"Give up on yourself. Begin taking action now, while being neurotic or imperfect, or a procrastinator or unhealthy or lazy or any other label by which you inaccurately describe yourself. Go ahead and be the best imperfect person you can be and get started on those things you want to accomplish before you die."
- Shoma Morita, M.D.
I'm a serial quitter. Somewhere in my deep, dark past I must have decided that in order to survive I must quit. Obviously this served me in some way, as a child. But as I grew up and certainly as I look back on my adult life, this decision has done nothing but keep me in survival mode. Not living, surviving. Day to day. Surviving was the only 'purpose' I had. I wasn't living to live an adventurous and compassionate and MEANINGFUL life; I was living to get through the day with the minimal effort, and any goals put in place by the small, hopeful voice that WANTED to live fully, was met by the most furious resistance. I ate down that little voice that wanted to feel, wanted to be strong, and wanted to live with purpose. Procrastination was my middle name.
Any changes to my ways of thinking, deep seated habits, routines, and eating behaviours are often met with anxiety, frustration or resentment. Why? I can't answer this question for anyone else but I can articulate some of the experiences I have had.
Mostly I feel the symptoms of anxiety, and a resistance to 'effort' that I tend to experience as a sudden onset of weariness (true!). The weariness thing is part real (I don't sleep well) and part learned behaviour (like Pavlov's dogs). The anxiety thing is partly facing a new thing and part (and we all tend to forget this and be kind to ourselves) not KNOWING this new skill and needing patience while practising it. It doesn't come easy. I am an expert in waiting til everything is perfect BEFORE I start making my life perfect. Ha! No wonder life never moves forward. Stasis has been not helping me survive, but killing me.
In the past when I have tried to break through this wall (e.g. dieting/running/career moves) I have done it with force, with white knuckles. I soon ran out of energy and will. I would quit.
All that I'd 'rather' be doing is nothing - going nowhere, sleep in bed, play computer, wait out the day. Day by day by day. I have such a strong attachment to it, yet at the end of the day I'd cry into my pity-party pillow with regret at not living enough, not loving enough. Instead of helping me survive, this old behaviour has turned into a Saboteur - a feisty, nasty, wounded thing that is ready for a major brawl to keep it's place as driver of my sleepy, chug-a-long bus.
I'm learning not to quit. I'm learning that I'm not the know-it-all I think I am, and that other people's advice (insert Sparkpeople) may even help me strengthen the small quiet voice inside me and help me reach that place that I want to be.
I'm learning that this is a hard journey and I can't get through it intellectually. I have to apply it - with changes, with aches and pains and setbacks. My goal can't be reached without ACTION and nobody else on this planet can do it for me.
*******But most of all I am learning that the force of will that I require has less to do with brute strength-holding-on-to-my-goal
, but with breath, a simple letting go of my attachment to whatever ELSE it is I'd RATHER be doing.********
(and one day I won't actually be rather doing anything than live daily with vibrance and purpose)
My Saboteur, my Quitter can't fight something that's not willing to fight back. I'm learning to walk away and into a new and full and purpose-filled life. I am saying no to the fight and yes to the next step, with dignity.
I don't have to fight, I only have to refuse to give in.
“It's very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not
to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is
against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.”