Halfway Up the Mountain

New Mexico landscape Nov 11 muse 8245747_sI have a list of big projects that I have every intention of getting to, but never seem to start. They aren’t things that can be done in a day or two, they are projects that will require a long-term focus and effort, and, frankly, I’m just too busy most of the time to get them in motion.

But recently I had some time that was not booked solid – my professional and personal calendars were pretty clear for the week, the non-profit I help administer didn’t have any pressing issues, and my house was straightened up. So, I had that coveted time I long for! It was the perfect opportunity to dive into a large project.

I decided to work on ways to make myself more visible to the public, as I want my messages about spirituality to reach more people. Recognizing social media as a great avenue for increased visibility, I half-jokingly told my husband one evening that I was going to take the next half hour or so to learn how to blog. Knowing my technological challenges, he just smiled and told me to go right ahead…

It didn’t take long for me to get discouraged. Within a short time, my ambition was faltering, my confidence lagging, and my self-esteem dropping. “It’s hopeless,” I thought. I sent a whiney email to a friend who is pretty savvy with the tech world and social media and she, trying to be helpful, encouraged me to freshen up my website, develop a blog, forget about Twitter, and tried to assure me that it wasn’t that hard…and so on. Though I appreciated her intent, I was losing power at the mere thought of it all!

I was in difficult territory – though willing to work hard to meet my goals, I needed technological skills and knowledge that I don’t have and am emphatically uncomfortable learning. Suddenly, instead of appreciating the open stretch of time I had to work on my project, I found myself wishing my day was full of appointments so I’d have the easy excuse of being ”too busy” to get into all of this! How convenient my busy life can be to help me avoid the hard things!

It dawned on me that I wasn’t only dealing with my technological handicap issues; I had gotten into the zone where feeling unsure and overwhelmed undermines me.

Confronting our stumbling blocks is no day at the beach! Moving out of our comfort zone is stimulating, exciting, and also challenging. Sometimes I think “challenging” is a code word for “painful,” so let’s just call it that! It can be painful and scary to push ourselves to do what’s hard. These hard spots can become the convenient roadblocks we then blame for not achieving – or even working on – our big goals. In my case, I could decide that learning something new on the computer was too hard, and remain unable to reach out to more people. And there you have it! I’ve “fixed it” so that I don’t have to grow. I stay the same – where it’s safe and comfortable, but not where I ultimately want to be.

This territory, the “Land of Overwhelmed and Undercharged,” is all too familiar, and I had determined that I would NOT linger there! After a deep breath, I began looking for some ways to get myself out of it. Three things helped me:

  1. I asked for help: There is a phrase from the Abraham teachings (channeled via Esther Hicks) that I repeat every day: “Your role is to utilize Energy. That is why you exist.” I just love the idea that asking for help, utilizing Source Energy is our role, our job in life. This opens up a lot of territory. I asked the Universe to help me shift. I also asked for help in human form, getting my “techy” friend to give me some computer coaching.
  2. I took action: I decided to go to an event sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce to meet other local business people. Even though I wasn’t feeling at the height of my ability to project myself well, the Chinese buffet sounded yummy and I knew that getting out of my house (and out of myself) would probably do me some good. Talking about my work can be a hard enough in the most sympathetic of company, and is even more of a challenge with the “suits” at the Chamber, but using this opportunity to practice talking about my work shifted my energy and supported my week’s intention to be more visible. Some new ways of describing the benefits of energy work came out in my conversation at the event, and I left feeling more confident in my ability to articulate what I offer.
  3. I did what I could do: While I balk at learning new procedures on the computer, I do like organizing things! So, I organized all of my past Muses and put them into a new folder on my desktop. This didn’t stretch my technological know-how, but it did use the skills I have to promote my week’s goal of working on my business practice.

All of these actions helped, and my energy shifted quickly to a more empowered place. Even small inroads into new territory bring satisfaction. Sometimes there’s just the satisfaction of having given it a try and making some headway, but that counts for a lot!

This realization came to me on a recent family trip to the Southwest, where I stepped out of my comfort zone in another way. At my suggestion (which still amazes me), we set out to climb up to Chimney Rock at painter Georgia O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. It was beautiful, but the climb was much more challenging (again, code word for painful) than the AAA book had made it sound, and I was definitely uncomfortable. The terrain was steep and rocky, the sky filling up with storm clouds. My suggestions (pleas?) to turn around were listened to but gently overridden. The others were determined to make it to the top.

At a certain point, my husband and I decided that we’d gone as far as we would go. But our adult children, Laura and Charlie, really wanted to keep climbing. Now I was pushing a different comfort zone – the parental zone where it was difficult to watch my children continue on without my husband or myself. Fortunately, all came out well, and even though I can’t say I climbed up all the way to Chimney Rock, I am pleased to have gotten as far as I did and to have been ok with my children going on alone.

The friend I’d emailed while in my whiney, powerless zone suggested I rename this uncomfortable place my learning zone. This is a brilliant reframe. We are usually kinder, more patient and supportive of others when they are learning something new, and we should be the same way with ourselves. As we learn, the satisfaction we feel is pleasing and empowering. But, we do have to get up out of the known and familiar to get there. It’s worth the climb. The view is amazing, even from half-way up the mountain.

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