[embed]https://youtu.be/ZZtEj8Gw7gk[/embed] We talk a whole lot about the inner kiddo, don’t we? There are workshops, retreats, and self-help bonanzas at every corner discussing the notion of rekindling the unicorn worshipping flame of your inner child. But, I’m here today to introduce you to another inner something.
And, no, I’m not going to teach you dirty anatomy. I mean, not today at least. Although you know I have a lot to say about the hooha, which is, yes, a clinical term.
Anyhooha-zers, I’ll introduce you to this inner mystery just after I prep you with a fine introduction in the form of a conundrum. It’s called: Beginning Again.
Let’s all follow that with an eye roll and a giant heave-ho the size of Peter Pan’s lost dreams.
I mean, good gravy, beginning again is not easy. I’ve talked about it before, namely in a post I think I poetically called “Beginning Again Sucks Donkey Balls,” and beginning again sucks so many donkey balls that apparently I have become like a man with a measly cold and decided to assume no one else in all humanity has experience the suffering I am experiencing right now. Because, no, really. My Beginning Again this time after a solid two weeks off is suffering unmatched.
I’ve even taken up old bad habits here and there because - well - if I’m not gonna begin again then why not go down with huge bang?
Alas, Going Down with A Huge Bang hasn’t panned out so well, which I know is a total shocker (said every burned out child star at age 22). So, I’m grabbing my wobbly resolve and my motivation and I’m Beginning Again. And, because I am also a woman who likes to claim to be an old spirit, I decided to take notes with this go-round of Beginning Again so that I can give you some Real Deal Tools to climb out as well.
First up ... Why does Beginning Again stall in ever begininng again?
Here’s what I’ve deduced, which we will call The Heavy Start:
1) You start to demonize the thing you need to begin again.
Yes, you do it. I know it. And lucky for you, there’s a lot about your Momma Strong journey that you can demonize. You may find yourself saying, “Heck, look at Courtney, the one dragging me to ‘show up.’ Who does she think she is? She’s a freakin mess. She talks a lot. And, dang it, she’s got chicken legs which means she probably doesn’t eat so who is she to tell me to just freakin brace my belly and all will be well? She cusses in front of my kids. She often gets jumbled up and forgets intervals. She talks a lot. Wait, I said that already. In any case, who needs this crap, it doesn’t work any way. I should go to Cross Fit where people really sweat.’ Etc. Etc. Etc. Whatever it is you need to be doing, you find a way to make that thing a big hairy demon full of faults and errors.
2) Then you start to rebel.
This is you: “Yeah, watch me. I’m gonna go do 40-Days of yoga, like that super hot yoga, like every single day at a yoga studio for 90 minutes. And I’m gonna stop my daily bracing. I’m gonna just say screw you vitality a la Momma Strong, I’ve got another way to find ya. Get to steppin’, you low level creep. See you in the dust, sucka. I’d rather go fishing! At least that would feed my family. Buh bye.”
3) Then your rebellion gets lazy, so you just turn off.
Maybe that daily yoga class didn’t happen nor did the dust Momma Strong was gonna eat. But, instead of saying, “Whoopsie, I had a teenager moment,” you just slide to the shady side of the street and evade notice. You delight in a numbed out lazy version of rebellion, which involves your couch and lots of documentaries and lots of series of Netflix shows until your eyeballs bleed and your brain starts thinking your best friend is in solitary confinement and you need to watch out for the Crazy Eyes chick at lunch. You eat while doing all of this. You kavetch. You sink in and float away.
4) You start to get a little depressed, or at least helpless, but certainly you start beating yourself up.
You start the inner dialogue of, “What the heck is wrong with me? Ugh, why oh why can’t I do anything good for me. Why can’t I do this self-care thing? Who will love me if I don’t love myself? Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I’m gonna eat some worms.”
Now, if AND WHEN you experience the above Heavy Start Process, I want you to put both your feet on the sturdy ground outside of it’s rabbit hole and I want you to use your free hand to wave a giant red flag. Wave it hard. The above process is NOT a reflection of YOU or your resolve or your potential, it is merely a signal that you have entered The Heavy Start, which each and every human being - even Cindy Crawford when she did that sexy Pepsi commercial - feel all the time. Don’t internalize it. Get very familiar with it’s presence and it’s echoes. And then wave that red flag as soon as you identify it.
And instead of going down it’s rabbit hole, adhere to the following Resilient Badass Protocol:
1) Summon Your Inner Fighter (The Inner Something Else):
Remember that inner child we talked about at the start? We all can relate to fighting to feel our inner child alive and well, right? And we know that healthy behaviors and walks of life give her room to play, right? Well, sadly, the inner child is literally stomped out in The Heavy Start and, more importantly, she is NOT to be relied upon to give you any sort of bouyant help. This is not her skill set, nor should it be. But, have no fear. She’s got a best friend right beside her, who I like to call Your Inner Fighter. So, we’re gonna sit that Inner Child down on a swing and focus, for now, on her best bud - Your Inner Fighter - who is the noble, but scrappy kid in school that never knew how to give a fuck about what anyone thought.
2) Define, Acknowledge, and Defy Entitlement:
You can’t do anything for yourself unless you define, acknowledge, and then defy entitlement. If you are not doing anything for your wellbeing - whether you are steeped in trauma or dealing with huge massive emotional/logistical/physical catastrophe - then you are operating out of entitlement. I know. This is hard. And, I’m sorry about the caca you might be dealing with and, trust me, I understand how badly you want to soothe it and be soothed. But. If you aren’t doing anything to get Beginning Again, then you are operating out of entitlement. And if you don’t see it, then you’ll sit in the holding pen of self-obsession, which is a terrible vortex that can take over your entire life and eat your flesh away from any possibility of beauty and joy. Notice I did not say YOU were entitled. I said you are operating out of entitlement. Use that Inner Fighter and act like Entitlement is the worst bully in the entire school and shake it so hard that it runs home crying. PS: This may mean that you just start with, “Mercy, mercy me. I need help.”
3) Practice Humility and Hunger:
Humility is something we all know when life knocks us down and when we’re shit outta luck and, perhaps, when we hit rock bottom. It’s got a side of surrender and a side of perspective. And when you practice humility every single day, even when shit is not hitting the fan and you’re a super star, you will be able to use humility as a way to focus on the essence of your vitality, protect that vitality your life, and then position yourself appropriately in the Grand Chaos all around you (aka, you’re not that big of a deal)
Hunger. Look, I don’t mean actual hunger. Please don’t practice actual hunger, says Chicken Legs Leader. I mean “hunger” in terms of feeling the sensation of satisfying a basic need. This is also found at the muddy floor when we’ve fallen into some sort of relative rock bottom. We feel the burn and the drive to get our stuff together, to experience ease and flow - something we often can’t fight for until we have experienced it’s loss. So, to practice this along side humility means that we spend every day in gratitude for that which we have and we spend every day in disciplined reverence for the work it takes to be healthy.
FYI: When things start to get better in your life, you will be apt to drop these two practices rather quickly. Don’t do it.
4) Swat Your Thoughts with a Fly Swatter (for right now)
At this very moment, being an analytical purveyor of your life and problems is just procrastination. You’re using the swirly and very viable world of the travails inherent in living to think more than to do. And while I’m 100% investing in us being mentally healthy and aware, in the case of Beginning Again, this never pans out well. Until you get going on the Beginning Again road, you’re gonna have to lay out some boundaries on your thinking life. Just act like your thoughts are a really gnarly person in your life with whom you’ve gotten a restraining order. You have to cut them off or else they’ll start stalking you with drama. Just for now. Just to get started. Just to take the first step. Heave ho, don’t think. You’ll get to the juicy stuff in therapy or in whatever work you to do for your psychological wellbeing.
5) Set up Rewards
Look, you’re not a robot. Design some very desirable, accessible, easy, bare-bones, yummy rewards for a job well done. Give yourself the grace to know that no amount of pummeling or watching Big Loser reruns will suddenly make you NOT a human. You are not all of a sudden going to WANT to work hard at something that involves Beginning Again. Bribe yourself like you “incentivize” your kid (you do it, I know it). And don’t prescribe rewards that you think you “should” want - like a healthy smoothie or a early morning to meditate. No, prescribe things that are funny, real, delicious, decadent, human, soothing, etc. Trust me. It works every time.
6) Tackle The One Big Thing
When you are in full throttle procrastination and sabotage, there is usually ONE THING, one giant big thing, that is hanging over your head. Maybe it's work-related pressure, maybe it's the thing you overpromised and you have to do, maybe it's a confrontation with a friend or family member, maybe it's the dentist, maybe it's the bills ... Whatever it is, it's there and it's drenching your mojo in a fog. Call that One Big Thing out and you'll be completely shocked at how clearly you can see the rest of the landscape. Better yet, tackle that One Big Thing like the brave momma you are and, poof, more room for your giddy up.
7) Give Failure Another Name and Have it Over for Dinner
This one is obvious. You are gonna fail. You are. High five. Expect it. And get to really know it. Ask it questions. Plunge into its depths. Get it a little woozy on cheap wine and find out it’s vulnerable center. Then give it as much credibility as you would that drunk dinner guest who has nothing wise to say, but just needs an endearing glance and a good night’s sleep. And then start your next day powerfully while watching Failure trying to act cool and not hungover at the breakfast table.
8) Buddy Up
You. Cannot. Do. This. Alone. Grab on. Hold hands. Ask. Confess. Support. Do.
I’ll end this by saying that there is absolutely no way to do this easily. But, I can say that it’s so worth it. Once you get past The Heavy Start and once you get in to Beginning Again, you’ll be greeted by an extra flow of energy, joy, strength, aerodynanicism, and adventure.
FYI, I am procrastinating currently with the reruns of Lip Sync battles on Jimmy Fallon. Just in case you think I procrastinate by making green juice or cleaning. No. It's never pretty.