Tuesday, July 5, 2011

As I struggle (stumble? fumble?) forwards in my quest at growth I come upon an aporia.

On the one hand is the theory that in order to love one’s self one must accept one’s own limitations. I.E. I accept that my writing is what it is without beating myself up for my perceived lack of talent, actual lack of discipline or failure to deliver the rather grandiose idea I had in my head. I try to focus on this quest for self acceptance by accepting my limitations without punishing myself.

On the other hand is the theory that one cannot determine one’s own limitations without pushing oneself beyond one’s perceived limitations. This is an idea I know about first hand. Having been through two black belt tests I can say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I can do much more than I think I can.

In karate, at least, this is a relatively easy concept. You feel a variety of highly unpleasant physical sensations and from that you draw the conscious thought of “I’m gonna puke” or “I’m gonna pass out”. The push comes in when, instead of sitting down or tapping out, you just keep going until that perceived inevitably comes (i.e. until you actually puke or pass out.) As I said, having been through this a few times, I can now definitively say that my body is capable of far more than I think it is because despite having those thoughts on many occasions I have yet to puke or pass out during a test.

Now, that is a concrete, time-limited example and doesn’t really apply to the long haul I face with life growth. However, in theory, I can most certainly see the application.

The idea of self love and acceptance is a little more diffuse because there are little moments here and there where you do well or fall back, but there’s no real end. The end of growth is death, at least within the realm of understanding we have in our life span. So until I take my last breath I should, in theory, be getting better.

I’ve been seeking and getting feedback from a lot of people on this recently. What I’ve been told is that the only answer to this conundrum is to trust one’s gut. My gut, they tell me, knows what’s right. Without logic or reasoning or philosophical debate my gut should be able to tell me whether or not I’m on the right path.

The problem I’ve been discovering is that by being so caught up in my head I’ve not only lost touch with my heart but my gut as well. I try to listen to that voice inside me that knows what to do and I find love, but not action. Yes, my heart loves me, can heal me, can help me accept myself. But often I only get that by standing still. Not doing anything. I focus on the being part of it but lose the doing.

The problem with that, obviously enough, is that part of being is doing. I can’t be a 2nd Dan without doing 2nd Dan level techniques and forms on a regular basis. And I certainly can’t say I’m writer if I don’t write. (I don’t even like to call myself a writer now even though I have a whole blog for it and a challenge to produce a certain amount of new material towards that end.)

The true solution, if there is such a thing when it comes to a dilemma like this, has yet to come to me. At the moment, all I’ve got is the intent to keep writing, keep producing and inching (at a snail’s pace) closer to that large goal of 211 posts while trying to put as little pressure (and, more relevantly, guilt) on myself as possible. I would like, in an ideal world, to write not out of guilt for having not written but rather out of desire to get an idea or a story or something written down for *gasp!* fun. What a concept, huh?


  1. Obviously you need to write until you puke or pass out.

    Ever since I learned that the truth lies within us all contradictions bother me a lot less. After all, if the truth can lie....

  2. Write untilI puke or pass out- the answer was there the whole time! How silly of me! Thanks Tim!!


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