Monday, January 08, 2007

No More Excuses (Pretty Please?)


All right, I confess... It gets me all hot and bothered when I try to help certain ailing people and immediately they recite from their Excuse List. Those lists usually sound like this:

"Oh no, I could never do that (helpful, freeing, life-changing) thing! I don't have enough money or time or energy or education. I don't live in the right house or neighborhood or town or Country. I'm too shy, too timid, too afraid. My husband/wife wouldn't like it, nor my friends, my children, my parents, my neighbors or anybody else. It would never work, never fly because, let's face it, I'm not that kind of person."

Blah blah blah....blah blah blah....blah blah blah.

One thing I've seen: People who have many excuses seldom have much of anything else.

Actually, Tom and I have fun catching one another at excuse-making. It's a Good Thing. We'll ask, "Is that your confession? That you'll never be able to _______?" Or we might say, "Well, if that's what you want to believe for, that you'll never become ____, I'll agree with you in prayer." Heh.

The times I've had the most trouble in my life were also the times I allowed my brain to become overwhelmed. I remember sitting on couches or porches or in cars thinking, "Things are just too out-of-control, too hard to change, so why try?" And the longer I allowed myself to think that way, the deeper the early grave I dug... a deep, dark place of paralyzed helplessness.

I was reminded of those years because a couple weeks ago Tom and I got the documentary, Grey Gardens, from Netflix. Oh my. What a sad (albeit fascinating) example of what happens when you do nothing about something you could have done something about. Grey Gardens isn't for everyone, but if you need a huge push out of Apathy Land, well, Big Edie and Little Edie just may be the ones to do the pushing.

I love starting small. I advocate starting small. An article from the book, Wishcraft, eons ago greatly helped me walk out of messes and into what I wanted, instead, all with little steps. You can even read this book online here.

Forget that 'all or nothing' stuff. If you want to become a painter, pick up a brush. Buy some paints. If you owe fifty emails, send one or two of them today, then try again tomorrow. If you want an awesome home library, buy one book at a time (they'll add up). If you want more friends, reach out to someone, even if he/she appears to have enough friends already.

If you want to become a writer, pick up a pen or sit at your computer--just start writing. Or get some books on writing from the library, but still, write. But the worst thing you can do is say, "Oh, I can't start writing until I take those college writing classes... and I can't take those classes until I make some money.... and I can't make some money until I find a job.... and I can't find a job until my kids are grown-up... and ..." Eeks! Now that's the kind of stuff that gets me all hot and bothered.

No, just do it. Just start small.

Today just start clearing one corner of that messy room or your office which is making you the most crazy. Just one corner. Or today just take a walk for exercise (instead of waiting till you can get down to the gym or till you can afford a gym membership or until you can find an exercise partner). If it's snowing outside, walk up and down your stairs. If you don't have stairs, step up and down a phone book or just walk in place or up and down your hall.

There comes a time to bury our excuses. Burn them. Blow them up and never voice them again. That is, if we ever want to fulfill some dreams or our purpose or if we just want to become healthy or help someone. We can have excuses or we can have a better life--but we can't have both.

I don't know about you, but it blows me away that Today I can begin walking to a whole better life just one step at a time.

But only if I destroy those excuses, leaving their shattered remains behind forever.

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