but there’s nothing quite as lovely as being unburdened by the drain of relentless thinking by focusing on the present moment.
The peace of mind, body, and soul that comes when you focus on what you’re doing, even if it’s something you perceive to be simple, like making a plate of food for yourself or your loved ones, is undeniable.
You deserve to feel that, and so do I.
Which is why I’m making a commitment to stepping into now, with both 2 feet when it comes to writing this book and living my life moving forward.
I’m going to use the observation of the now to keep fear from directing my life. And I know it won’t be easy — that some days I might fail miserably.
But I’m going to keep working on being present, rerouting my wandering mind, and no longer letting fear contain me. And I hope you’ll consider doing the same. ❤️
(Fun Fact: This post was originally one of my bi-weekly newsletters.)