On my yoga mat, I can strike the balance between action and inaction, effort and surrender. (Sometimes I’m tired and the most “action” I can eek out is getting to the class. Yogis, you know.)
But off the mat, it’s hard to find time for appropriate action (for how long have you been trying to finish that painting?) or motivation (do you only deep-clean the house when the in-laws are coming?) We come up with excuses and then feel guilty that another day has gone by without having done ________.
In Last Night in Montreal, by Emily St. John Mandel, Eli struggles with how his brother seems to be “accomplishing” so much while he’s just wasting away in a menial existence in Brooklyn. His brother sends postcards from various exotic locales, where he does noble and exciting work. Eli says, “These letters come from these unbelievable places because one day years ago he decided to travel, so he travels. He doesn’t talk about travel. He doesn’t theorize about travel. He just buys a ticket and goes. It isn’t [my job] that’s been bothering me, it’s the inaction… All the theorizing we do. Everyone talks about being an artist, everyone theorizes about their art, but no one actually does anything. No one ever takes the leap.”
This is my current struggle. More action, less thinking about the action. It’s what I tell people when I’m teaching them handstand. And they kick up. And they succeed.