Why I was fidgeting in 2015 and deluded about 2016!

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As everyone on the planet is doing today, I am about to offer my best wishes for a new and improved upgrade on 2015!

So was 2015 an upgrade on 2014?

For me, I really couldn’t say it was overall. Though it has had its moments of joy and defeat as every year does. The cycle of life often takes very elliptical turns and twists. We really cannot assume anything.

Yet, Hope does spring eternal and is always backed by good intentions and relevant effort for the most part. However, my challenge is always to manage that precariously fine balance of effort and expectation with gratitude and contentment.

Storm of Frankness

We just suffered a battering in the UK by Storm Frank that brought flooding and devastation to thousands of homes and livelihoods. Now, allow me to be frank as I too had my own little personal disruption. Unpleasant and yet refreshing, I now have a chance to tackle life with new vigour.

Let me admit it. I may have written a book on the subject. I may be the “Unravelling Frustration Guru” to some and I had a still deeper lesson into its cycles of intrusion coming. To me.

Yes, I still battle with this sucker.

To add context, I’ll explain that my rude awakening relates to my secret name Sought-After Dares. This identity was discovered through a defining moment upon reading Your Secret Name in 2011. You can download that story here.

Yet again, among the leftovers of Christmas, I was examining my persistent lack of breakthrough in life.

I was deeply challenged by my listening friend who actually suggested that even in my very deliberate and diligent efforts I was somewhat self-deluded.

Wham! That hurt!

(Who knows that wounds from a friend are invaluable, far more precious than kisses from an enemy?)

Why indeed do I, (and possibly you) work so hard, with so little breakthrough? In fact I encounter some disproportionate and unbelievable setbacks and U-turns. I suddenly flashed back: I was about seven years old, sent to my room as was common discipline after many childish mishaps. It broke my heart that for long hours no one came to me to resolve the situation.

No One Comes

So I realised a pattern, a glaringly obvious one.

I drive forward to a point in effort, or an investigation then I stop short of a breakthrough.

I eventually turn to prayer but do I really push in an invested way?

No!

The implementation or follow through on my dreams and desires is tantalising. Yet despite starting with vigour, I retreat because I have learned that “no one comes”.

It isn’t that I give up easily.

That’s what makes this insight so gut wrenching.

I strain, I strive and overwork without great results because I don’t first gain that definitive “Yes” in my spirit that is so hard to reach. So I go about doing it anyway.

In those days when I was banished to my room I used to have to entertain myself. I learned to be very self-sufficient and creative with the limited resources in my room.

So now, you see, when I get no breakthrough, I am setting about entertaining myself in busyness.

For a very purpose driven character, this is quite shocking to realise. I would never want to just “fill time”. However, somewhere I lost the balance between learning and acting.

This failure to thrive is costing me dearly. And so in transparency today, without self-pity or even wanting to disclose this stuff for the sake of it I ask,

“Can you and I be real this year, share burdens, hopes and dreams, cut the niceties and ask honestly How are  you doing and maybe how are you “not doing?”

Let’s think before we all send out our NYE greetings into crowded cyberspace. Before we casually wish everyone the best for 2016 with back slapping and tipsy hugs at midnight.

No fidgeting

Be such a friend that you will say the hard stuff and stand with one another through its aftermath?

Find a true friend, an accountability partner or group, and the fun takes care of itself.

A Truthful, Authentic New Year to you and yours!

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5 Insights from the Dawn Treaders (A rock climbing parable of progress)

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Two days ago a remarkable feat of courage and endurance was accomplished when Caldwell and Jorgeson scaled the last few inches of The Dawn Wall, the sheerest face of El Capitan in Yosemite National park.  It is arguably one of the most dangerous and testing smooth granite rock faces in the world.  Although not the first to succeed at this climb they were the first to do so using only safety harnesses.

In other words the only equipment that lent them any assistance was their stiff shoes.  The rest was down to muscle power and fingernails. Now my only experience of climbing was of a portable climbing wall at a community gala.  I was stretched out, stuck fast and straining every limb within minutes.

I’m happy to claim to have more perseverance in my life generally. Though this often means it is harder to know when, is “enough”. So I am fascinated by the equilibrium we all disturb when we swing in life from pain to payoff and back again.

How and when are we supposed to know what to stick at and to set down?

And once we have invested all our planning and focussing upon a unique goal and set out toward it in earnest, we feel this dilemma at a cellular level like nothing could have ever prepared us. Except perhaps, climbing El Capitan.

Since I saw the news report, five insights about persistence have clung to me like those rugged climbers on their rock-face.

1. Some rules cannot be broken 

There is a point at which testing for its own sake becomes foolhardy. These guys were testing their ability to use mental and physical agility to conquer a smooth rock. What would be the point in testing the impossibility of surviving a catastrophic fall.

2. Always factor in rest and healing

Excruciatingly shredded fingertips need special treatment if you continue to hang all your bodyweight upon them. The climbers simply had to wait for their tenderness to ease.

Overcoming overwhelming odds requires patience and a pace nature intended.

3. You can always reposition from where you left off 

Sometimes they lost their grip. The climb could be resumed after a slip or a sleep. They did not return to base every time this happened and thankfully for them, as in life, if we take stock; all progress is incremental.

4. Work with the prevailing conditions

We must study, interpret and leverage all that we find going for us! Even where we least expect it

Climbing during the night hours meant that the conditions were cooler, hand sweating lower and friction enhancing grip improved.

5. Adversity is relative.  Make the right comparisons

Periodically the couple slept in a suspended aluminium frame tent; screaming high altitude winds buffeting and chilling them.  Do you think they were preoccupied with the vulnerability of a mountain face as a campsite?  No! I am sure exquisite relief flooded their aching bodies by day 18 as they sank into the cramped sleeping quarters on that rock!  What will grow your ability to accommodate or even embrace certain discomfort this year?

The higher you climb, the further you might fall, perhaps the tenser the desire to finish.

Check these five points and continue to focus on staying with the challenge you face now rather than the last or the next one, the last or the next breakthrough.

As long as you stay harnessed, get back, cling on or rest again, which will it be?

If you enjoyed these thoughts I would be thrilled to have you join my book Launch party online on 29th Jan 2015

Here’s the link for your ticket registration http://ow.ly/GW1kO