Don’t Fear the Chaos Climax and Other Thoughts on Change

 Everything you tolerate drains your energy, makes you irritable, and wears you down. Talene Miedaner


Is this true? Is Talene correct? Does everything around you that you just “tolerate” drain you? Bring you down, and suck your energy?

I am talking about the little things. That broken door jamb. The light hanging from a cord in the ceiling in the bathroom.  Chipping paint on your front door.  Flat surfaces covered with piles of paper- some essential and some worthless. Does walking by these little annoyances as if they do not exist, or seeing them and wincing before moving on drain your motivation and deplete your resources?

I am going to say- yes.  YES! And it is a terrible catch 22.  The more little irritating annoyances around you the more drained, overwhelmed and paralyzed you feel- making it harder to get rid of them.

I started this blog SIX MONTHS AGO. I have not published a post in almost two months and not nearly enough has been done to reach my many other goals. Becoming Vivid has been moving much too slow. However, reflecting on my humbling (and embarrassing) standstill has illuminated a few things.

If you want to change:

Expect pain- or at the very least, expect serious discomfort and expect it to last longer than anticipated.   I made a pretty major life change in the past when I went from being a totally lackluster student in high school to an honor student in college.  I always told myself, “I could if I really wanted” and when I got to college the stakes were too high not to try.  My first year was painful.  I had to learn habits and skills I should have learned and maintained since fourth grade.  I thought my intelligence would carry me but my success came down to grit.  I had to make up for a lot of lost time. I had to just keep pushing. I had to avoid distractions and the comfort of my old patterns.  It hurt.  At one point, I felt like I had ropes all around me and I was rubbing against them to get out- or rather to stay inside the new constraints and demands I had put upon myself.  I felt very raw.  Until, I toughened up.

If I want to stay true- or rather really get down- to the business of this blog I need to accept that the next six months (at least) will be very uncomfortable physically and emotionally.  There is an element in our culture which suggests we should be aggressively happy all the time.  This is just BS.  Not only is not possible but I would venture it makes people lazy too.  Sometimes we really NEED to feel uncomfortable.  Sometimes comfort is a trap holding us back from a better future.

Expect things to appear worse before they get better.  The blank page is so perfect, so limitless, so clean, until you put your pen on it and mar it. Or how about moving? Anyone moving houses will tell you that there is a point in their packing process where the disorder and workload seems worse and more out of control than before they even touched anything.  Fearing the chaos climax will only keep you from a hurdle you really need to cross. (I am talking to myself of course.)

Expect every single little step to take longer than you estimate.  When you manage to get your task done in the time allotted you can give yourself a pat on the back.  You can even feel a little smug. However, remembering that things which seem simple from the outside are often a bit more tangled once you get into them can help prevent frustration and burnout.  Exercise is a good example of this.  Everyone wants the quick fix but it can take months to see results.

Do something every day.  Start somewhere every day- even if no immediate results seem imminent. This is the numero uno.  At some point you will turn a corner. I really believe this to be true. And I am going to prove it to you.

Becoming Vivid is both an internal and external process.  The initial excitement of starting a new project or committing to some form of self- improvement is great.  The time almost immediately after that- when the journey is still almost all up hill is difficult.  Once the rush of embracing your new vision wears off- you are left with work, much of it tedious.  Pushing on in the face of no apparent results can be challenging.

Right now, as a motivation, I am embracing the idea that if I continue to put one foot in front of the other into the darkness and chip away at these little annoyances I will also be chipping away at a metaphorical boulder resting on top of me.  Eventually, enough weight will be removed I will feel flooded with energy- free to soar.


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