Do you ever feel locked in to the way you’ve always done things? This morning, as I face the chasm of the kids being back at school and the unscalable cliff face of the first draft of my book, I wish I could just change direction. Away from all the routines that lock me in, above all the chapters I have written. I tried to start again with a blank page but found myself writing the same words as before.
An author’s version of clinging to the past.
Earlier today, the dog managed to shrug off her harness at school and then wouldn’t come back for me in the park. The lack of control I felt in both instances was horrible. Letting go of the familiar can be terrifying, I know that.
But you should have seen her run when she was free.
Maybe that can happen for us too. If we are brave enough to change our ways, try a new direction, ignore the ‘but we’ve always done it that way’…
What does that look like? I suppose if we’re tentative it begins with minor adjustments – trying a different type of music, reading non-fiction rather than a novel, standing on a different part of the train platform to see new fellow passengers, stopping the old habits of checking Facebook or Twitter every minute of the day, looking away from minor irritations with other people to recognise what good things they have to offer. And then moving beyond the tiny changes to something braver: taking someone whose different attitudes challenge you out for a coffee, setting up a group for people who you see are isolated and lonely, writing to your local councillor about that thing that has been annoying you for years…
I know, I can’t be bothered either. But this feeling of being locked in needs to stop, and new territories are waiting. I wonder how much distance we could cover, if we just wriggled out of all this weighty habit?
Not the monk kind, silly!