Be a provenance of something gathered, a summation of previous intuitions,
let your vulnerabilities walking on the cracked sliding limestone be this time,
not a weakness, but a faculty for understanding what’s about to happen.”
~ David Whyte, excerpt from “The Seven Streams”
Every morning when I sit for meditation, get out my laptop to write, pack my swimming gear for the gym, or face a 16-ounce glass of fresh celery juice, it’s a Groundhog Day of Lizard Brain Battle.
I never feel like doing it. Ever.
It is a daily thought sanitation project to do the work, maintain the healthy habit or ritual, and recommit to my goals. Every damn day.
I’ve come to expect the torrent of whining and whimpering from my inner chatter and now am on high alert the minute my feet hit the floor. At that moment, the first opportunity to change my attachment/addiction to emotions that do not serve me presents itself.
It’s a critical moment of choice.
If I choose well, doing so launches a positive domino effect of momentum and more tiny wins. If I let the whiny thoughts have too much air time, I get more and more creative as to why I am just not doing “X” today—justifying hiding out, staying small, and leaning into self-sabotage.
It is easy to let the ego show you a movie of grand gestures required to accomplish grand goals. We can convince ourselves that we have to go from being a couch potato to scaling Everest in two weeks, or from having a case of writer’s block to 1,000 words each day.
This kind of grandiose, all or nothing thinking is just another snare set by our ego. We are oddly attracted to the ego’s mental bullying, believing that if our effort is not enormous and time-sensitive, we won’t accomplish our goals.
That thinking is deeply flawed.
Rather, it is the series of little steps, small increments of our activities over the distance, that compound over time and take us to where we want to go.
This powerful progress is rooted in consistency and the law of accumulation. While our ego demands dramatic, fast results, there’s magical alchemy that happens with suiting up and taking small action each day.
We are signaling to our brain that we are honoring a boundary we set for ourselves with love. Doing this each day builds a reservoir of good emotions, confidence, well being, and energy. It positively impacts our desire to reach for other goals, make other good decisions, and better choices.
We enjoy little deaths of the old, small self (and its accompanying small thinking) as we engage in recommitting to ourselves each day. David Whyte describes this provenance of becoming this way:
“Any serious path … any sincerity … will lead you through a lot of little deaths as you are actually becoming more alive in a greater definition of the sense. But many of the parts of yourself that are afraid of the world will not survive the encounter.”
Perhaps the biggest surprise to us, once we step onto the path of compounding action, is not only that beginning has magic in and of itself; but also that each time we show up, the smaller self is cast off from us like dead skin cells.
We are becoming the person who takes the action whether we feel like it or not. We show up. We persevere. We keep the sacred promises to ourselves.
And as our becoming further unfolds, we create brand new emotions, thinking, and realities as we embrace the world while standing in our infinite, innate power.