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

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Easy Does It!

When I first got to recovery I was told not try to do everything at once. This was a process that would take time and I needed time to heal. There was a lot to learn and to assimilate into my life. I wanted to my life to change but I didn’t have to do the whole program at once: there was no schedule and no test at the end. “Easy Does It,” was often said at meetings. But really what I heard was ‘do it later’.

I have always fluctuated between going at full speed or full stop. ‘Get ‘er done!’  or ‘I’ll get it later.” As time went on, I gradually slipped more into putting things off, telling myself that things would look after themselves. I got lazy, I put it off. Tomorrow would be a better day to do it. I just don’t have the energy to do that now I would say and I would pass my spare time with little accomplished.

I have always had a tendency to procrastination, of letting things be and let the ship sail where the wind might blow. Of course I complained bitterly when I didn’t arrive where I wanted to go, but ‘whatcha gonna do?’ Life is like this I thought: a series of lousy crap and something nice once in a while.

I carried these beliefs into recovery with me. I thought that my life was over and I would never enjoy life again. I didn’t understand that I needed some action in life  in order to balance my inertia. I learned that not doing anything was really a decision to let happen to me whatever came along. I was abdicating my ability to make decisions about my life. Coming into the rooms was a first step in changing the direction of my life but I had to do the work. I might not be able to control the wind but I could still steer by adjusting my sails.

I need balance in my life. I still have to fight against procrastination. I know that when I’m not doing something I need to do it’s because I fear things not turning our as I want them, not turning out perfect, of me falling short of what should be done. I know it’s all traceable back to my ego and things not going my way. So I am learning to push forward and do what I fear. Do what is beyond my comfort zone. Do it because the results will be more to my liking than if it just happens on its own. At the same time, I don’t have to do it all at once. Slow and steady is fine. I need to put one foot ahead of the other.

Easy does it Tim, but ‘do’ it!