Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Week 4, Day 3 — If Not Now, When?

I know I'm not supposed to be reading blogs or news feed items, but out of force of habit, I found myself reading a post over lunch before I had a chance to catch myself.  I must be honest, I broke the rules and spent most of the day on Twitter, but I've at least managed to avoid Facebook, TV and unnecessary email.

Anyway, the article I read resonated with one of the tasks on this week's list:
Look at one situation in your life that you feel you should change but haven't yet.  What is the payoff for you in staying stuck?
The article I'm referring to is today's Tiny Buddha contribution by Laura Fenamore.  In it, she talks about being overwhelmed with feelings of desperation for years as she tried and failed to implement change in her life, until one day at a conference a speaker asked the question "If not now, when?" which triggered an intense emotional response in her.

The truth is I have several situations in my life that I've been putting off dealing with for a long time.  I am terribly guilty of not dealing with stuff — a shameful admission as it kicks against my work as a life coach.  Learning to practice what I preach should be high on my list of things I should be implementing!

I've spent some time tonight writing in my journal about a few of the situations in my life at present.  None of them are new.  Some of them I've been putting up with since 2005, others since 2008; one I've been dealing with on and off since 1999!  All the time I was writing I had those words in my head from earlier in the day:  if not now, when?

When am I going to deal with these things?  The one consistency I spot between the various situations is financial; I am ruled, by and large, by my fear of money and the burden of debt I have inherited.  Without getting sidetracked or into too much detail, I'm keen to point out that I didn't run this debt up myself; I lost a large sum of money when the property market crashed, and the problem was exacerbated by my partner breaking our engagement.  I'm trapped by circumstance, and realistically it could last for up to five years.  What is the payoff for me in staying stuck?  Absolutely nothing.  I already find myself deeply unhappy, maudlin about things I feel I have no control over.  Take, for example, my elation at being accepted to study a Masters degree in Creative Writing.  It was my ideal degree.  It was part time, I didn't have to give up work to do it.  But I couldn't take up the place this month as the bank refused me any further assistance, and the various places I applied to for help with funding turned me down.  Completing my degree is high on the list of things I want to achieve; it's an immediate priority that could add value to my work and help steer my career.  Yet again one of my dreams has been denied because of money.  It's why I can't move house.  It's why I can't study.  It's why I couldn't go to drama school.  It's why I can't change jobs or take risks with projects.  Money holds me back.  I feel trapped.

If not now, when?

I get terrified when I think about life marching on regardless.  What if I find out in 10 years time that right now is when I was in my prime, and I let it pass me by?  What if I lose my singing voice and have to give up performing?  What if my writing hits a wall and nobody wants to commission me?  What if things never happen for me because I was consistently afraid of money?  I've analysed this fear, and I know where it comes from:  it was instilled in me by my parents.  It's an old-fashioned mindset I'm going to have to work hard to correct, because I have ambitions that have to be realised.  Things might not all happen at once, but every day I should be doing something that takes me another step closer.

I appreciate I haven't really answered any questions in this post.  It may be no more than a rant about my situation rather than an attempt to analyse it.  The truth is I've worked on these situations already in a coaching capacity but still haven't taken the right action to resolve them.  My Artist's Way journey feels different, though.  I agreed to share my experiences here, and by making them known I deny myself the opportunity to sweep them back under the carpet again.  The time to tackle things is now.  I might not have a magic wand, I'm probably not going to win the lottery (though it would certainly solve a lot of problems if I did) — what I do have is a resourceful mind and a goal in sight.  Surely that's got to get me somewhere?

Writing today dragged up a lot of negative energy.  To counterbalance it, I'd like to share one of my positive affirmations:-

I work hard, I'm honest, and I've never missed a payment in my life.


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