The physical manifestation of DOING seems simple enough. Action, we are taught, is almost instinctive in its ease. We are raised with the notion of simply doing to produce any given result, and taught that the consequence of such will shake itself out. If all you know is to simply do a thing, then it’s natural to feel confusion, even desperation, when you find yourself mentally and physically unable to DO.
A quick internet search will produce countless inspirational quotes and ideas about just getting up and getting out there. Conditioning teaches us that taking this inspiration to heart is the key to productivity. What happens when it isn’t? What happens when all of the inspirational quotes and vision boards and speeches amount to little more than white noise in infinite ether? What happens when you feel you can’t be motivated, no matter the source of motivation?
For millions of us, the result is paralysis, depression, and an inability to see past the edge of our current experience. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by simple tasks, and feel that we are failing at the most basic tenets of human existence. We become more distant from outside stimulus, because we believe that no one understands what is (or isn’t) happening. Add to this the social stigma of these feelings and the potential disregard, and it’s easy for things to go from bad to worse. The longer we stay in that place, the harder it is to rise from it. You already know the first step:
BREATHE. We already know that the act of inhaling and exhaling is more assumed than actual. Breathing, both a conscious and unconscious act, is easily taken for granted. Unconsciously, we breathe to live. Inhaling and exhaling keeps our bodies functional. When we bring consciousness into this act, we bring possibility. The intentional act of breathing allows us some semblance of control over a basic bodily function. Inhaling with the intention to invite, and exhaling with the intention to discard begins the process of activating our brains beyond stagnation.
VISUALIZE. This act can easily trigger mental paralysis, because we become obsessed with what we ought to visualize. Instead of seeing visualization in any form as a tool, we see it as a goal and can become discouraged if we deem that goal unacceptable in any way. The easiest visualization is that of a room full of packing boxes:
Let each of your packing boxes come with a label that best suits your experience. Mentally compartmentalizing those experiences helps give them shape and scope. In this act, we engage perspective and invite choice and possibility. As you breathe, imagine putting each thing in its respective box. Maybe you get everything in the box and seal it. Maybe you leave a corner open just in case there’s something else to add (or remove) at a later date. The very act of compartmentalization gives us the opportunity to see beyond our current situation and potentially identify solutions to any given problem.
Once those boxes are situated, imagine clearing the room of them. Some may stay because it’s practical for the moment. But some can go. As you breathe, imagine the inhales lifting those boxes, and the exhales removing them from the room. What happens is more space, more opportunity to solve problems, invite inspiration, and rise from your current experience. Understand that over time and circumstance, some of those boxes may return, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We make lasting choices by learning the lessons associated with those choices. If we let go of the idea that we have to learn everything now, and understand that we will repeat the lesson until we make a different choice about it, we can invite empathy and forgiveness and grow from that space.
ACT. Each opportunity to clear old space and create new space is an opportunity to act. Sometimes that action is as simple as taking a shower. Sometimes it’s as painful as disconnecting from toxic habits. Sometimes it’s as grand as publicly stepping out into a new form of existence. Any choice – every choice – is an opportunity to shape your space. When someone declares that you are the magic, you are the mantra, you have the power to shape your destiny (see: inspirational quotes on the internet), this is what they mean. No act is too small on the path to personal enlightenment. Inhale. Exhale. Go.