Tuesday, November 18, 2014

One word...

As my faithful (cherished) readers know, each year for the past seven, I have chosen a single word as a form of new year resolution. It is a practice that I read about on another blog, and I love doing it. I have often said that my word chooses me, through weird coincidences, and this year is no different. 

My word for 2014 was LOVE. (From 2008 to present: Health. Wealth. Believe. Authentic. Power. Discipline. Love.)

I started a new job in January, in the middle of a snowstorm, taking the city bus (for the first and last time) and no word less reflected how I was feeling than love. I hated the job, the commute, and the parking (none), for starters. I hated myself. I went from a place where I knew everything to knowing nothing. I hated my boyfriend -- not really, but he had recently retired, and I would wallow in self-pity every time I thought of him at home while I trudged through snow and ice from my distant parking garage into work. I felt like the life I had loved was stolen from me, and replaced with a poor imitation. And then I felt bad for feeling bad, because I knew that I was incredibly fortunate. So it took most of 2014 for me to feel the love– but as usual, my word has seen me through. I can even say that I love my job now, most days.

So this year’s word has been on my mind because of a particular quality that I want to change:

I am a quitter. It’s true. When the going gets tough, or hell, not even tough, just slightly annoying, I quit. It’s usually at the point where I have mastered the basics and might actually have to work hard and fail a few times before I get to the next level. Or, because it becomes easy, it gets boring. And I have noticed that when I listen to successful people that I admire talk about their lives, (I am often referring to artists here), their talents, as great as they may be, are probably secondary to their PERSISTENCE when it comes to how they achieved great success.

And then, as though she had crawled into my brain, this post by writer Elizabeth Gilbert just landed in my Facebook feed after I had written that paragraph…

Somebody asked me the other day if writing was easy for me…I hesitated with my answer…I have never wanted my work to be easy; I just want it to be interesting (for me)…

Meditation teacher Pema Chodron once said that the biggest problem she sees with people’s meditation practice is that they quit just when things start to get interesting. Which is to say, they quit as soon as things aren’t easy anymore. As soon as it gets painful or boring or agitating. So they miss the good part – the part when you push past the difficulty into some raw and new and unexplored universe within yourself.

And maybe it’s like that with every single important aspect of our lives. Whatever it is you are pursuing, whatever it is you are seeking – be careful not to quit too soon. Don’t quit the moment it stops being easy, OK? Because that moment? If you stay in it and then stubbornly push past your fear and resistance? That is the moment where interesting begins. 

So there it is. 

PERSISTENCE.  (def: Firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.)