Friday, January 1, 2010

Deal with your Limitations, and Have a Happy New Year!

I was going to write some kind of inspirational piece of my own, about resolutions, steadfastness, courage, and self-belief, for this stimulating new decade, but I more or less try to do this throughout the year, either for my own or your benefit, so it seemed redundant. In fact, your own words in response to many of mine have helped me enormously, so here is a good place to thank you for spurring me on.

Instead of my usual blog, I'm quoting Delia Quigley this morning. She quickly gave me permission to reproduce her fine article on Limitations, which I read on Care2 yesterday. It moved me to examine my own feelings, and I thought you might enjoy it, too.

"The New Year is upon us and if you are a goal setting kind of person then you know that just saying you will make changes does not necessarily mean it will happen. There are all kinds of things that can get in the way of our good intentions, most of all our mental excuses. Change in life is inevitable; actually it is the only thing we can guarantee to happen other than dying. The question is, do you shape your life according to your dreams and desires or do you just let life happen, like a free fall through time, dreaming of what you shoulda, coulda, woulda done, if only?

Making resolutions, setting goals, and making commitments are easy to do, but it is the ability to see them through to completion that is difficult and tests our human nature. The fact that self-sacrifice is called for is what makes overcoming our limitations and manifesting our dreams so challenging. It requires that we give up our comforts, our fears, and our long-standing habits, even the ones that are painful or threaten our well being in some ways. At least we know what to expect from them, but stepping out into the unknown? Sheeze, now that’s a scary place.

Limitations are not always visible to the eye at first glance. They take some investigation, like hidden chambers or weak character flaws that need to be confronted and coaxed out into the light. They begin in our mind as thoughts and translate into actions that hold us back from achieving our potential. Instead we settle for a kind of uncomfortable mediocrity, knowing in our hearts that if I could just take that first step…

1. Identify your limitations.

This requires coming to know yourself by observing your thoughts with integrity and scrutiny. By watching your thoughts you begin to notice, say, a tendency to procrastinate, to judge yourself harshly, to belittle yourself or to ignore what is best for you. Sitting in meditation helps with this process, as does writing thoughts down in a journal for future reference.

2. Recognize your limitations.

Now the work begins, because you have to stay present to how that mental limitation can show up over and over again. In A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, Eckhart Tolle refers to these limitations as a negative state of thoughts that are easily overlooked, precisely because they are so common, so normal. You live with these negative thoughts without even knowing you are thinking them. Paying attention to what and how you are thinking allows you to counteract the thought or action before it can manifest.

3. Accept your limitations.

Rather than lash out in anger and do battle with yourself, accept that this is the person you have become, and these are the thoughts your ego has created as a means of survival. Think of the mind as a computer where your thoughts are made up of random input from past experience, images, conversations, instructions, and interactions. You must first accept whatever and whomever you have become in order to begin changing that person.

4. Honor your limitations.

This may be the most important task of the four steps and, for some, the most difficult. To honor life’s lessons introduces them as worthy opponents. If we are, as some say, spiritual beings having a human experience, then confronting our limitations should be done with the understanding that these challenges are what help us to grow beyond the ordinary and away from mediocrity. To honor these lessons is to take them on with a courage we may think is impossible, but is within each and everyone of us, just waiting to be called into action."
Delia Quigley is the Director of StillPoint Schoolhouse, where she teaches a holistic lifestyle based on her 28 years of study, experience and practice. She is the creator of the Body Rejuvenation Cleanse, Cooking the Basics, and Broken Bodies Yoga. Delia's credentials include author, holistic health counselor, natural foods chef, yoga instructor, energy therapist and public speaker. Follow Delia's blogs at  Body Rejuvenation Cleanse and Broken Bodies Yoga, and her website, Delia Quigley


I'm good at sticking at things, once I've decided what they are, but there are some I must do battle with, despite my determination. It's that mental negativity that comes in, and Delia understands that. Helpful in quitting smoking, there is an evil little character (used in a no-smoking product commercial) I use as a visual. He has form and substance to him, so that I can rant and rave when he appears, and it does work. With other things, deciding where I want to live, for instance, I allow negativity to creep in, because I've developed doubts about my own decision-making. When I consider returning to Oz, which I long to do, I find myself suddenly thinking of huge Huntsmen spiders! Well, that sure as heck doesn't help! I need to maintain a prettier representation - hibiscus blooming, the smell of eucalyptus, balmy (for me) winters, the company of family and friends.

Despite my resolve, when it comes to the idea of actually publishing my books, I've developed a new pessimism. What if my name becomes known, even a tiny bit? Will there be television interviews? Will the Walrus want to do a full page feature? All of this terrifies me! I need a warm, fuzzy view of success - able to support myself from my writing, living in a house I own and love, throwing impromptu get-togethers with other artists and writers. And, most importantly, lucky enough to protect both anonymity and peaceful locale from curious eyes. Of course - and here's that negativity again - the kind of fame I fear is unlikely to happen anyway, so why worry?


So I'm not writing out my list of things to achieve this decade. Writing them down doesn't guarantee anything. Instead I will quietly work on getting them right, honing them to things of beauty. One of them is facing the fact that I have a huge birthday this year. It's been depressing me somewhat, the idea of it. How can I, Fran Caldwell, be that old? My new resolve will be to joyously celebrate it. After all, the alternative to aging is pretty nasty. Let the battle begin!

So thanks, Delia, for opening my eyes. Of course, it's not really new to me, your philosophy. I just chose NOT to think about it.

Have a wonderful New Year, dear friends. You all work so hard, with few grumbles, really. I wish for you all what I wish for myself: to complete the finest work we hope for ourselves, have the best agent, and find a top publisher, all done with a modicum of privacy, unless you long for the limelight.

Remind yourself that you have one of the greatest gifts, with this abiity to write. Whatever happens in your life, you will always have that.

“I’d rather be a failure at something I enjoy than be a success at something I hate.” — George Burns

2 comments:

Embee said...

Thanks for the wonderful New Year wishes of agents and publishing, things I'm wishing for myself, and now reflecting that wish back to you!

sarahbeth purcell said...

Fran, you are an inspiration in so many ways. Here's hoping all those doubts turn into affirmations and realities and new opportunites at every pass! Happy New Year and New Decade!!! (LOVED the Elf Yourself!)