We look back in fear, ahead to worry, and skip through the now. We admonish ourselves for not doing something right, or paying too much for an item that performs poorly, or get sidelined by injury because we weren’t paying attention.
Which is worse: not finishing or not starting? I have a lot of unfinished work and so many ideas that my head is spinning like the possessed child in “The Exorcist.” My friend and fellow writer agrees: there are too many projects with lots of actions that happen to be labeled with both “Urgent” and “Important.” What to start on first?
“It’s okay, Mom,” said my 11 year-old who, sensing my irritability, patted me on the shoulder. “You’ll get this.”
Words of encouragement from my little sage. I forget about stopping. Breathe deeply. Stretch. Take a walk. Any of these simple things will clear out the head trash and clutter. When things get overwhelming, I often find myself drawn to a wooden bench in the park by the edge of the pond. Although it’s obscured by the tall summer grass, I know it’s there amidst the mating calls of fat bullfrogs and constant hum of crickets. I can give all my jumbled thoughts to it: confusion, sorrow, anger, guilt, doubt, and fear. The bench can take a beating. And I can leave my stuff and walk away.
I consider those around me who struggle in their lives. We all relapse at some point: falling off the diet wagon, drifting away from our New Year’s resolution, or ignoring the little steps we must take in achieving our goals. Flagging when the pressure is upon us, however, teaches us something invaluable, if we stop and take a moment to reflect upon the why. It’s part of the process of getting better. There’s nothing wrong with us. We’re not bad, and it’s okay to start again.
That’s the thing about work. It’s always there. You either finish it or you don’t. Or you decide that maybe it’s not worth doing it after all. The choices are there. It’s up to us to decide.
Start today because tomorrow is too late, yesterday is history, but today is a present.
Sometimes I get my inspiration from popular movies for kids, like “Kung Fu Panda” There’s almost always something worthwhile for grown-ups. Dwelling on the list of to-do items, past mistakes and missed opportunities can drag you down. When you look around in awareness, and give yourself over to the moment, and not take everything so seriously, you can find joy. Try it. And maybe you can start again today.