Listening

“Courage, dude. The hardest part is finding the courage to walk out the door. The rest is a cakewalk. Everything on the trail works itself out.”

— Overheard near the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, Mt. Katahdin, Maine.

What’s it gonna take? The perfect medium, the perfect notebook, the perfect pen, the perfect moment? What depths of despair about your job, your lifestyle, your inability to break free, break from, break up, will inspire you before you break down?

On which day will the churn of your discontent and the slow shriveling of your creative soul give you the ability to press the override button, to disable the practical, pragmatic voice that shuts down the whispering wind inside you that longs to be set free?

How about today? Is today good? Does a “Monday” work, or the first day of the month, or does the first day of a new year meet your criteria for the perfect day to start over, begin again, do it right this time, finally, forever?

And what does “it” look like? Is it a grand gesture, starting some exercise challenge, kicking your sugar addiction, writing your letter of resignation? Or is it simply opening the door? Not walking out the door into your grand adventure but just quietly, slowly, simply opening the door? Giving the whispering voice inside a breath of fresh air, taking a peek out beyond the doorframe, past the parking lot, up over the cell phone tower, into the imagined horizon, into possibility?

Maybe this the “it” you need to do first: To begin each day with the perspective of possibility instead of the dread of predictability.

Grand gestures are more invigorating, more energizing, more focussed, but perhaps they’re actually easier than doing what really needs to be done. Dramatic decisions and changes in lifestyle are more tangible, identifiable, easier to check off at the end of the day.

But the real work doesn’t involve setting a new personal record of mileage gained or reps completed or pounds lifted or lost. You’ve tried all those. They are good, grand even. But they don’t get you to the heart of the matter.

Because the real limits are not physical. Your limiting factors are in your head, the endless debates, the occasional arguments that are silent to those around you, and which silence you from within. It’s not the voices you hear that are the problem. It’s those whispers that you shush. Those suggestions out of the deep, deep blue (“now is the time,” “this is a perfect opportunity,” “you could start this very second”) which you turn your back on, ignore, discount, dismiss.

So here we are. No extravagant declarations. No purging of the kitchen cabinets or purchase of exercise equipment.

Just logging in to my account, selecting “New,” and writing. Opening the door. Welcoming those whispers from deep within. Giving those soft voices more air, deeper breaths, more reverence and respect.

Yes, it is possible. Everything is possible. There really and truly is nothing of value to lose. Just start by listening. Honoring. Try it your soul’s way and see what happens.

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