It feels like it has been forever since my last blog entry. 8 weeks and 62 calendar days to be exact. I doubt there was a single day that went by and I did not realize just how much time has lapsed since I did what makes my soul burst into life. There has been a palpable void I felt and sometimes exhibited. I felt stuck.
Creativity isn't the only thing that took a hit during the past two months. Self care was non-existent, there was little to no time or energy left for solitude, to love on myself, to pause and assess, reflect and strategize. Every resource was devoted to spearheading a mission to host, feed, entertain, converse with, transport, nurture and enjoy a headcount of 9 humans ( all 4 of our kids, my sister and her family of 4) under one roof.
Needless to say, throughout the summer, I battled with a range of demons old and new. It's funny how we can declare some chains as broken until life throws new challenges that put our progress through some hard tests and fore us to see the fact that there is more unchaining left to do. I reverted to some old habits of thinking which I knew served no purpose in alleviating the stress I was under. My perfectionism returned with vengeance , I was overwhelmed with a desire to make the summer flawless for everyone. I slaved for seamless execution of tasks in all the different roles I played, and failed miserably. Some days were great mom days and I neglected or overdrew from the wife account. On others I excelled as a sister and aunt while my kids experienced the parts of me stress pounded and frustration flooded.
In the midst of caring for others, I took the backseat and so did my soul's cravings. Solitude was luxury I couldn't afford. I went on to serve another day without fully recovering from the day before it.
After such a time, I had no doubt that I would seize the moment as soon as it arrived and hurry to reclaim a sense of normalcy. I would therefore afford time to do what I love, reflect on the challenges and highlight the lessons they ushered, invest in caring for me.
But there I was, two weeks after the end of a hectic summer, still battling an unseen demon. Inertia. Although I had ample time to spend creating content, journaling, reading or meditating, the state of doing none of the above felt more familiar, sucking me into a vortex of inactivity. I realized I had to do something to unstuck myself, that simply the lapse of time will not rearrange all thats been shaken out of recognition. I had to set out to defeat this natural force Inertia if the period of hibernation was to give way to that of blossoming.
What really is inertia in the first place?
When a car that was speeding comes to a sudden stop, people on board experience a rather uncomfortable jerking movement forward. In the same token, when a vehicle jumps into motion after being in a state of rest, passengers are powerless to counter the force that tends to lead them backwards into their seats. Thats what Physical laws regard as inertia.
It is a property of matter, Sir Newton noted, by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is challenged by a greater external force. A body at rest tends to remain at rest. One in motion tends to stay in motion. Inertia doesn't only work on Physical bodies. As we are phenomenons of energy as well as matter, we are subject to inertia in our psychology too. An important concept that explains our thoughts and habits and why it's easier to do nothing different or remain unchanged. This subconscious tendency has been at work in our lives since we were kids. Propelling us into life trajectories we mistakenly took as our choices but are nothing more than repetitions of behaviors and agreements modeled all around us. It is in the works what it comes to our habits.
It is the reason people keep doing the same thing they have been doing for years and years even with the awareness of something better being a possibility. What you do a lot of, you end up wanting to do even more of. What you don't often do, you struggle to introduce as the new norm. The comfort of the familiarity of a repeated habit keeps them from transforming their lives into new heights.
Can Inertia be conquered? Hell yes! But the deal is that in order to be conquered, there needs to be a force that is greater in magnitude, one that can counter and overcome it's resistance. If you have noticed, an unexpected and major occurrence happens to the the great force that effects change in many peoples lives. A loss of a loved one, or a job, a sudden decline in health, a divorce or another factor that challenges the sense of secure normalcy shakes open a person's life for change, defeating the forces of inertia as the person watches helplessly.
But does it have to always be that way?
Can you learn how to defeat the resistance of inertia and ease in to change? Can you stop depending on external inevitabilities to slam the breaks and cause your world to come to a screeching halt that leaves you drained? Can you proactively aid in cooperating with growth, leaning in to the forces of change so that the halt you face is rather the gradual and grinding kind, sparing you the dizzying confusion and debilitating depression, leaving you with enough grit to restart?
Answer is, again, hell yes! But how? How can you befriend inertia and make the natural tendency to resist change work in you favor? Here are an few points to remember...
1) Go back to the drawing board
Nothing works better than reminding yourself of what you already know when feeling stuck. For me, it's the fulfillment I feel at each full stop while writing, the grand joy I experience when I learn something new, the satisfaction I enjoy when I know I have helped someone see their challenges differently. It's easy to forget the initial 'why's' and lose sight of what fuels us when we are constantly striving to be better. You have to resurrect the belief you had in yourself and your intentions to keep you going. Deep under your self doubt and fear lies the truth that you have what it takes to overcome the halt. Reclaim the truth that you deserve to thrive and live in accordance to your purpose.
2) Recognize the resistance
Every change begins with the awareness that there is a need for it. You don't need a book or a podcast to tell you what changes you must make and what resistance you are hanging tight to in order to avoid action. It really is as simple as being honest with yourself. Signs are everywhere. Your instincts never fail to let you know when you have outgrown a job, when someone in your life needs to be shown the door, when a situation is dead, when your world view is no longer serving you. Laser focusing on your tendency to do nothing about the things you know you must do something about is a crucial step forward.
3) Let it go, let it go
Ruminating on what you could've, would've and should've done is an utter waste of your existence in each moment you are sacrificing to those thoughts. Things and people in your past could be a valid reason to explain your stuck status but they will never be the reason you unstuck yourself to move forward. Attachment to your reasons leaves little to no room for freedom. You must watch the stories you tell yourself and how you reason out to explain why you remain where you are. Leave the past where it belongs, only taking with you the eperience you have gained because of it.
4) Tis the reason for the seasons
Your journey in life is made up of many sections. You are always beginning, commencing, slowing down and stoping before you restart again. Nothing is ever a steady, straight line, predictable cruise lane. Some season you are slowly going up against an incline, in others you endure a stumbling fall to a decline. You must learn to usher in whichever phase awaits next, understand that it has a purpose you may not figure out right away.
5) Microhabits and Macropatience
Resistance is a learned behavior. You have trained your brain that there is a reward to doing nothing. No challenge, no delayed gratification, no discomfort of new and foreign. So it will cling to what it has known to give it pleasure. Now, your soul comprehends better. It knows things called purpose, fulfillment and delayed rewards. The process of shifting from one brain to the other requires a great deal of learning, and unlearning.
Making small yet sustained changes in your day is what will get you to that shift. Not a reading spree, a journaling sprint or x amount of days on a miracle diet.
Keep effecting the small daily changes regardless of a palpable victory. Your before and after collage may be loading but it won't be ready tomorrow. Your masterpiece creation will take time.That promotion will not come a month after you land your dream job. Not only time but a lot of learning, practicing and mastering. Don't fight with the seasoned and gradual process of becoming but rather yield to it.
Constant growth is not only possible but a law of life. Leave no lesson unlearned through each ascent, descent or plateau, remain awake for all of it.