How will you know that you’re ready to start? Once you’ve planned and perfected and plotted all your goals on a graph, like we’re so often encouraged to do. How will you know you’re ready?
It’s an important question, whatever change or dream or hope you might be facing. (And, life being what it is, it’s pretty rare not to be facing one of these sorts of things…)
So how will you know you’ve done enough preparing and perfecting of the plan - and when it’s time to just take the plunge?
Does the perfecting have a use-by date?
Or is it something you could get lost in the safety of and languish in forever if you wanted to?
Something comfortable, even?
Something that perhaps beguiles you with the promise of being able to predict and resolve almost any problem that may arise – before they appear, of course. (And in a universe of potentially infinite possibilities and permutations, is that even possible?)
I couldn’t help but smile when I walked past this building in my neighbourhood recently. There’s something beautifully absurd about a sign announcing “OFFICE” above a doorway that’s then been completely bricked-in. I wonder if they get much business…?
Yet what’s not so funny is how you might be doing this to yourself, to your life, at times. How you might be walling-off the very opportunities or happenings you’d like to take place. How you might be sending messages out there – to others, to yourself – that completely, unwittingly, contradict your dreams. And maybe even stop them from having a chance.
So let’s take a look behind the brickwork for a moment and see what’s going on…
Have you started some new ways of being lately?
Or stopped some old ones?
Some life choices.
Whatever you call them, they can be challenging to maintain sometimes. Harder, perhaps, to keep in place than it is to kick them off.
So maybe you’ve stopped “emotional eating” (or wanted to).
Or changed the rate at which you turn to certain substances for support.
Maybe you’ve started a more nourishing routine in your life (adding more exercise or creativity or relaxation or fun).
Or perhaps you’ve tried starting something like this a few times, only to “fail”. Started and then stopped again. Started and stopped.
When you’ve “fallen off the wagon” like this, whatever your wagon of choice, it can feel like you have to start right back from the very beginning. From scratch. That you have to “start from zero,” like in the photo, above. (Only this time, with a heavier heart and the taste of discouragement and “failure” in your mouth).
But is that actually true?
The cycle of change model thinks it isn’t.
Let’s have a closer look.
The first day of March has just ticked-over, and with it, another season has passed. And one more has begun. Only just the other day, I photographed this billboard about summer and already time has moved on to somewhere else. Shifted. Changed.
Maybe the seasons of our lives, shift this way, too – stealthily, silently, slowly and then all too quick. Unless perhaps we take a moment to really notice them and mark them in some way…to connect with where we’re at.
So what season of your life are you in just now?
And what kind of seasons are there anyway?
This sign in the photo is about the usual tar and asphalt kind of roads. But it reminded me of the metaphorical roads to recovery we all travel on as well, at times.
Sometimes life can take us to places of great desolation: grief, heartache, hopelessness, regret, loss. And sometimes the only proper response is to just dwell in those places for a while. To absorb the landscape. To sit in the solitude. To simply take stock of where you find yourself just now.
But, when it feels right to start the process of recovery, how can you find a path back to that? How can you make your way out of the pain and back to other parts of your life? How might you walk towards your future?
Let’s explore that together for a moment.
Wandering past this piece of street art the other day, I was drawn to the face and the detail of the design, and almost didn’t notice the writing:
It got me thinking…
Where to begin?
It’s a question that crops up at the start of many therapy sessions, at many phases of life, and it’s here, too, at the start of this blog.
In therapy, it can sometimes feel like you have to bring the ‘big stuff’ first, and set-off from there. To have a set plan or a problem to present to the therapist. Every single time.
But, intriguingly, it often turns out that no matter where the session starts, all roads seem to lead to the core of things anyway. So just starting anywhere, with anything, means already starting to walk that road to the core. It seems the beginning (of both the session and the solution) can often be hidden in the everyday moments, the small noticings, the tangents.
So what are you like with beginnings in your life?