Stepping Out

Caution is natural, but fear is not. Do not give into fear, yet do not abandon caution. It is a balancing act. Caution is what causes you to look both ways before crossing the street. Fear is what keeps you frozen on the curb forever. You know the difference. You can feel it.          Neale Donald Walsch

I have wanted to write from a young age. I remember in my early twenties I wanted to write the great Canadian novel, be the next Mordecai Richler or Margaret Atwood. I did not and, therefore, am not. I made a few feeble attempts at writing over the years, but became involved in other things and pushed writing aside. Well over thirty years have passed and I am still standing on the side of the road looking longingly over to the other side.

I got my PhD in making up excuses. I can say the time isn’t right. I don’t have the time. I am waiting for the right inspiration or the muse to come to get me to write. Tomorrow I will start. And of course, I do nothing. And with the passing of years there is always another excuse for putting things off, to the point where it seems it was a youthful dream that was never to be fulfilled in the first place. Only it’s still there.

I am unmoved on one side of the street not because I am cautious but because I am fearful. I keep looking both ways and even if there is no traffic, I look again and don’t take the first step. What are those fears? Fear of failure, fear that I am not good enough, fear that people won’t like it or like me. There are so many fears that keep my from embarking on this journey including the fear that I may even be successful.

Over the past 18 months I have been pushing my fears aside and sharing myself, my thoughts and my feeling in this blog. It is a slow beginning but it is a step to crossing that road to the other side. This morning I sent out a submission of a short story I have been working on. Will it be accepted and published? I don’t know. I am coming to terms with my fears. I see fear as a bad habit that I want to overcome if I want to move forward.

I am learning to step forward in trust; trust in myself and my abilities. If blog writing has taught me anything it is that I do have a talent for putting words together that can touch people and that my experience and thoughts are those shared by many others. I don’t think that my life is by any means exemplary, I’m just another guy who is actively seeking my truth and looking for answers. And my answer this week is that I need to walk forward and cross the street.

I have committed myself to continue writing my blog for the next year. It helps to keep me grounded and working my recovery program. I believe in my own program of Search, Learn, Grow, Share and Repeat. I have a couple of creative writing projects to move forward on. Perhaps you have a few things that you are wishing to try but are have been standing at the side of the road for as many years as I have. We are not alone. I am beginning to cross the road. Why don’t we walk together.

automatic city control crossing

Photo by JESHOOTS.com on Pexels.com

I am Grateful, Thank-you

I remember being at meetings early in recovery and people said that they were grateful to be there, grateful for their disease, grateful that they got to be in recovery. I didn’t get it. I wanted to slap them up the side of the head to knock some sense into them. I sure couldn’t find anything to be grateful about! I had basically sentenced myself to a life of boredom and gloom. Yes, the party was over. But I really didn’t want it to stop.

Flash forward a year and my group asked me what I would like engraved on my first year medallion. Without hesitating, I said ‘Gratitude’. Now I was the face that some new guy wanted to slap. So what changed?

My attitude.

The process of going through the twelve steps of recovery changed me. I saw that everything in my past was just part of a larger puzzle that ended with me finding myself and resetting my personality to someone that I could look in the mirror and say that I liked. It was my disease that brought me to the point where I was finally able to learn some tough lessons about life. By doing the inventory and making amends, I now had a base; I knew who I was and could work from there. After all, when you hit bottom, things can only get better.

One of the best things that my sponsor shared with me is this:

“There is no room for resentment, anger or fear in a heart that is full of gratitude.”

If I live with gratitude I am out of myself. I see what has been done by others. I know that alone, I couldn’t have risen above that lowest sense of self where I found myself the morning before my first meeting. At first I was grateful that I could make it 24 hours without, then I was grateful that I could make it for 24 hours without thinking about it. Gradually I became grateful for what I still had and for what I was being given. Like the heart of the Grinch at Christmas, my sense of thankfulness grew to where I could say I am grateful that I have the disease of addiction because it has brought me to where i am today.

I speak gratitude daily. I write it in my journal. When I am feeling low, I make gratitude lists.  I even make them when I am feeling wonderful! I like going to gratitude meetings. I like to find things to be grateful for when I am alone and with friends. I do it because it really works for me. When my heart is in that place, the troubles I think I have vanish. My need to be ‘right’ doesn’t seem as important. And I know that tomorrow will work out fine because I can look in the mirror and see that in spite of everything I did in the past, I am still here, carefully looked over by my Higher Power.

To my friend from the USA and everyone, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving Day. Gratitude isn’t for the month of November or a single day; it is too wonderful for just a day. I give thanks everyday!  Gracias, Amén!

Mother's Day Bird Gratitude Twitter Luck Thank You

Mother’s Day Bird Gratitude Twitter Luck Thank You

Perseverance

The person standing on the mountain top did not get there by falling…Neale Donald Walsch

Getting to the top of the ladder of success involves actually climbing the ladder.  I can’t get where I want to go just by sitting down and watching Netflix or surfing Facebook.  I don’t know how many self-help books I have read, but there are many I never finished reading and even less that I applied to my life. I see that I am pretty good at starting, but my follow through leaves a lot to be desired. Buying a gym membership alone won’t get me into shape: I have to do the work to get the results.

A dream is just a dream unless it is followed up by action. How many people seeing a Jackson Pollock canvas say, “I could’ve done that!” And they could have, but they didn’t. I need to work my dream for it to become a reality.  How does an artist become an artist? By working at his art. Perhaps some of us are born with innate abilities.  Perhaps all of us are born with great abilities and we just haven’t discovered them or we are lacking in the confidence to develop them. The point is, if I don’t act, if I don’t move, I am not going anywhere. And yes, we do fall as we go up the mountain, but we can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start all over again!

To get to the top of the mountain is, as they say, 10% inspiration and 90% percent perspiration.  I have to keep telling myself this over and over again.  Why? Because I have this entitled belief that it should just fall into my hands and if it doesn’t, then I am not worthy of it. I don’t believe the Universe/God/Source works that way. I have to keep reminding myself that my faith in a Higher Power can move mountains, but it is up to me to bring a shovel and a wheelbarrow.

Falling as you go up the mountain of whatever you define as success is just part of the process of getting to where you want to be. But it doesn’t have to signal the end of the journey. I have to persevere and persist in my quest to get to where I want to go and keep faith that I will eventually get there. I need to do the work and give myself a kick when I don’t.

I want to be a writer so I have to write…a lot! The words don’t just magically appear on the page (or screen). I have to plan, organize and think through. There’s one workshop I took that basically said that everyone’s first book is crap, so write it and get it out of the way so you can move onto the next one. Those are really difficult words to digest to someone who is a perfectionist. But they are probably true. Yes, it may happen, there are prodigies in every field. I don’t count on me being one of them. I need to take action to move forward toward my goal.

Enjoy this cute Youtube video, and then get to it!  Diana Krall: Pick Yourself Up