I had an epiphany of sorts this evening while sifting through some of the thoughts and feelings that I’d been wrestling with over the past few weeks. The struggles weren’t new, they had just come to a head (again). This usually happens every winter. I hate cold weather and dead trees and always feel as though winter should be a time when humans hibernate too. Anyway, within that realm of reason and thought and sifting, an idea hit me. First of all, I know I’m not special. My issues are not unique. They may feel like the weight of the world to me as an individual but I know that there are those with the same and much more burdensome issues; however, finding the balance between a) acknowledging your feelings towards a certain issue and dealing with it and b) not allowing those feelings to encompass you and cut you off from the rest of the world is difficult, to say the least. The thought that occurred to me was that, all of my life I’ve been saying things like “I wish I could” and “I would love to one day” and “I’ll start tomorrow”, but for me, in particular, the one phrase that has held me as a prisoner far longer than any other thought is “I’ll start tomorrow”. Where did I get the idea that we “start” anything? Didn’t we “start” when we were born? I mean, really? Think about it. Nothing new has been done under the sun. Nothing. God’s witnessed every single triumph and failure and not one of them is unique. I think the idea here is that as hard as we want to think our individual lives are – everybody has “hard”. If you’re living on this planet you’ve been mistreated by someone, abused by someone, hurt by someone. You’ve failed. You’ve triumphed. You’ve fought. You’ve given up. So to say we can “start” anything is moot. We’re a species that IS. We’re a species that is in a state of BEING. We can only exist or not exist. So, if we only have this moment and you and I agree that, even though people toss around the phrase “stop living in the past” or “look ahead to the future”, it is IMPOSSIBLE for us to live in the past or future. We are now and if we exist now and we are BE-ings, I’ve got news for you – you’ve already STARTED! Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do NOW because as humans beings we CANNOT see tomorrow and that is why we fail when we depend on phrases like “I’ll start tomorrow”. It’s a cop out. A false sense of security. It means we’re not WILLING to be strong enough today. We don’t start, we are or we are not. We choose every day who we want to be and, yes, everyday our identity is a CHOICE. I’ve decided not to start tomorrow. That’s an impossibility anyway because 1. I’m not guaranteed tomorrow and, 2. I’m not doing anything new so therefore there’s no shiny, new “start” feeling. This is why my whole life I’ve been such a great starter of things but a horrible finisher – IF, in fact I finished at all! Because a “new beginning” feels hopeful and exciting but sooner or later new becomes routine and the “start” turns into something else, something more difficult…something you have to dig into and work for and continually apply yourself to attain and maintain – just like a healthy flourishing relationship. Case in point: If you want to change your life, make different choices than the ones you’ve been making. Live NOW with the full understanding that you can only manipulate what’s in front of you. This is why people set goals because we can’t zoom into the future to ready the way for our future selves, but we can create a road map to get us there. How many people would embark on a journey, adventure or even a walk in the park without some form of plan or idea of where you want to go? That’s life! Have a plan. Set goals. Don’t be a quitter. Don’t be simply a starter of better things. BE better. Now. Today. Don’t wait. The world needs your best you.
-Theresa Hoynes 1/22/16
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