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Moving From Desire to Action
Category: Zen Living Written by Leo Babauta
I’ve been noticing lately how much of our lives is spent wanting to do something, wishing we could do something … but struggling to move into action.
What’s the struggle to make this transition all about?
And how can we more consciously make the transition into action?
Let’s look at a couple of typical examples so we can see what we’re dealing with.
- There’s a task I know I want to do (or maybe I feel I should do), but I keep putting it off. Something about it brings me uncertainty, and that makes it uncomfortable, so I put it off over and over. When I finally do it, it’s way easier than I feared it would be, and I wonder what took me so long.
- There’s a project I’ve been wanting to do for some time, but I keep telling myself it’s not the right time. I’m not ready, or things are too busy. Even when I find more space, I find other reasons not to do it, because I’m not sure how to do it, and taking it on will be stepping outside of my comfort zone.
- I want to hire a coach or start a program that I know will give me the support I’ve been looking for, but I hesitate. I am not sure if I’ll do good enough, if I’ll be right for the program, if I’ll do what’s needed to get the value out of it. So I stay in indecision and put off making the commitment.
You might be able to tell what’s stopping us: uncertainty, the unknown, and fear.
Fear and uncertainty about the unknown keep us from crossing the threshold into action.
The ironic thing is that often the most powerful thing we can do in uncertainty is to step into action – it’s in the realm of doing that we learn anything, that we’ll get the answers we’re looking for.
So how do we cross from uncertainty and indecision and avoidance … into action?
- Intention. Set an intention to be in action, rather than getting stuck.
- Turn towards. Notice the uncertainty and fear in your body, as sensation. Can you mindfully be with it, when it shows up, and bring it love?
- Ask what you really want. Is this something you care deeply about? Is there a possibility this represents that is meaningful to you? Do you want this?
- Make the smallest movement. Often the smallest step can get the ball rolling, and we always forget that.
- Find the joy. How can this action feel joyous, wondrous, sacred, alive for you?
The more we practice this, the better we get at it. And being in action not only feels good, it starts to clear up a lot of the stuckness of our lives.
Zen Habits is about finding simplicity and mindfulness in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness. My name is Leo Babauta. I live in Davis, California with my wife and six kids, where I eat vegan food, write, run, and read. Source
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