Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Christmas Socks

I've been having difficulty keeping my commitment to writing. Part of the issue is I have a tendency to overthink things and part of my inaction stems from an odd sense of guilt I've cultivated over the years. A guilt that snares me and prevents me from moving forward.

Case in point, a foolhardy promise to knit my friends and family socks one Christmas. A promise that went unfulfilled for 3 years. After a while I found myself not wanting to knit anything, because all I could think about was those damn socks. It became paralysing for me. Sounds silly, doesn't it? But this fall, in an ongoing attempt to check things off my mental list, I buckled down. I resolved myself to do it and, even though 3 pairs arrived late, I completed 6 pairs of socks (which may not sound like much, but I can assure you it is). And the first thing I did was to make something for me! I was liberated from myself!

Since then, I have realised that this is a recurring pattern that encompasses small everyday things. Not returning an email or a phone call, not reading bookmarked articles or keeping up to date on a blog. All these small things build up and hold me down and prevent me from "doing". I become mired in the guilt, bogged down and unable to proceed.

In the midst of this revelation, I can see the pattern starting with the creative group I recently joined. There are a lot of members and a stream of notifications letting me know that so and so and 10 others posted in the group. My brain begins to tighten and I start to question myself.
"When will I find time to read all those posts? And comment appropriately? If I can't read all of them, I don't want to read any of them because that isn't fair to the others." Knowing full well that I am under no obligation (except my own self-imposed one) to read them all. So I don't read any and - "oh shit! there goes my phone again, letting me know that Jon and 13 others have posted in the group! How am I going to write anything and post it, expecting feedback, when I haven't read the others' contributions?"

See how I tie myself up? It's hard, but I know that this pattern has to change and I just have to keep working on it. Keep reminding myself of the Christmas socks and how free I felt to be finished. And with that I take another step forward.

It's simple to see that freedom, for every man and woman, lies in the mind's willingness to alter old habits.  First, though, the mind has to hear itself and change the conversation.  - don Miguel Ruiz

My little dog leaping into life! She inspires me to be so free.

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