It’s early, and I’m supposed to be writing to the prompt, “being touched” right now, as part of a 21-day writing challenge I’ve only partially participated in. Because you know...shiny objects vs. follow through. Ugh.
My dad always warned me not to start anything I wasn’t going to finish. (Although he also advised me to always, always return a phone call when someone reached out -- and I couldn’t get the man to reply to a text if his life depended on it!)
He’s right, though. Follow through is important. But is it always necessary to finish what we start, even when we’ve fallen out of love with it; when we’ve taken up another project part way through the first one? I mean, if no one is harmed by the shifted focus...does it matter that we drop the ball?
One could make the case that leaving something undone sends a message to the Universe we’re short-sighted or uncommitted to our work; that we shouldn’t be taken seriously. One could argue we’d be considered lazy in the eyes of the Divine. Or in the eyes of our kids who watch us start and stop projects we were seemingly passionate about at the beginning. That’s no way to model initiative. Stick-to-it-iveness.
On the other hand though, there’s Curiosity -- a powerful force that breeds discovery and aliveness, but which can be wily in its pressure to procrastinate, distract; convince us to follow a different trail of breadcrumbs. Psst, hey! What’s over here? It could be better, you know. More interesting, more fun. No one will fault us if we quit the writing challenge to try this other thing. Just for a little while. C’mon...all the cool kids
are doing it.
“Curiosity”, I sometimes say in my workshops, “is my spiritual practice.” But playing with Her can be as fruitful and joyous as it is a harried pursuit of the other thing, the thing over there. Incessantly pulling us from presence.
So do we tame our Curiosity in order to finish what we said we would? Do we ignore the shoulder taps we receive when we’re tuned in, attuned to what else wants our attention? That doesn’t seem right either.
I guess it’s a balancing act, like most everything else in life. The perfect concoction: a dash of this, a splash of that -- with a salted rim and a tiny toothpick umbrella for decoration. The perfect cocktail (to use a metaphor that resonates all too well in these Covid times, when happy hours come early and often.) Stay the course, stick with it, complete the whole thing, do the work. Unless something else comes along that promises bigger, better, more amazing. Then...go do that.
Because another force we reckon with is the almighty Should, who claims to know what’s best, even if it means keeping us unhappy, beaten down. Feeling guilty. And when He shows up, wielding His herculean persuasion to “finish what we started”, we’re done for.
So let’s relish the interplay between follow through and Curiosity as best we can; shield ourselves from Should and listen closely to our one wild heart. Even if it means skipping out on day 12 of the 21-day challenge to riff our way through a new blog post.
Because, well, that’s just what we are called to do.