You are never, ever going to feel like it.
I do not ever feel like getting up when my alarm goes off at 3:30 am. Not one single day since I started this whole crazy morning writing thing have I felt like waking up. I do not want to get out of my cozy bed. I do not want to trudge across the cold kitchen floor. I do not want to fight with the dog about how much time is a good time to spend outside at 3:30 am. I do not want to do any of that. What I want to do, is sleep until like 7, then write, then go on a hike and maybe stroll into work about 11. That is what I want to do. Like every day.
But I don’t do that. Instead, I wake up, pad to the kitchen in my slippers, genuflect to the Keurig God, let the dog out and pray that she isn’t going to make me chase her all over the backyard to come back in, impatiently wait for the benevolent ruler of my morning routine, Lord God Keurig, to provide me the sweet nectar I need to function. I fill my cup, grab my computer and get the dog in. Some mornings this is as simple as opening the door, other days it is a 20 minute ordeal involving me running around in my underwear in the backyard, cussing at her and swearing a great deal. I am sure my neighbors love this...especially the one that hates me.
But I do it every day. Every fucking day.
I didn’t used to do it. I didn’t used to do a lot of things. Today, I am free to have all sorts of practices that I have tried to have for years but lacked the discipline to sustain. I have started so many things in my life: work out routines, meditation practices, yoga practices, diets and they all failed for the same reason. At one point in time, I decided I didn’t feel like it and I obeyed that feeling like my life depended upon it.
About a year ago, I had this epiphany:
Who cares if you feel like it? Do it anyway.
What the actual fuck? Who just said that?
I kind of blew my own mind. It occurred to me that the whole of my life occurred and didn’t occur right on this razor sharp edge. So much I wanted and needed to do but those pesky feelings got in the way and completely sabotaged my effort and intentions. Leaving me sitting on the couch or in bed not really doing much of anything at all.
So I started playing with the resistance point. I started noticing that how I felt was actually a signal of me interfering in my own best interest. I seemed to innately have good ideas about ways to improve my life, but I had to get around myself first and it turns out I am pretty subtle foe.
So I began experimenting...it went kind of like this:
Alarm blaring and me reaching for the snooze button.
What if you just got up now?
Um, no, that is a horrible idea.
There you are resisting again. Let go. Just get up.
This is the worst idea you have ever had in your entire life. Shut up and go back to sleep for eight minutes.
God you are such an asshole. And to further piss you off, we are getting up.
I hate you, I really, really loathe you.
I win. (Laughing all the way on the daily pilgrimage to the coffee holy ground).
And so it began. I beat myself. I went around the asshole that is always telling me no. It kind of became a game I played with myself. As soon as resistant me showed up, I had this new willingness to fuck with her every chance I got. Whatever she told me no about, I just did anyway. It didn’t matter that it caused her to scream at me or cry or throw a fit. Like the ninja mother of a toddler throwing a fit in the Target check out line, I put the legos back and then proceeded to buy the rest of the things I needed while the toddler screamed the scream of death. I told the clerk to have a nice day while the thrashing child clawed at my face in rage. It was really kind of like that some days.
I realized that the asshole me that always tells me no has a very strong and powerful NO. But I realized something else too. She can’t hang very long. She really only has about five seconds of resistance. She is very authoritative for five-seconds but then she folds like a towel hot out of the dryer. Quick and easy.
I was amazed at how long this tyrant self ruled my life with what seemed like the Russian Army backing her, when in reality it was just her with a really big voice that scared me into never really challenging her all that much. She used fear tactics and didn’t fight fair. She used my own feelings against me. But finally, I saw through her clever but transparent facade and began resisting my own resistance.
Now I get up at 3;30 everyday...well almost every day. She has won some battles. Mostly, I win because it no longer matters to me how I feel about it. I know that my feelings are being used against me. I know that I am being treated like shit and getting in my own way. I know her methodology which has rendered it now almost useless.
Now I just do it anyway. Sometimes this is easy and I am totally aware of what is going on. Other times she is very effective at making me doubt every possible reason I have to buck her system. But I have a plan of attack that renders her defenseless. I just do it anyway. I don’t have to want to, I don’t have to feel like it. I just do it anyway.
Sometimes, she wins because I let her. But even those times, she isn’t really winning, because I know what I am doing and I am not blindly following the feelings she is throwing at me. What started out as a whimsical experiment, has revolutionized my life. So much so that I have made this the secret to life #2! That is pretty fucking up there. And it deserves to be ranked so high because this secret has allowed me to go beyond where I could ever previously live.
Emily Dickinson said:
If your nerve deny you, then go above your nerve.