Show Up

This week I had a really hard time getting a post ready to go out this morning. I started two posts and kicked out about 1,200 words in each one before feeling like the subject matter just wasn’t quite right. I was frustrated and I felt blocked. This happens from time to time, in particular with my writing. I don’t like putting out shabby products and I want to share as much thought provoking content as possible, but can everything be the most deep jewels of wisdom? Short answer, no.

I once had a close friend who was an artist. He often quoted another famous artist whom he had studied in school. The quote by the artist whose name I can’t remember went something along the lines of, “You don’t receive inspiration and then produce the work. You work and eventually the inspiration comes.” In other words, you have to show up to the canvas everyday and draw. Magic happens in the midst of the work.

I won’t lie, I get a little high when I write something that really resonates with people. However, when you post once a week, you probably aren’t going to strike gold on a weekly basis. It probably would hurt my writing if my sole aim was to create sensational content to get shares and likes… sound familiar. Sometimes I have let you know that I struggle too. As a matter of fact, most of the time I struggle. I would say that most days I get up, my body doesn’t feel like it wants to workout but I do it anyway. When I sit down to read something, it’s usually hard to get started but I do it anyway. Something I’m battling with right now is making a conscious effort to reach out and call people. It’s hard but If I want to maintain relationships from a distance I have got to do the work.

Eventually, I realized that even though I hadn’t yet produced something I felt was worthy of your time, I had done the work to show up and write. We don’t get to the magic unless we get on the road and do the work. Most of the time it’s boring. Same ole stuff, over and over again. Some of you may have heard me say this many times before, but that’s the invitation to look for nuances and insights that don’t come without repetition.

Maybe this message is particularly important right now. Being stuck at home or your typical forms entertainment being altered may have a lot of us feeling bored and demotivated. Good. It gives us an opportunity to appreciate life in a new way and recommit to making little simple boring everyday steps towards progress in our own lives. I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I have been doing solo Mixed Martial Arts drills since the first lock-down started back in late March. Initially it was frustrating but I’ve realized that this time is not only helping me focus on some basic MMA skills but it’s giving me some time to get my diet back in order. The last two years I’ve been eating lots of sugar and though I haven’t gained only a little weight, I can feel it. The last couple weeks (with the help of my partner) I’ve gotten my eating habits back on track. I can feel it in my workouts already. I would love to be in the gym but I know from experience that simple things like diet and sleep have a profound effect on learning and recovery in the gym.

Also, this time that I’m not in the gym gives the ability to replenish some of the financial reserves that I depleted making the move across the country a few weeks ago. MMA memberships cost anywhere from $100-$200 per month. Putting that money back for now makes my financial footing more solid when I do start back up. All this and, incrementally, I’m getting a little sharper every week with the drills that I do. Again, most days I don’t feel like it and I often wonder whether I’m wasting my time, but if I want to fight one day why wouldn’t I show up and do what I can?

The virus is in no way an excuse to stop moving forward. We will have to be creative. We will have to direct or energy towards things that are accessible though not ideal. Most certainly, we will have to overcome our own feelings of apathy and the temptation to say, “What’s the point?” A better question is, “What’s the alternative?”

What are some goals you had before the pandemic began? What barriers has the pandemic created to progress in those areas? How have you made adjustments to those challenges? Big or small, life is all about problem solving.

-Travis

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