Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Lie in "Just Do It"

Twelve years ago (oh my gosh. TWELVE years??) I worked as a barista in a little local coffee shop. I always hated when people ordered "just" coffee because in spite of how it seemed, it took a lot of orchestration to keep those pots of brewed coffee out there full and ready for dispensing in the midst of a morning rush for toasted bagels slathered in cream cheese and espresso concoctions.

Just. I hate the word "just" in the context in which it makes something sound as though it should be simple and easy: Just be happy. Just change your perspective. Just live your dream. Just get out of bed. Just be. Just, just, just. And what happens when you feel like you can't "just" do it? It feels like failure, doesn't it?  It's like when attempting to meditate and someone says "just still your mind" and then you sit there with your life's To-Do list running through your head while thinking, "why the bloody fucking hell can't I JUST still my effing mind?!"

Why is it so hard? 

Because it is. 

The word "just" is a bit of a lie. No one tells you in the midst of their fiery exuberance that life is going to be hard. Changing/shifting your perspective is going to take repeated efforts. Sometimes those efforts will fall short, and you'll have to remind yourself to try your best again next time. And living your dream? It's going to take an incomprehensible amount of work, failure, and maybe (probably) even tears. 

BUT- it will be worth it. "Just" know going in there's no "just" about it. 

Sure, there may come a point in time when you do just still your mind or be happy or live your dream. You know when that happens? AFTER a lot of hard work and intentional effort and screaming about the word "just." Like I'm doing now. 

Clearly, I'm not at any of those points where I'm "just" doing anything. I'm not even working towards being able to "just" because I'm not sure it will ever feel that way, and in the end, I don't know that it needs to. What I do know is that I want my life to line up with my values- the ideals I hold sacred and make life worth living. In those moments of quiet clarity, I know exactly what it is I believe in and what I want for my life. Does that necessarily make the process after making my decisions easier? Not always. I make a decision, but then my fears and doubts creep in causing me to second guess myself. But like I said, when I silence the noise, there is no question- I have to gather my courage and walk boldly forward. 

I understand why the "just"- in a way, it's a suggestion to stop thinking so much and just go for it. But don't let that word invalidate the bigness of your goals- whatever they may be. 

Don't "just" do it. DO IT. DO that big thing that seems so overwhelmingly terrifying. 

You will not regret it.

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