Moving beyond old limitations.

I had an interesting experience a couple of weeks ago. I was getting a massage treatment when the masseuse realised that one of my ribs was in fact, dislocated. It wasn’t a recent development, there was no accident in which it had occurred. It was just my rib cage and it had always been like that. My bottom right rib, raised up jutting out a little from my body. The masseuse promptly took the opportunity to try and put the rib back where it was supposed to be.

Now let me say this up front, having a rib slot back into place isn’t a pleasing experience. In fact it’s a fairly crappy experience, especially when it has been out of place for as long as one can remember. As people, I have found that we often build much of our identity around who we are and what we can do, especially physically. In my case the rib has always been something I have disliked about myself and something that has caused me much distress over the years. It led to me feeling very self conscious about taking my shirt off. Subconsciously I felt exposed on some level and as a result I hunched and developed a curvature of the spine, I also had a massive discomfort at the idea of anyone touching my chest region. As you can imagine, over my formative years this must have had an impact on my social and personal development.How could it not? Whenever I looked in a mirror I saw something that was ugly and freakish about me.

I am lucky though. I’ve never had any pain from this problem and my body functions well enough to let me do all that I wish. For that I am grateful, but it has been one of those things about myself I have been trying to fix for over twenty years. On this day though the problem was seemingly identified and sure enough though the rib went back where it was supposed to go. In moments this freakish aspect of myself was no more.

When it happened there was a lot going through my head. Why after all the people have I seen over the years for various conditions, (including fractured ribs that required x-rays), had no one realised until now? A sort of mental anguish washed over me. An action so simple had rectified this problem. Something so simple that if it had been done twenty years ago, I had to wonder if I would have been the same person I am today. Would I have kept the same friends? Pursued the same studies? Might I have been more active in sports if I subconsciously wasn’t always protecting myself.  I often muse on the idea that who you are today is a result of the things that occur to you over your life. Sometime there is a specific event you can pinpoint, other times it is a random moment lost in the shroud of time.

It may not even make a difference. After all, perhaps we are at this moment who we are at this moment and everything else doesn’t exist. There is so much to consider when you reflect on yourself, especially in the aftermath of profound change. I always thought my of my problems were fixable, contrary to the opinions of specialists, did that have an impact? The desire for self healing and change can be powerful. It can move mountains. Gautama Buddha said “With our thoughts we make the world.” and even though I remember this because it was at the start of the old TV show Monkey Magic, the statement still rings true to me.

It can be hard to change yourself, especially when it comes to those aspects of you that have been a part of your life for as long as you can remember. It can be harder changing when everyone says that is just how it is and sometimes the problem is that which you can’t clearly see. I remember reading somewhere, and it is something that I have often repeated, that the one constant in everything in your life is you. You need to accept that you are in charge of you and being able to make better decisions about your own life you would think, would have to include being aware of yourself as much as possible.

So a new chapter begins and it will be interesting to see how much of issues in my life that I am dissatisfied with will start to shift with the physical changes. Will my interactions with other be different, even the way I use my body in the day to day must be affected. Then there is all the physical things that I do in life. They will certainly be affected by the change. That is part of the fun when you have those real moments of change. Shifts in old patterns and behaviours, recognising what you do and why you do it. It is those moments that open a new world of possibility and make you start to wonder if other things can be changed too. It only took twenty years to sort this problem, I am certain I can solve the next one a lot faster.

Completing. The secret of success?

Over the years I have dabbled in many things. Always searching for success in whatever I attempted to do. It doesn’t always come easily. I think I often go out of my way to pick things that are not my natural strengths as a I like to think that if I can become good at them it is a more worthy achievement.

Writing has always been one thing that has been a struggle. I have imagination, but then again so do many people. If you don’t believe me, just go to a party and tell people you are a writer and straight away you will find out so many other people have stories that they want to tell. I have trouble, frequently, with spelling and grammar. (If you have ever read any of my stuff you will know this already.) Even when I recheck, there are mistakes that slip through the cracks and it can be quite embarrassing.  The big thing though, the major impediment to success as a writer, (and many other projects) is completing.

It’s a very simple step in the process and the one that many people I have spoken to over the years struggle with. I have spent a great deal of time listening to talks by writers, film makers, artists of every stripe and the main difference between those that are successful and those who are not, is completing. Whatever project you start, you need to make certain that you take that struggling beast to the end of the line and then wrestle it over the line.

That is not to say what you create will be perfect. I remember someone telling me that “Directors never finish films, they just move on.” I feel a little like that about my writing sometimes. I will frequently find myself revising works to try and get every last drop out of it. This can be helpful a few times but if you are just tweaking so that you don’t have to finish it, then you should just make the decision that it is finished and move on.

Completing shouldn’t be that hard but as I am certain many people could tell you, it can be the most daunting thing in the world. The reasons for completing can also be quite daunting. For me personally, the biggest issue that I have ever had with completing was always a silly fear that I clung too. Simply put, over the years people told me that I was smart and creative and had talent. All positive things it’s true, but somewhere in the twisted recesses of my mind it became a major impediment, after all what would happen if I did complete something and it was terrible? What if that project that I had such a great idea for was poorly executed and completely wasted? Would everyone hate and shun me? Would they cast me out and not want me as a friend?

Yes these are all stupid thoughts but fears are rarely logical and the consequences come from deep down inside. I have also spoken to those with similar issues and another common fear is the one that, people think they are worthless and if they try and fail at something, then it proves that they are indeed worthless. Neither of these are particularly inspiring motivators to finish projects and certainly would impede someone’s desire to show their work to get honest feedback. I’m a harsh critic of my work but I am lucky to know a few people who have been good enough to give constructive feedback. Feedback is good but it can be tough to hear, especially when it isn’t the good stuff. I appreciate the bad stuff, if it’s constructive. It gives me somewhere to go and might help me see what I am missing, but again, if your work is bound up in your fears it can make you gun shy. In the end you have to take that leap of faith.

No matter the task, even something as simple as cleaning a room or washing the dishes, I think completing the task at hand is extremely important. Maybe it’s a shift in thinking that comes with getting older? It may just be a simple satisfaction that produces it’s own charge that can never, and should never be underestimated, especially when you are trying to achieve anything of value. Completing what you start is a habit, much like any other that you incorporate into your life. It will be interesting to see if it makes any long term difference in mine.