Just Start

I heard these words last night when I checked out a link my sister, Jennifer, sent me.   It was for a writing job with inspirational life coach Dani Johnson.  I’d never heard of the woman, but I was interested about the job (which I am in no way qualified for — this woman is looking for a 20-something-year-old who apparently requires no sleep and can be in ten places at once — sorry Jen) so I went and googled her.

I stayed long enough to listen to a few testimonials, read a little about how she got her start — it’s the standard rags to riches story — saw all the ads urging me to sign up, to attend a workshop THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!  and then I started watching a video of Dani in action.

Of course she’s dynamic.  And gorgeous.  Aren’t all inspirational speakers?  I know my tone sounds skeptical, but honestly, I was reserving judgement, and still am.  Who am I to say whether this is someone who’s figured out how to become rich by preying on people’s fears and desires, or whether she truly can help people change their miserable lives?

All I know is she said two words that got me thinking:  just start.  She bellowed these words at the crowd.  And I sat up and listened.  The crowd  applauded.  What they were applauding exactly, I don’t know, but I do know that if she can have a galvanizing effect on someone watching a video, her message must have ten times the effect in person.

Just start.  Such simple words, such a simple concept.  Listening to speakers like Dani Johnson, and there are hundreds of them spouting the same words, it would appear that the overwhelming majority of us are just a bunch of dummies who have failed to grasp the simplest lesson life has to offer — just start.

Just start being successful, dammit!  Just start being rich.  Just start being happy.  Just start being a better wife, husband, mother, friend, coworker, employee, pet owner, house cleaner, citizen, daughter, son, grandmother, — whatever it is, just start being a better it.

But, starting is hard.  Even Dani knows that.  Her personal history tells you so.  Therefore, she’s speaking from experience and that makes her advice credible.  Oh, and she was on Oprah, so, really, that’s about all the endorsement you need.  Again, I’m sounding facetious, but all I’m doing is imparting knowledge.  That I got off the internet.  From sites owned and endorsed by Dani Johnson.

I am serious, though, about taking notice of those two small words.  The truth is, Dani, and all those like her, are speaking the truth.  If you want a better life, if you want to be debt free and happy, if you want the made-for-tv lifestyle that’s been spoon-fed to us from the moment we could stare at a television screen, then all you have to do is start.

Even if all you want is a simple, happy life, with meaningful relationships with those closest to you, if tending a garden and sitting in the sunshine with a book in your lap and a faithful dog at your feet is what you imagine when you close your eyes at night and open them each morning, then start working towards that.

I read Tao of Scrumble’s blog last night and this is what she and her partner, the Artist, did.  And they sound blissfully happy.  They sound like they’ve found their success, their richness.  It took them awhile, it didn’t happen overnight, but they got where they wanted to be because they started.

I’m doubting that they had any advice from a Dani Johnson, but, who knows, maybe they did.  And would it matter if they did?  No.  It shouldn’t matter where a person gets their inspiration from, all that matters is that they get inspired.  To start. Living.  Dreaming.  Hoping.

I wish I could turn back time so that I could have linked this post to Soul Dipper’s Occupy Blogosphere page on Thursday.  I think it would have been a good fit.  She has started something that can have an immense, positive impact on our lives.

There are examples all around us, every day of people who have decided to ‘just start’.  I look at my own life, often to the point of obsession, trying to figure out if I’m happy, if I’m content, if I’m successful.  The biggest problem is that I fall prey to playing the comparison game.  And when I was watching that Dani Johnson video that’s what I started doing.

If those people can change their lives, if those people can start businesses and become debt-free and have six figures in the bank, if those people can have everything they’ve ever dreamed of, well then, why can’t I?  Those people are the kind of people I should be.

It was late.  I’m sorry.

I woke up this morning and smiled when I remembered how I had reacted to that silly promotional video.  Because I have a good life.  Could I be happier?  Yes, but then, who couldn’t be?  Could I have more money in the bank?  Damn straight!  But I don’t, I have what I have and I’m okay with it.  Could I be a better wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, friend, coworker, citizen?  Very likely, yes, but I do my best and I feel blessed that I am all those things.  I have an abundance of love and support and happiness in my life, and for that I am grateful each and every day.

For me, just start means:  Just start being present in your own life.  Just start paying attention to what is important immediately.  Just start being accountable to yourself and to those you love, and to those who support you.  Just start recognizing your personal worth.  Just start believing that your dreams, your hopes, your desires are attainable.  And then, just start making it happen.

April 11th — Spring has sprung

The road to . . . everywhere

I think, Amy, that you sent me a very strong message today.  Thank you.

I had sought some advice from Amy, aka SoulDipper, about why meditation was so difficult for me.  In her answer she replied that it was hard and then offered this:   “The reason it’s hard? You need to practice it and do it faithfully. It is so worth it!”

I heard something else in her answer, something I desperately needed to hear.

Lately, well, actually it’s been for a long while now, I’ve been struggling with what it is I’m actually doing with my life.  I’ve been doing a lot of running away —  from myself, my goals, my dreams, my expectations.  It’s like I got to this point where I said I can’t do this anymore, I just want to do nothing.  And that is exactly what I’ve been doing.

I’ve had some tear-filled moments of desperate self-pity and soul-wracking self-doubt; nothing I’m proud of, believe me.  It got me nowhere.  Only more confused, really.

So, I picked up a few books and read.  I dabbled in my personal journal, cleaned my house, started cooking again, and planned a vacation.  All of it about running away.  Avoidance.

Last night I decided to check in on some friends and see what was up in their lives (their blog-lives, anyway) and I was wonderfully surprised at how everything was pretty much the same as when I last checked in nearly a month ago.  They’ve been living their lives, posting their posts and sharing their pictures, thoughts, humour and wisdom.  I felt immediately comforted.  And sorry that I had let myself slip away.

Then, while reading Amy’s post I felt moved by what she had written about loving and forgiveness.  As I read on I was struck by her words about the importance of meditation and the peace it can bring to one’s life.  I wondered why it was that I couldn’t meditate.  And the next thought I had was about how this was just one more thing I had failed at.

So, feeling sorry for myself — again — I added ‘can’t meditate’ to my list of things tried but not accomplished.  Then I posted a reply and asked Amy if it was my own fear preventing me from being successful at meditation.  My answer was right there in my question, but I failed to heed it, if I had I probably would have hit delete.  Thankfully, Amy said exactly what needed saying.

I fail because I don’t practice and am not faithful.  It’s got nothing to do with anything but me and my efforts.  For years I’ve been saying how I’m going to achieve success as a writer, and for years I’ve been failing.  But, instead of doing something about it, I hid behind excuses.

I know I get overwhelmed with other problems, with the expectations I have of myself and others (those can be SOOO unrealistic, believe you me!), with my job, my Union responsibilities, my family, my yard, my house, my spare time or lack of it, with impending retirement (HA!), and the list goes on, and on, and on. . .  but the truth is if that I want to be the success I wish to be then it is all up to me.  I must practice daily and do it faithfully.

Thank you, Amy, for your wisdom and your kindness.  I’m so glad I chose last night to ‘visit’.