The Power of Discontent

I try to start each day with some writing. Sometimes I pour my heart into my journal pages. Sometimes, with the clickety-clack of the keyboard, I get my ideas flowing out of my head and onto the screen.

Sometimes these words are wonderings about life, art, the universe.

Sometimes they are gatherings of memories, inspirations and to-dos.

Sometimes they are celebrations of moments, achievements and joy.

Sometimes (more often than I care to admit) they are grumblings about worries, challenges and discontent.

This morning, it was discontent: “Look at all the things I want to be doing that I’m not doing! Look at all the things I need to do that aren’t getting done!! Why does time move so fast?!! What am I doing with my time??!”

GRRRAAARRRGGGGHHH!!!

It would be so easy to close the document and walk away, so easy to grab some chocolate and put on Netflix instead. Honestly? I’ve done that plenty of times. It’s only human to want distraction or soothing when we’re feeling grumbley. But this time I did something different: I made lists. I let my discontent spur me on.

Lists of Desires & Discontent*

  • Things I want to be doing more of – big and small
  • Things I’m not doing that I know would be good for me, even if they are uncomfortable or hard at the outset
  • Dreamy things (i.e. things that would be ​so awesome​ but seem ​out of reach)
  • Things I could be doing less of to make room for the above

Seeing my discontent, my desires and my choices laid out so clearly was both illuminating and energizing! I literally found myself sitting up taller and taller as I wrote. That GRRRAAARRRGGGHHH energy was channeled into information – information that I could use to make changes. Which led to another uncomfortable moment…

I ​have to make changes? What? 

GRRRAAARRRRGGGHHHH!!!

The thing is, when we feel discontent, we are usually very clear that we want/need ​something ​to change but that’s very different from wanting to make changes ourselves. In fact, there are inevitably things on our list that seem or are unchangeable. There are things we have little or no control over. For those things, I recommend having a conversation with the Universe, “Hey, U, do you see all this? Can you give me a hand here? I would so appreciate it.” (You can talk more reverently to the Universe. This is the just the way we are chatting these days.)

Once you’ve done that, start doing what you ​can ​do. ​Pick something, anything. Pick the first thing, the easiest thing, the hardest thing, the smallest thing, a random thing. Pick any thing and make a start. Don’t fret about what you can’t do until you’ve done all you can. Remember, you’ve already enlisted the Universe’s help for that stuff and she doesn’t like it when you micro-manage, especially when you’ve already admitted you don’t know how to do the job! Focus on your own work. Make a change. You will be surprised how much becomes clearer along the way.

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