A few months ago I wrote about how futile it is sometimes to try and brute force our way to success. There is a difference between trying to force a square peg into a round hole, and carefully shaping the pegs to fit the right holes. This is the difference between waiting for things to fall into place, and taking active steps to move us closer to our goals.
I hear my friends talk sometimes about the sameness each passing day can bring. Having a routine is a good starting point. Go to bed at the same time each night. Get up at the same time each morning. Start the day off with breakfast and a coffee, or for me, reading the bible. Dance or sports practice at a regular time each week. Go to the gym, if that’s something that floats your boat. Write your blog, novels, stories, poetry, music, journal, for some part of each day. Block out time to rest, and spend time doing the things we enjoy that uplift us. But, if all we ever do is carry out our schedule we risk living life on autopilot and missing opportunity when it comes along.
This is a big theme I often write about. It is worth taking a risk on ourselves. It is worth spending time to learn more about ourselves. It is worth trying new things, succeeding sometimes, and learning good lessons when we fail. It is hard to give agency away to someone else, to something else, and be ok losing sometimes.
When learning a sport, a musical instrument, a new dance step, or any creative endeavour, particularly one we don’t know very well, it is exciting when we grasp the finer points of a skill within it. From there we can take one of several paths forward. We must celebrate having learned a potentially difficult thing! But after that, we can choose to use this one skill over and over again, honing it and practicing it. But, this has the possibility of limiting our progress. We can choose to learn a new skill and practice this alongside the one we are confident with. This can be helpful and disheartening. Helpful, because we can see the success each time we carry out the learned skill. Disheartening because the new skill might take more time or be more difficult to learn. Take heart, and continue trying new things. We will not master all of them but we can master the art of healthily desiring to try new things.
I used to struggle to enjoy cooking. It was a chore and took a lot of mental energy even when I was preparing food for others. Giving is something I feel called to do so can sometimes encourage me to try difficult new things. My cooking repertoire used to include only “meat and three veg” recipes. It was not very exciting. Expanding the ingredients I use and asking others for tips and tricks has increased the joy I get when preparing a meal. I now enjoy finding new recipes, particularly vegetarian ones, with the help of friends or Google, and seeing if I can alter them to suit the ingredients I have on hand at our flat. It is fun to share these meals with others, and seeing if they taste as they are supposed to!
Another thing I struggle to do well is dance competently. My brain understands the concept of knowing different dance steps, and how putting them together in a certain order makes sense, but I doubt I am physically able to do so in an aesthetically pleasing way. Thanks to good friends, plenty of invitations, and encouraging callers at various dances, they have become an enjoyable social outing. Hopefully I will have opportunity to build confidence and attend more dances in the near future. Some days I even get my dance steps out while walking around town listening to music. It’s a different kind of dance, bouncing up and down kerbs, but plenty enjoyable all the same.
With the right people, we can learn to enjoy things that in the past might have made us feel out of our depth. Do you know who these people are in your life at the moment?
Be good, keep good, and sleep good dear readers. Peace.