(day -5): remembering what matters

On facing difficulty, instead of resisting the life we have.

(day -5): remembering what matters
an uphill climb / Photo by Mihály Köles on Unsplash

The sleepless nights and restricted days continue as D remains unwell. Although his fever has subsided, his legs are strained, and he has been unable to walk ever since he woke up.

It's been a hard few days; I worry a lot when D is unwell as any parent would for their child, and being sleepless and homebound makes me grouchier than usual.

It occurred to me this morning that what we resist, persists.

Why am I so resistant to the fact that D woke up with a health problem today? Instead of settling down to help him, I began to catastrophize (What if this ends up being a lifelong health problem for him? or At this rate, I best not take part in the writing challenge) and blame (We should have had more help from family in looking after our child all these years).

I am sorry, D. Please forgive me.

It's funny, but had I not been hell-bent on trying to write daily in preparation for the challenge, I wouldn't even have seen the pattern I was in, the pattern of resisting my day-to-day reality and catastrophizing and/or blaming others for it.

The other timely nugget of wisdom I received today came from Big Life Journal. In this week's email, founder Alexandra talked about doing a worst-case scenario exercise when we find ourselves engaging in procrastination.

  1. As part of this exercise, we ask ourselves what the worst-case scenario of working on a project would be. For instance, what is the worst-case scenario of my participating in this writing challenge? Answer: I fail the challenge, and not meet the target wordcount.
  2. And then we ask ourselves, knowing that this worst-case scenario might happen, are we still willing to proceed? I hesitated to answer this one. My initial answer was 'No'.
  3. The last question to ask ourselves is this: 'If we do NOT work on this project, will we regret this later?' My answer to this question was a resounding 'Yes'. Of course, I'd regret not taking the chance to write my stories whenever I can.

I went back to the second question – Knowing that I might not meet the target wordcount and that I might fail the challenge, am I still willing to proceed? – to which I had answered 'No', and then I asked myself 'Why not?'

The answer was that I am not ready to accept failure, which means that instead of not taking on a project I might fail at, I better work on my mindset and capacity to handle failure and disappointment.

She explains this process in her latest podcast episode: How to stop procrastinating on your dream.

So no more dithering. I am signing up for the challenge. It will get me to the writing desk more often than otherwise. And I am determined to try it, and also accept that life will throw many things my way, and I don't have to try and overcome anything, I simply have to accept it.

Let difficulty transform you. And it will. In my experience, we just need help in learning how not to run away.
~ Pema Chödrön