Acting On Inspiration

red kite

I watched season 2 of The Carrie Diaries yesterday after devouring season 1 a few weeks ago. A coming of age story for a group of high school friends from Castlebury, Connecticut in the mid 80s, it is a prequel to the Sex and the City television series and based on Candace Bushnell’s book of the same name.

What I most enjoyed about watching the show, perhaps even more than catching the warm and fuzzies from the theme of strong friendship or drooling over the GORGEOUS Austin Butler, was observing Carrie’s determinedness to go for her dreams of becoming a writer and to make her way in the city that has always electrified her. Like Carrie, New York City, in all its dizzying chaos and harsh extremes (rich, poor, overcrowded, intimate, uplifting, depressing), has dazzled me from a young age. Seeing her coming into her own, navigating her way from sheltered suburban kid to bold, street-smart young woman who wants what she wants badly enough to risk embarrassment and failure struck a chord with me. Carrie, just 17, was mature for her age, as I have always been. She has always seen herself doing big things in life, just as I have. I grew more and more inspired to work on my goals with each passing episode.

The thing is, it’s easy to say you’re going to commit to making things happen for yourself, changing what you know needs to change, and going for the life you feel you want and deserve while basking in the touching, beautifully blinding light of inspiration. A centering vacation, revelatory spiritual retreat, enlightening personal development book, or powerful sermon, for example, can fill us up with hope and excitement about our futures that often brings us to tears.  These moments remind us of the non-jaded, unafraid little kid inside who had big dreams that not only seemed possible, but certain. We’re rejuvenated and filled with fire…all from the comfort of our couch, a gorgeous beach, or cozy place of worship.

But what happens once we get off the plane, when we finish the book, when the sermon is through, or in my case, when the show is over? Continue reading

Channeling Overwhelming Excitement When Beginning New Endeavors

starting line

My passionate nature is one of the things I like most about myself. When I’m interested in something, I soak it up like a sponge, studying it to death, reading about it, tweeting about it, listening to it, talking to people about it, dreaming about it, etc. etc. etc. I love this fire in me.

The only downside is how much it really DOES feel like a FIRE in me. When I care about something wholeheartedly, when something excites the heck out of me and ignites my soul, when I have a project I’m working on that really speaks to me, this feeling of dizzy, overpowering joy punches me right in the gut. My throat and chest tense up, my heart races, and the butterflies in my stomach are something RIDICULOUS, often bringing on a lovely case of nausea.

While I’m psyched about whatever it is I want to embark upon, I get overwhelmed by determining where to start, how to build and maintain a routine to make progress, who the right people to talk to are, and how to balance this project with my fulltime job, errands, personal development routines, and having at least a tiny morsel of a social life so that I do not become a hermit.

I know that much of this stems from perfectionist thinking of mine that things must be done a certain way, in a certain order, at a certain time. This can be paralyzing due to fear of making the “wrong” move. So instead of making progress, I end up researching the hell out of something only to burn out and end up more confused due to the various (often conflicting) sources of information out there. This can leave me feeling defeated and deflated before I’ve even done anything! Research is good, but if you don’t jump in and just do SOMETHING after a certain point, you’re not getting anywhere.

In addition to causing me to get stuck, this overwhelming feeling often makes me want to distract myself (with food, with Facebook, with a sudden, odd obsession with cleaning out my entire wardrobe), which further puts a delay on my development.

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Here are a few things that help me center and calm myself when I feel my mind spinning out of control at the start of a new endeavor:

  • I imagine myself trying to find my way out of a dark tunnel. No matter how far I shine my flashlight, it would be impossible to see all the way to the end. It makes more sense to focus on shining it a mere three feet in front of me (i.e., breaking goals down into bite-size chunks, working with what I know now) and going from there. This idea is comforting because it takes the pressure off trying to figure everything out now.
  • Closing my eyes and taking 10 slow, deep breaths helps put my body at ease. My muscles loosen up and my heart rate to slow down a little.
  • Exercise helps me channel all my happy slash nervous slash excited slash confused energy. I can beat the shit out of a punching bag or go for a run and come back feeling so much mentally lighter and clearer.
  • I ask myself “How will I feel when I go to sleep tonight?” Life shouldn’t just be about doing and accomplishing, but making sure that I’ve done at least one small thing a day to advance myself towards my goals makes me feel like it was a day well-spent.
  • I plan on tracking my steps on a calendar so I can actually look back and see what I’ve been doing to turn dreams into realities. This is to keep me accountable as well as give myself credit for what I’ve done so far.

Beneficial Affirmations and Reminders:

  • Just go! (As well as Just Do It—thanks, Nike!)
  • This is not a dress rehearsal. Your life is happening now. Stop dwelling.
  • Make it happen.
  • It’s not that serious. (Reminds me to loosen up and not take myself or my life TOO seriously.)
  • I’m going to have fun today!
  • I have everything I need to start now.
  • I’m ready.
  • Bring it on.
  • GO!
  • My energy is calm and focused.
  • Everything I do comes from the heart.
  • Just start somewhere.

Do you experience the same feeling of giddy nervousness about taking on something you’re passionate about? How do you control this energy instead of letting yourself run away with it?

Peace, love, and glamour,
Rika