CRAZY COMMITMENTS

9390288-Cartoon-astronaout-on-the-moon-with-an-American-flag-Stock-VectorThose Put-a-Man-on-the-Moon commitments sound insane at first. On a lesser scale I’ve launched myself into what seemed like Crazy Commitments, but given enough planning and support they have worked miraculously. I have noticed that the ones that are connected to my heart and are in my best interest seem to pull me along on their own momentum once I make the commitment—once I step up to the plate and start the process.

Committing to a life as a professional actress in my mid twenties with no connections and little experience was one of those. “Insane,” my mind said. But what a wonderful career I have had.

Buying a Roadtrek camper van and going around the US by myself at 73 years old was another one—especially as I knew nothing about camping or camper vans when I began. “Insane,” my mind said. But it was a healing, reviving, memorable three month adventure.

Going to Sarasota by myself last winter knowing no one and ending up buying a small villa was another. “Insane,” my mind said. But, I made fabulous friends and found a perfect place for me.

Now, it seems I may be launching into another CC. I came back to CT with every intention to sell the house. I was convinced that my life was over here. But as I went through a massive clean out and “staged” my house, something startling happened. It was as if some mysterious energy began replenishing the house and my life here. My friendships deepened and my workshops in August filled up. Strangely, the house has not sold, so as the months have passed, my heart gets louder. “Find a way to keep the house!” it whispers insistently in my ear.

So, to my utter astonishment, that is what I am doing! I’m researching reverse mortgages to buy out my ex-husband’s half. I am looking into refurnishing the large, private downstairs area to make it suitable for someone to share the house and my expenses.

“Wait a minute,” my mind says rudely awakening me at 3 am. “At your age and with your limited income, you’re going to buy another house having just bought one just months ago?!!!!!” I wake up sweating. “Truly insane,” my fear declares firmly and convincingly.

So in the morning I reread a quote from W. H. Murray that I often use in my workshops: There is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans; that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen events, meetings and material assistance which no one could have dreamed would have come their way.

And as I look back, that has been clearly true. There were many miracles once I took steps and kept moving forward. And, like getting the man to the moon, it took intense and careful planning. One doesn’t just launch oneself at the moon without a plan. Still, the paths to completion have been zig zaggy which required me to always be both committed and flexible by keeping my options open until the way was clear.

Nevertheless, each one brought up a lot of fear and stress. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon said, “Stress primarily comes from not taking action on something that you can have control over. I find as soon as I can identify it, and make the first phone call, or send off the first email, it dramatically reduces any stress that might come from it.”

Steve Jobs recommended meditation to handle stress. Here’s how I combine the two:

  1. I meditate and get present in the morning. That helps me to get clear about what little steps I can take that day (and I try to break it down into very little steps).
  2. I make some of those scary phone calls and write some of those scary emails.
  3. When I have done what I can do, I let go, turn it over to the Big Whatever and do something fun or relaxing. Sometimes I meditate again to clear my head.

That seems to work to keep me afloat in the river of energy that sweeps me along these CC’s. I’m scared a lot, and this may strike people as odd, but what brings up the wildest fear/excitement are the amazing miracles that show up to support my crazy commitments. And W. H. Murray is right. They have shown up.

So. Yeehaw! Here I go! That river current is sweeping me along. We’ll see what happens.

P.S. Because of all the upheaval, the next CREATIVE EXPLOSION workshop has been postponed until Saturday and Sunday October 3 & 4…go to www.TheFourPrinciples.com for more information.

ROW OR LET GO

Which action is appropriate in the situation you are facing?

Communicate.  Don’t communicate.
Do something.  Do nothing.
Get going.  Take a nap.
Start.  Stop.
Eat.  Don’t eat.
Pray.  Don’t pray.  (I know.  There are some people who think you should always be in prayer, but suppose you’re accepting an Academy Award.  Do you say, “Let us all join hands and bow our heads in prayer.”  Mmm.  Maybe not. )

Knowing when to do something and when NOT to do that thing is so case specific.  There really is no one rule to follow always.  Many times it is not clear at all and making a decision causes us worry and even panic.

I will never forget a hilarious monologue a student did once in class: she played her upper class British mother trying to decide whether to take some wheelies for her luggage as she prepared for a trip.  “Should I?  Shouldn’t I?”  She kept repeating worriedly in a lovely English accent.  We were falling on the floor laughing probably because we recognized how ridiculously upset we can all get about the smallest decision.

I find that if I Get Present, I will usually know the right action to take.  Getting into my “gut truth” and stopping my mind helps enormously.  So many times I think I should do something or not do something but I’m confusing myself with “shoulds” or guilt.

Sometimes I will consult a method of Divination—like the Runes (kinda like flipping a coin).  Amazingly, that seems to work too.  I draw two Runes (out of the 24 little stones with viking symbols) and ask, “What will happen if I do this?”  and “What will happen if I do that?’  The answer can be very clear forcing me to face a truth that I may not want to face.

Sometimes I will ask a friend’s advice. Fortunately, I have some wise, experienced friends.

It seems as if life is a mine field of decision-making.

Recently, I helped a friend put together a white wooden wall unit from Ikea.  Afterward, we sat together on her new Ikea futon admiring it.  She began fussing a bit about what exactly to put in all the 24 cubby holes.  “This is the kind of thing that is going to keep me awake all night,” she said frowning. I laughed.  (Hey, I don’t have to decide, do I?)

Of course, the size of the decisions we’re facing makes a difference, but the process is the same whether they are large or small ones.  Row?  Let go?

Why is choosing what action to take so difficult?   Fear.  Am I doing the right or the wrong thing?  Will I be hurt if I do this?  Will someone be mad at me if I do that?  Will I be judged?  Will this contribute or harm?  Will I feel better or worse?  So many questions around even the simplest decisions.  I have watched people torment themselves regarding decisions in the Row/Let Go category–arguing both sides ad infinitum until they are literally paralyzed.

Getting Present is so important.  How helpful it is to become conscious of the fear (and attached anger, sadness and guilt)–to feel it until you get to a calmer state when whether to Row or Let Go is clear.

Okay.  Shower now? Or after I meditate?  Eh. Where did I put those Runes?