‘Reaching for the Stars’…and Other Motivational Nudges

reach for the stars

Sometimes the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak-so weak. Intentions will be the death of me. The constant planning will drive me insane, I tell you. What is it about me –I’m desperate to know- that makes me so good at meaning to do things, charting courses, mapping the way, but never taking that first step that is said to be at the beginning of the thousand-mile long journey?

Am I afraid? Am I just lazy?

Every day my alarm goes off at 7 am-a beautiful time to wake up if you ask me. The sun is already up, but hasn’t been up so long that the day is just hot and energy-sucking. It’s not cold out, and all around you, you can feel people’s days starting. Someone leaving for work, shops opening. It’s halfway in between silence and noise. It’s just right. In fact, I have dreamed my whole life of having days that start at 7 am, especially throughout high school when we were required to be up at 5 am- a cruel thing to ask of anyone if you ask me. I mean, it’s practically still night. It’s dark, it’s freezing cold, and, to kick a struggling student when she’s already down, you make sure water that is a few Degrees Celsius short of being ice is all she has for her ablutions. I would wake up at that 5, sigh in despondence, consider doing something so drastic that I’d have to get suspended so I could go home…discard that silly idea upon remembering what my parents were like, and then think, ‘I deserve a few more minutes at least, then’. Of course I would then wake up a few minutes before the door to the House was locked, and would have to return and take a bath later that day during the 11 am break, and consequently stay hungry until lunch time, all because I’m a girl and cannot skip the whole cleanliness-is-next-to-godliness shindig.

Anyway, my resentment for the education system aside, here I am, with nothing stopping me from waking up at the glorious hour of 7 o’clock, and I still am a slave to that darned button from productivity hell: snooze. It has been years since high school, and while my dreams fly high up at that magical place where I won’t ever have to work a 9 to 5, I’m still down here. On my bed. Wondering what to wake up to.

Recently, as I was walking along University Way, all I was aware of was how compressed I felt inside. Like someone had taken all that I am and put it in a really small box. No, not like the-box-you-visualize-your-engagement-ring-in small. More like a quarter of that box. And this is assuming you’re not one of those sinfully rich folks who splurge on diamond rings as big as my torso. It felt something like how you feel when you’re in an elevator with thirteen other people in it and the guy next to you is a drunk who hasn’t had the luxury of a bath since the Second World War. And you’re going all the way to 12th floor. All 14 of you. Suffocating and cramped up. That was the feeling.

Sometimes you realize that you have so much within you that you probably should let it out into the world because that is the only way it will become greater than you…

And sometimes you also realize that there is a very real and very high possibility that it will remain trapped within you because you can’t wish your fear or laziness or excuses away.

That was the feeling.

Anyway, that day I walked carefully. I seemed to be the only one dressed in such slight apparel. Considering how draped everyone else seemed to be, I felt naked in my short dress and scarf. But I loved it. The early morning air has always made me happy. That time is the perfect time to dream. The perfect time to write. It had rained earlier and the highway looked so clean that I grinned at the glistening tarmac. Because it didn’t just look clean, it looked cleansed. Like the marks of everything that had gone upon it had been washed away. The phrase ‘clean slate’ came to mind. Notice how I’m giving such spirituality to a road. Anyway, I wanted that suddenly. Not a road. A clean slate. I’m the type of person that messes up and wants to start over. Every damn time. I like the concept of a God of second chances. Now, granted, mine can no longer be called ‘second’ chances, but He doesn’t give up on us, you know? But again, how will I ever get where I’m going if I’m always starting over?

I decided that morning that I wanted more. I wanted to know what I was capable of. I wanted my self in all its fullness; no excuses, no fear. For how long would the weakness of the flesh overrule the willingness of the spirit? I wanted to meet my dreams all over again- to wake up to them every morning. I’m pretty sure that is what my mother means when she goes on and on about intrinsic motivation.

My shadow stretched before me that morning, and it looked so elegant. No, really, it did. It looked nothing like the awkwardness I embody. She just walked like she knew what she was in life, with all the confidence of someone who has gotten to that point, self-actualization. And for a moment, I wanted to trade places with her. She didn’t feel the pressure. She was content with her lot in life. Yes, just then, I wanted to trade with my shadow. I mean, sometimes she can even disappear. You get the gravity of that, don’t you?

But then…no. She could only do what I did. She had no will of her own, whether she was in front of me, behind me or right at my feet. She was subject to me. Subject to light.

And then I knew I was going to be okay; I would figure it out.

I am no one’s shadow. And anything is possible.


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