For a long time, I have been thinking about how to begin. Sometimes, a new endeavor seems daunting, and I pause at the precipice in order to contemplate the magnitude of the task ahead. Another way of looking at this situation is: I freeze. I procrastinate. I wait for inspiration or motivation to find me, rather than taking the first step. I get lost in the details, feeling overwhelmed, rather than looking at the big picture. This is a pattern with which I’ve become very familiar over my lifetime, and every time I encounter it, I have a choice: I can continue to brace myself against whatever change is happening, giving my attention to things that drain my time and energy — OR — I can lean into the change… I can take the first step, even when I don’t know what the next step will be; even when I haven’t found my bearings and haven’t figured out the solution to every detailed question that I’ve posed in my head. I can let myself be a beginner, rather than waiting to miraculously become an expert at something I have never done before. And I can choose to allow myself learn from my patterns, rather than being subject to them. None of this feels easy at first. Fear presents itself again and again. But courage is not the absence of fear; it’s going forward in the face of fear. This mirrors the creative process: sometimes the biggest challenge is beginning. Opening the palette. Putting pen to paper. Trusting the process. And so, today, I begin.
Question: Do you know how old I’ll be by the time I learn to play the piano?
Answer: The same age you will be if you don’t.
(Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way)