Thursday, 1 May 2014

How to do anything at all

I wonder if you're like me and look at some of the incredible achievements of other people...and wonder how they ever found time or energy to do what they've done. I do it all the time and sometimes I let it kind of get me down. I feel like I'm somehow not measuring up or not doing all I could be doing...or not doing anything significant like other people are. I have a mental list of things I'd still like to do in my life. I'm not going to share them. This is not about being accountable or sharing my dreams. It's just taking a little time to think about how other people have done what I might love to do but think I am not able to do. What sorts of barriers do I face when I look at my dreams off in the far distance? What barriers do you face between where you are now and where your dream stands...does it look like you can get to it? Or are there fences in the way? 

Some of the barriers I acknowledge in my life are age, finances, physical health, self-belief, pleasing others (or trying to!!), commitment to work, family, time...What does your list look like I wonder? It's not that I am blaming anything or anyone for not getting to those dreams in a hurry...but this is the life I have created for myself...or allowed for myself. So here I am now. What can I do to make sure I get the warm, fuzzy glow of knowing I went for something that seemed out of reach, but I got it...or got there? The answer of course is simple. The answer is movement. The answer is knowing roughly (or specifically, better still) what one of those dreams or goals is, and then starting to move towards it. Now it might be such a tiny movement to start with that you can hardly see or feel it...but you will know that you've made it. That one tiny movement will give you courage for the next. 

I have to acknowledge that there are some things I can do nothing my age. But age is only a number and you only have to look around to see that age is not defining unless you allow it to be. I remember well the sight of a table laden with philosophy text books when visiting an elderly family member in a nursing home years ago. She had enrolled at university and had niggled at the staff until they provided her with a place to work on her studies in the day room. She was in her eighties. I watched a video recently of a woman in her eighties dancing salsa in a competition. She was just fabulous! Old age doesn't stop you from doing something if you really want to do it. Did the woman just get out of her chair and slip into her sequins and start flinging herself about on the stage? Not likely. I expect she began with a seed of an idea...that she'd like to learn to dance the salsa. She may never have dreamed of performing but no doubt her love for the dance led her to greater heights than she might have dreamed. I don't know. I'm just wondering about it all. The one thing I'm certain about though, is that she had to have a thought, an idea, a spark of interest that motivated her to get out of her chair, out of her house, and into a dance class. It had to start somewhere.

I find I often look at the finished product of someone's hard work and commitment and think..."I could never do that." How about you? Do you do that too? I have learned now to stop and think about it a bit more. Could I learn to dance the salsa? I probably could. Not even probably! Yes, I could learn to dance the salsa. How would I start? First I'd have to pay attention to the thought and decide it was something I was going to do. Not something I'd like to do but that I was going to do. I'd have to do a bit of research next, either talking to friends or getting on the internet and find out where I'd have to go to get some dance classes. If there weren't any within reach I could look at what lessons I might be able to find online. I'm sure there must be some there somewhere...

Likewise with finances. Almost everything we do these days seems to cost...but most of us can probably re-organise how we spend our money to create a saving space. I know I could do more in that area. Somehow the money just goes and I find myself living from pay to pay. Admittedly I've not been working full time for the past few years (I am this year!) and that made things pretty tight...but if I decided to save for a purpose, I'm sure I could do it. It's amazing how the cents that get frittered away on this and that can add up. Yesterday I bought some candles and a few more drinking glasses for my home. I love candles and they give me so much pleasure...but if I was committed to a goal of saving for a trip overseas or whatever it might be that I dream of...I might choose to forgo some of those simple pleasures and see the money mounting in my piggy bank instead. This is good. I'm starting to feel inspired. I hope you might be too. I am happy enough with my life...but I know I'd get a buzz out of ticking one or two of those dreams off my mental list. 

Time. We never have enough time. But guess and I have exactly the same amount of time as any other person on the planet. And we get to decide how to spend it. That's where the rubber hits the road folks. How much time do I 'waste' in a day? A week? A month? A year? What do I consider wasted time? When working towards a ideal life...whatever it is I'm aiming for...I guess energy and time spent taking away from that goal is wasted. I guess that would go for money too. I'd need to be conscious and make decisions along the way...I'd need to be asking myself, "Is this moving me towards my goal?" What do you need to do to move towards your dreams?

I truly believe that many perceived barriers will move aside once you start. If they won't move then you will climb over them or walk around...most times a journey worth taking is not one that travels in a straight line! I'm pretty sure the sky's the limit with our dreams. When you see people celebrating their achievements don't think you could never do something like that. Yes you could if you wanted to. If you make the decision to do it. If you write it down or make a strong mental image of it. If you break it down into steps. If you figure out what you'd need to do to start moving. You can't begin with the last step up onto the podium of success. You must begin with the first tiny step of self-belief...of knowing that you can do it. 

Now okay, I have to look at the fact that not every journey begun ends up at the original goal or with the dream realised. Life's a contrary mistress and one we all must live with. Sometimes things don't work out the way we want them to...but dreams can be adjusted and embellished and even changed completely along the way. The point is though, that in acknowledge yourself as worthy of having a dream. You acknowledge that this wonderful gift of life has given you the opportunity to do something extra-ordinary. Something more that you've been doing up until now...or something different. Trust that you will have an adventure...that you will learn something new along the way...and that makes the first step worth taking. Trust that you will have challenges that will make you stronger and fun greater than you thought possible. 

Trust yourself. Begin. Be inspired by others. Be inspired by the things you've already achieved in life. Be inspired by what you could do or be by taking one tiny step at a time. Day by day, week by week. Let me know what you've decided to aim for if you dare! I'd love to know what your dreams are...however big or small. All are worthy of your time and effort. With love, Kerry.

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