Struggling with the Obvious

Imagine yourself in front of a pool. It’s one of those hot and humid days where the sole idea of putting on clothes to go out makes you even sweatier.

You’re so close to the pool yet you can’t jump in. The water is too cold and you’re too hot.

It sounds like the silliest thing but I’m sure I can’t be the only one to have had that problem.

The “I want to jump in the pool but I can’t” dilemma.

I’m not the best swimmer as you can imagine.

I always envied those people who just went in the water. Head first. They didn’t even know a dilemma existed.

I don’t know if those same people live life head-first, acting on impulse, starting projects and jumping out of planes but I bet they are.

So much of our dilemmas are the “jump in the pool” kind or as I like to call it; “struggling with the obvious”.

People want to lose weight and be healthy but they don’t want to eat fruits and vegetables, let alone exercise.

People want to stop smoking, yet they buy cigarettes.

I struggle with the obvious a lot. 

I want this and that, I know what I have to do. But, I just don’t do it.

It’s scary to face the cold water when you’ve been hot and sweaty for a long time.

It’s the same for all our dilemmas. The longer we contemplate the pool we have to jump into, the scarier it becomes.

Our long lived dreams, those we have held dear for years keep us warm, way too warm. It’s nice to hold on to them. It’s uncomfortable but we know where we stand, just like we know how it feels to be sweating next to a pool.

But we can’t stand the heat forever.

Whether we jump in head first or dip a toe in the cold water, we have to at some point.

You may not be the best swimmer but at least you’ll be cool.

Do you struggle with the obvious?

January 1st, the famous day where everyone that struggles with the obvious decides to do the obvious is coming soon.

What are you going to do about it?

I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments!

 

*Photo Credit: B B flickr Creative Commons 2.0

Duck Duck Goose

I used to play that game a lot last summer. It’s a kids’ favorite.

Duck. Duck. Duck. Duck. Goose.

You know how the game goes.

One of their little girl friends came over one time to play. She was quiet and reserved. She reminded me of myself as a child.

I never wanted to be the goose. I could tell she didn’t want to either.

Now, as an adult I was the goose most of the time. The kids loved seeing me run around.

Snow has made its apparition in Montreal a few days ago. I walk in the streets with my old coat insulated with down feathers. I bought it 5 years ago. In my other life. It feels that way at least. I don’t have money for a new coat so I still wear it.

This summer, we sat by the pond, the kids and I. The little duck families minding their own lives and for a moment, sharing it with us, was a delight.

I sat there alone too from time to time. Gooses and ducks lived together in harmony on that little artificial lake. No chasing each other like in the games we humans play.

A curious (or hungry) male duck approached me on one of those occasions. I watched quietly as he made his way towards me.

By the way, I know that animals are to be referred as “it” in proper grammar but it won’t happen on this blog. I care about proper morals not grammar. 

As he came closer and closer to me, I thought how beautiful the moment was.

You will never see a trust as pure. I can guarantee you.

These days, it’s nice to be reminded that I was worthy of trust. That we are all worthy of it.

Even though I wear cruelty everyday and I see others wear it too.

I don’t know why but we are.

I don’t know why we can be worthy of being a part of a duck’s life on those summer days, even for a fleeting moment.

But we are.

Winter chills me to the bone, even more so when I feel warm.

Those summer days playing duck, duck, goose are long gone.

I see it now, duck or goose, you don’t want to be either.

 

 

*Photo Credit: Dana Kee flickr Creative Commons 2.0

Why You Should Stop Planning and Start Practicing

Yesterday I wrote about coming home from those vacations we take away from our dreams.

You and I may be ready to stop escaping from our goals and dreams but we don’t know where to start.

The answer is both simple and laughable.

We have to start a practice.

Now, I know that a practice is usually something that only professionals have. Professionals and yogis.

I’m neither a doctor or a yogi and I have no interest in pursuing either of those paths but they are doing something right.

Something that we can all take a lesson from.

They practice. Not only that but they have practice.

One of the reason that lead us astray and away from our dreams is that we forget all about the importance of practicing.

I know I do.

Dreams are flimsy things. They lack structure and we never know when a monster will appear to tear us apart.

Trying to go after our dreams and goals in our daily lives is very much the same. Only swap the monsters for car trouble and sickness. Sometimes we create our own monsters too. A bored mind, a fearful unconfident disposition and up we go. It’s not a pretty escape.

It’s not always easy or possible to come up with a plan.

Let’s be honest. Sometimes we just don’t want to. 

Plans are scary. Once they’re made, we actually have to follow through. Otherwise we’ve failed at yet another thing.

I’m personally a big plan maker.

A big plan doer?

Not so much.

But there is one thing that I can do well, practice. It must be a remnant from my gymnastics days. I could fall down and get up a hundred times because I was only practicing.

Turns out, lessons from gym class apply to most things in life. (Who would have thought?)

Here are the three main reasons why I’m ditching my addiction to planning in favor of establishing a practice.

Number 1. I don’t like deadlines.

I’m a rebel at heart serial procrastinator.

If I set myself a time to finish anything, it’s not going to happen.

I don’t listen to orders. Especially from myself.

I can tell myself that I have to finish this post before going to bed but I know that the stronger I chastise myself about it, the less likely it’ll actually happen.

However, if I tell myself that I’m only working on building a writing practice, I can manage it.

Which brings me to my number 2.

I hate to suck.

I’ve told myself that this post sucks at least a dozen times (that’s only counting today). In my dreams, I only write perfectly coherent uplifting inspirational pieces.

This here, is reality.

I’m practicing writing my ideas out and trying to make sense come out on the page.

If I had planned to write a 500 words post about setting up a practice, I definitely would never have finished this post.

We all have expectations about our work. We want to be intelligent, witty and wise. All at the same time nonetheless. 

By expecting myself to be everything, I can’t be anything.

Number 3. Practicing is for everyone.

Not everyone can be multimillionaires or famous. Not everyone can write a best-seller. Or play the violin very well.

However, we can all get closer to the things we really want if only we would stop making them the end all be all.

Everyone is imperfect, but we can all do something everyday. We can all practice something.

After all, “practice makes perfect”.

What is your practice? Are you more of a planner or a doer?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

 

*Photo Credit: Terri-Jane flickr Creative Commons 2.0

Dream Vacation

 November 21st. Montreal’s first snowfall.

Today thus marks the beginning of our collective daydreaming about our next vacation. I mean unless you’re one of those people who loves winter. (I’m not joking, I’ve heard of them)

Even though, I wouldn’t be opposed to jet-setting to somewhere tropical right now, I’ve actually been on a dream vacation for the past few months.

Let me explain.

No, I wasn’t on some luxury resort.

I took a vacation from my dream. From all of my dreams actually.

Obviously it wasn’t the best vacation. I’m ready to “come home” so to speak.

Although some people do get to escape from the dreaded cold to enjoy dream vacations in the tropics, I know that most of us do not.

However, I’m not alone on the “taking a vacation from your dreams” front.

We all have dreams, some big and some small. You may have a big dream. Let’s say, becoming a Broadway star. Or, many big dreams; learning to play the violin, writing a best-seller, starting a business.

If you are like me, you have a mixture of both.

If you are like me, you pretend to forget about them because you get sick and you don’t have the energy. You didn’t sleep well last night. You’re too stressed out to focus on anything.

You pretend to forget because, life. Life gets in the way of life. Life happens.

Life. Period.

The difference between taking a dream vacation and taking a vacation from your dream(s) is in the escape.

If you are one of those lucky people leaving for Mexico or Florida as soon as an inch of snow touches the asphalt on your street, it is more than likely that your escape was planned. 

We never plan on escaping from our dream. From quitting the project or practice that we hold so dear.

One escape is desired, the other is not?

It would seem like it is so.

Of course, we all want our dreams to come true.

However we let ourselves escape them so easily. I let myself escape. 

The here and now, this dread of going to work for yet another day. This worry about money. The sniffle that seems to have appeared out of nowhere as soon as the snow touched the ground.

It’s awful, it’s annoying. But it’s also the greatest escape of all.

This life of yours, with it’s worries and troubles, that’s the vacation you didn’t even know you were taking.

I don’t want to vacation bathed in my worries, under the sun of my troubles anymore.

As the snow falls yet again, as another winter of your life is coming to pass, please come home from your vacation.

You may be dreaming of the tropics as you step over the grey polluted half melted puddles of snow but your dreams will be there to hold you up.

If only you come home.

Forget the tropics, escaping your dreams will only lead you to your very own Island of despair.

What kind of vacation are you going on this winter?

*Picture credit: Selamat Made flickr Creative Commons 2.0