Yesterday we walked around the high fence that keeps the Eaters away from the Edibles, aka, us. When I arrived I was fearful of every step, especially when we saw the fence pulled up just high enough for an Eater to sneak inside. But, yesterday, walking beside my big African son, I enjoyed it. I had learned something over time, something I then had to take action over – that the Eaters are nocturnal and this is hot sunny daylight and I want to walk.
When I learn something new, about a place, about imagined danger, about a way forward, I have to take action. I can, no longer, shiver on the spot, because I have new information. Doing nothing with that new information is like stuffing a book back on the high library shelf and leaving it to gather dust. However, taking action is brave talk. For starters, I have no idea what to do with this information. I could discuss it with another, sounding hugely intelligent as I weave clever sentences together to form a thing that astoundeth, but that is just my way of avoiding doing anything myself. It seems to me that a new understanding should stay quietly within as it incubates. As days pass, hours and minutes, this incubation period will develop beyond itself showing me a way forward. Birthing is inevitable, with or without my attention. Just think on a baby borning. It would be quite a feat to ignore this particular result, and just a little ungrateful, not to mention noisy.
So, ok, I have this new information. I looked for it, let’s be clear, but now I have it, I would quite like to unlearn it. Trouble is, that isn’t an option, not for any peace of mind to be forthcoming, for it will haunt me, now that I know the damn thing. It might be new information but it most definitely relates to something I have let slip for too long. I was fine with said slippage for maybe years, and I still have no idea where or how to initiate change. A good part of me doesn’t want to anyway. Life was bumbling along, wasn’t it, before I found this new understanding? Well, no, it clearly wasn’t or I would be merrily bouncing along like Tigger by now, instead of wandering lost through the wasteland of my soul. In fact, all that angst and self-flagellation rises precisely because I am not living the way I really want to live. I don’t mean location, or circumstance, but right inside me.
So who the hell is me? Does anybody know? If so, please tell me so I can follow your instructions from now on. You will say I am all kinds of wonderful even if you observe me behaving in destructive ways, because that’s what we nice folk do for each other, thus letting me off my hook. That avenue, although a very reassuring and flower-lined one, is claptrap, in a word. In order for me to ‘get’ me and to make goodly changes, I am alone in my wasteland. And there are Eaters pushing up my fences.
Committing is a scary word. It makes me accountable. However, I have found that it is easy, and foolish, to decide on a 20 mile hike every morning at ten should I commit to a new fitness regime . I would start on Monday, all gung ho and lycra-ed up, adrenaline pumping and with half a grapefruit in my jelly belly. By Wednesday I would be sore and wheezing and by Friday disappointed in myself. Instead of planning it out with due consideration for my previous unfitness I thought I could get from A to Z without the other letters bothering me. So, now I’m even more of a failure. Might as well give up and sigh and pretend everything is fine by spending hard earned cash on bigger trousers. No-one will mind after all.
But I will.
It might be facing down an addiction. It might be squaring up to someone. It might be a whole load of other things, but, whatever it is that ‘bothers’, the way forward is daily practice, carefully considered and in tiny increments. And changing takes time. However, the great news is this. Once a person begins to head for Z, each letter becomes a helpmeet. From the A position, it is impossible to see that, and even harder to believe it. Admiring others who actually go to the shops in their lycra, have smiling faces, good skin, toned muscles, and thinking ‘It’s easy for her’, is both ridiculous and wrong. She also had to work hard to look and to feel so good. It’s the same with someone who has given up smoking or alcohol or chocolate for a long time and is finally free of an addiction. They had to work too, they felt the same fears, they failed and began again perhaps many times over, but they got there in the end. So can I. So can you. Daily practice is just what it says on the tin. Daily. Not now and then, not when I remember, not when it’s convenient, but Daily.
Why is that? Because, my friends, there are always Eaters pushing up our fences, and the biggest of them all is Giving Up. I have heard of a lion defeated because its intended prey fought back hard enough, and lived to see another day. It isn’t that we fail to succeed that matters. It’s that we give up trying. Sometimes it takes gargantuan effort to keep the faith as hyenas circle, but nobody who got to Z did so on a short internal flight. It takes daily commitment. Daily practice.
I’m up for it.