Where to Begin?

Sometimes when I sit down to write, I don’t know what to write. Just start writing, I tell myself. Just write that you don’t know what to write and take it from there. Eventually something comes to me, and I’m off to the races.

Sometimes I lie in bed, thinking that I should get up. Almost-daylight is burning, and I need to get up and meditate, write, exercise, and I really have to pee. But it’s almost as if I don’t know how to get up so I just lie there. Until I tell myself, to just move one foot, just a little, then the other. Then my hands, roll my head, and before you know it, my body is awake and I roll out of bed.

Sometimes when it’s time to start exercise, I freeze up. How to start? I imagine myself doing sit-ups, deep knee bends, curls. It all seems impossible after a deep bout of meditation. But then I make myself circle my ankles, raise up on my toes, walk the tightrope on a crack on the floor, and soon I am deep in exercise.

Sometimes I am with a friend, a family member, a colleague, a client, they are telling me something important and I don’t know quite how to respond. I pause, I listen carefully until it feels they have reached a spot where their silence is asking a question. Then I reflect back, ask a question, listen some more.

When I am at work sometimes and I don’t know how to proceed on a project, I sit, I brainstorm, I sit some more. Then I tell myself, just start putting thoughts on paper, they don’t have to be organized or final, just get started. I do and soon my thoughts come together into a plan and I begin moving forward again.

Every now and then I need to tell someone something that they don’t want to hear. It’s something that needs to be said, that they need to hear whether they act on it or not. I’m not quite sure how to begin; if I stop to think about it, I imagine all sorts of dire consequences. What if they refuse to understand? What if they can’t understand? What if they understand perfectly and start yelling at me or crying? Eventually I begin to speak, frame the conversation, ask a question, and the discussion begins.

Sometimes when I sit for meditation, I don’t know how to stop. My mind is racing forward, jumping to what’s next in my day, thinking up things to blog about, imagining ghosts around me because I’m in a new space, planning my day. How to stop all the thoughts? I acknowledge each thought and return to one breath, the next breath.

And I stop.

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