When the light begins to change, I sometimes feel a little strange

Why is it that we can know exactly what needs to be done to move our dreams and projects forwards, yet still avoid taking those next steps? Even though we dearly wish to get to our goal, we delay and distract, procrastinate and put off. Have you found yourself doing this? I know that I have!

I read a great article today in German on just this topic (https://blog.holvi.com/de/3-angste-die-ein-erfolgreicher-grunder-uberwinden-muss)

If you can read German – then go do so, it’s great. I have decided to take that as inspiration and write my very own take on the same 3 fears here. The fears are the same, the content entirely different!

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It’s always daunting, as well as exciting, to do something for the first time, and this can develop into one or all of the following fears, fears which can hamper us from reaching the goals we hold so very dear:

1. Fear of the Unknown
2. Fear of Failure
3. Fear of Success

1. Fear of the Unknown
This is a natural fear in a natural world, and springs from our ancient roots. As any animal knows, what we don’t know might kill or hurt us. Eating that strange berry might poison us, taking that unexplored route might lead to us getting lost, or trapped, or eaten by predators we’ve never before encountered. Much better to stay with the familiar, right? It’s an emotional fear, but can still feel like a very real one, even in the modern age. Even though we are not likely to get injured trying to write that book, make that album, develop the next killer app or asking the boss for a raise (no matter what you might think about your editor, your drummer, your computer or your boss!).

If you think about it, though, it’s not logical. I have often been known to face this one down with “oh, come on, nobody is going to get hurt or killed …”

2. Fear of Failure
Ok, so everyone knows this one, right? If you don’t succeed in achieving your goals, you and everyone else will think you are a big fat failure, stupid, useless and will never amount to anything. But failure is not something we ARE. It is just that this particular attempt did not work out. Our actions did not lead to where we wanted to go at this particular time. Maybe we just didn’t know enough yet, maybe we just had not practiced enough yet. Both of those are quite likely with something new in fact, aren’t they? And we are all capable of getting right back up and learning more, and succeeding the next time (or the time after that). Can you think of times that you have persisted in learning a new skill and finally got somewhere? I bet you can. It is also OK to decide that this particular goal is maybe not for us and we can better spend our energies somewhere else.

Every part of this process is helping us learn and grow – and it is a damn sight more interesting than not doing anything new ever!

3. Fear of Success
Ah yes, this one is for real. I personally rate this one as the biggie, the sneaky one that can slip under our radar and cause us to self-sabotage almost without realising it. Will more success just make for more work? Will we know enough to cope with the new challenges? With fame? With bigger budgets? With that world tour? With more and more trips out of our comfort zone? Will our friends abandon us? Can I just hide under my pillow now please?

But change is life, and isn’t it more fun to do new things and risk success? Where have you succeeded before? How did that change your life and was it for the better? Did you cope? Very probably yes, right? (and if not see above under “failure”!). Surely success deserves a chance!

Right, now, let’s see if I can remember all of this as I forge ahead in my new ventures!

Action Stations!

 

Well, the world of Kirsty rarely stands still for long, and it’s been a very very busy month. Has it been a month already? Maybe not quite… But in any case, there’s been A LOT going on. From decisive progress on lingering financial affairs (where the love has very much gone) to the start of new ventures, investment in myself, and finding support and help along the way.

I’m aimed again at the boat life, at a life where work is by choice, not necessity, at being able to slow down and enjoy.

As part of that, I’ve joined Anne Perry’s Else Society, full of supportive, like-minded souls, all seeking their own unique “Else”. Who have all looked at their lives and thought “this can’t be it, there must be something else”. Else Society provides a framework that we can use to plan and execute our next 3 years, and lots of learning materials to help inspire, educate and empower us to take the necessary actions to make our escape from the stress-struggle-overwork “Hamster Wheel”.

I’ll be doing a proper write up at the end of the month, but at the moment I can say it’s promoted LOTS of action! And also that it meshes well with “Miracle Morning” – but that the writing part of that has been detrimental to me keeping up with writing entries here. That will change!

 

 

Heavy Load

IMG_20170601_071352

Back the gym today for the first time in 2 weeks. Normally if I have time off, my deadlift is unaffected, or I can even lift more – not this time. Oh well. I’m not thrilled to be back in hamster-wheel land (German classes, work), but just going to do the best job I can of it and be patient. Oh, my international sailing licence came in the post, so I’m all square if I meet the police again. Also, I got my flight refund and the bank details to pay for the damage to the other boat, which I’ll do today.

I felt close to tears again in the last phase of my workout, thoughts in the usual circle of feeling trapped by my own (past) choices and not being able to see how I can live the life I want, whilst providing value.

But I was full of energy with my new 90 day Roadmap challenge from Else Society – the only thing now is finding an accountability Buddy – we are all supposed to do this, but I have asked a few times, as have others, and very few seem to have actually managed to pair up – which I find a shame. I might have to be my own Buddy, or, since my BF wants to change his life (though he is not in any group/scheme), we can be each others. I just need the feeling that someone knows what I am doing to overhaul my life and cares – and to be that help and support for someone else. Don’t we all? I suspect I need a full-on Life Coach, I can’t expect the level of involvement and support across my whole life from anyone else. But that is quite a research task to find the right one…

Following you I climb the mountain, I get excitement at your feet

excited dog

*not a selfie

I just finished reading a book recommended to me by several people – “I Hope I Screw This Up” by Kyle Cease, American comedian-turned-transformational coach. I hated the style of the first chapter, but it got much better, so stick with it, if you are in any doubts. I will not try to summarise the book here, but I will pick a few points that are relevant to me and my life right now.

The base premise is that it is the WHY of what you do is important, that this WHY should give to others, and  that once you know that, then you will easily find the HOW – and the energy to do it. There are various exercises in the book, designed to help you set off your creativity, list what you want in life,  identify the fears that are holding you back. These are then used to help you make decisions by recognising which things excite you – as in you can feel it in your body as excitement – and following those. Following your heart.

Or maybe those are the points I see because those are the points I have problems with…

WHY has not yet come to me, but I won’t talk about that here. Not yet. Not again.

Excitement? Physically felt? Don’t make me crack a wry smile. Outside of my sex life, I can’t recall any of that for …. years – and it was never a big feature in my life. I don’t get (or ‘get’) anticipation or celebration. I was never like my Dad, excited to go on holiday, or running round the room in celebration of a goal by his team – or even like my mother, disappointed when a place or event was not as she had imagined it. I never lay awake unable to sleep on Xmas Eve, imagining my presents. I faced the prospect of the biggest rock gig of my life (40,000 crowd at Mathew Street Music Festival, plus BBC3 coverage) with the same “job to be done” attitude as a pub gig. (in the end, the weather cancelled the whole day, and I never had the prospect of so big a crowd ever again…). I very much take things as the are, when they are. I am not good at emotion connected to either past or future. I have my “in the moment ” spikes, but as my experiments with the Bentinho Exercise seem to have shown, triggering excitement through thoughts, or noticing excitement is not a thing I do well (or at all, apparently). I reason, not feel.

Fear – again only an intellectual thing, and I am not prone to anxiety. I can see how both of those can be turned into excitement by a change of view, but they don’t show up to the party either, so I can’t flip them.

So, why don’t I feel excitement? What can I do about it? Because following your heart is the way to go, and all the tools for following your heart need you to be able to identify excitement.  And I would dearly love to do this, the results seem amazing. Freedom. Joy. Being unlimited. All that good stuff. So why do I have such a hard time feeling it?

I started to think “what is excitement?”, and I reckon it is

Uncertainty + Confidence + Curiosity = Excitement

Have to have all three. You don’t know what is going to happen, or how, or that it will happen for sure, but you are sure it will be successful/fantastic/educational/useful, and you are curious about the activity/plan and also to see how it all turns out. Ergo – excitement.

Uncertainty + Lack-of-confidence (+ Curiosity?)= Anxiety (I think)

and if there is Curiosity here, it could play the negative role – imagining all the things that could go wrong and all the ways in which it could go wrong – but I am not as sure of that one.

There is either too little Uncertainty or too much Confidence or just very little Curiosity with me right now. I’m playing the mission on the game of Life that I have played before  (Job, Boat, Music), just on a harder difficulty setting (German). The things I set out to do are a path well trodden, and I have the confidence born of years and years of evidence (plus a pile of recent evidence), that I manage to do what I plan to do. Yeah sure, being short 100k, or finding out my sailing licence isn’t valid and the roller furler is bust, or bands splitting up, or Brexit, or me picking probably the “wrong” job are just the ups and downs. It will all work out. I am, and always have been, sure of that.

I am not sure what kind of Uncertainty I would need. But maybe even on “Difficulty Level: German”, this mission is fundamentally just too easy for me. Time and application of effort and riding the ups and downs will get me through it. No worries. Yawn.

I could also be lack of Curiosity that is my issue. Which might link back to the missing WHY.  Not sure.

A friend with whom I have discussed this issue, thinks that I need to forgive myself for the past and completely let go of the story that I lost something and am now less than I was. No doubt it’s a big part. I do still feel “less”. My emotionally-led decisions destroyed the life I had, and led me to actions that semi-sabotaged the new one I was trying to build. It’s a lot to forgive, and will take somehow getting to the view that I’m in now in a better place with my life. That it was “worth it”.

I can see that could mean I am not going to be as comfortable following my emotional cues – but I am not sure why they would be *absent*… My sister has a medical condition where (if I understand it right) she just does not produce enough cortisol to get anxious or worried or stressed. She takes medication to correct this. Before they got the dose right, and it was too much, she said she got continually “have I left the gas on?” anxious and nervy of things like flying. They had to actually give her extra cortisol when she gave birth, because you are supposed to be stressed then, to get your body to to the job! Maybe I have something like that too? But I was a very emotional child/teenager/young adult … hmmm. Maybe not.

Maybe I just need to do something completely *other*. But what? How do I find the way, when excitement is the guide?

Return of the Braingremlins

(Cuckoo Wasp | by jciv)

I’m terrible at Sundays. Especially German Sundays, where noise regulations mean you can’t use power tools and everything except bakers and restaurants is shut. Great for the shop workers, though, I do have to give it that. But an enforced day of “rest” is not a thing that sits easy with me. My German friends all tell me “but you need a day to do nothing, to relax and recharge” sorry peeps, I’m a different beastie, doing nothing is absolutely NOT relaxing for me. My brain goes into overdrive, and usually into the pit of me not knowing what to do with my life. :-(.  I don’t know why, it’s just a Sunday thing.

I’ve got ideas. I’ve got things I intellectually want to do – to be clear, we are talking Life here, not Sunday – but, but, but … Are they the “right” things? What I’m *meant* to do?

I’d love to go off on my wee boat (suitably “beefed up” in safety terms) for a year on the Inland waterways (probably from Germany down to the Netherlands, where there’s an extensive​ “mast up” route covering most of the way). Then learn to build a wooden boat, a proper small sea boat. Then build that boat. Then go exploring in THAT boat until I’ve had enough. Then build some off-grid self-sufficient place deep in nature and live there. 

Lots of time, expense, effort. Leaving everyone I know and love behind, disrupting their lives, in some cases materially. 

The first stage is absolutely do-able IF I’m willing to make those sacrifices. But doing that means running down my savings (not a huge issue), and disrupting my ability to earn. (rather bigger). It does not set me up well for the subsequent goals. It threatens (perhaps) my continuing residency in Germany – which may be vital in my quest to remain an EU citizen after Brexit. It most likely kills my relationship. 

Also – It’s the dream I already had –  that I had with twice the manpower and resources and half the expenses (because, now, healthcare, and possible huge investment losses) . I also had much more “go anywhere” boat. Nevertheless I did not last at that, back then, when I was much more practiced at sailing (but I’m getting back to that, this summer). So there’s doubt. Is it persistence – or the madness of repeating the same thing expecting a different result?

How do I support myself financially through all this? My braingremlins have a stack of negatives for every suggestion. Or reasons that I need further training before I can (maybe) have the means/abilities/confidence. They drive me with discontent, but then put up every roadblock they can. If I had it in me to hate, I’d hate them.

I’m tired of this all going round in my head. I long for someone who really knows me, and cares about my future, to help me think. Help me decide, help me plan. It would be a big ask, and I’m not sure what I’ve done that would mean that I deserve that help – from anyone. I need some belief, some buy-in, some positive feedback loop to build the small intellectual urge to a passionate excitement. How do I find that? How do I earn it? How do I feel that I deserve that? 

I’m only happy when it rains

I spent 2 hours this morning indulging some of my latent hippy leanings, and doing the 2-Hour “Raise Your Vibration Exercise” from Bentinho Massano. Various friends had recommended it, and it seemed an interesting experiment. Every minute, for 10 seconds, you think of whatever makes you feel the most joy/wonder/excitement, and you keep this up for 2 hours. I sat in the boat cockpit, and used an interval timer on my phone.

Firstly, the interval timer was probably a bit intrusive – it was the kind with a 5-second countdown. But the sounds of the waves against the boat hull and the birds singing were great for the “rest” intervals, keeping me in a relaxed but focussed state.

So… I had lots of thoughts about nature, cosmological processes (we are all made of stars and will make new ones in the future and many more), the taste and texture of fruit and veg, awareness of the physical body, and how it feels in action, using muscles and stretching. Human co operation came up too. And, of course, boats! (sailing, building). I got quite sleepy about half an hour in, but that passed. I’d say I’m cheerful, and very aware of my body and its connectedness to the world, but not to an especially unusual level (I’m generally very “body aware”). A subtle effect for me, more a pint of real ale than bottle of single malt, a warm heartfelt hug than a night of ecstasy, a decent pop song than an epic symphony.

Some friends of mine who have also done this exercise describe great experiences, followed by a state of bliss, and some have found it very powerful in making them really feel like a powerful creator of their own reality. One other had a more ambiguous experience, rather like mine. (But I’m already long aware I’m my own God… that we create our own reality. I had a long strange intense afternoon inside my own head when I was about 12, going from “nothing really exists” to “but we make it so, and it seems to exist”).

It’s good to know, that I’m not alone in getting some mild results. If I had to speculate, I’d say this exercise probably has more noticeable results the more strongly positive emotions are felt during it. Which means the more we are able to get genuine strong emotions from thoughts (and, I’m guessing, when we have more practiced imaginations) the greater the effects will be. I’m not sure how I personally get more in that direction, I tend to be more physically driven when it comes to positive emotions – I need to be *doing* something to *feel*. (Sadly negative ones are a little more easily triggered, but it’s still not a strong effect in the absence of action).

How to get my own thoughts to bring me actual joy is *definitely* something worth working on. Hmm. Wonder how? That would be beneficial, I guess. And the goal is definitely worth pursuing. It’s one of those where I’m not sure what but the “baby step” or “training wheels” version is…

It’s crazy to many of you, I guess, but my emotions are rarely strongly triggered these days, not for years. I sometimes emerge briefly, but I end up so easily back where it’s all rather calm, very much a “shit happens, now just get on with it” place. Or everything is just ticking along nicely, sure, some frustrations, but no great peaks (or troughs). Even performing (singing) on stage is no longer what it was… That doesn’t leave a lot. Sex And Drugs and Rock and Roll – I don’t even drink caffeine, and if music is losing its power, that leaves me only one small place to feel alive…. I simply don’t trust my emotions, they’ve led as often into disaster as guided me true…

So many of the growth techniques and tools rely on finding excitement or joy or pleasure and using that as as guide or motivator. It’s a skill I’d love to acquire, would unlock many doors, I think.

After my experiment, the early sun faded, the rain came down, and I headed home, leaving the boat until Monday. I’ll watch for any aftereffects of this exercise, let’s just see.