Self improvement is hard for me in ways that are difficult to define. I don't lack for the skills involved in introspection. I don't lack for support from people around me who love me. I don't lack for motivation (Someplace in my dna there is a code that is written clearly and decisively. It states, "Do not rest until you have found all of the ways you can be a better human being and have tried them on for size." We probably all have this actually.). My problem is that when my brain was developing, external influences repeatedly, consistently, and over a long period of time, hammered home the idea that improving too much is a very bad thing. It's so bad, my brain thinks, that it threatens my very survival.
Have you ever held a water balloon in your hand, palm up with it balanced there gentle, like it's resting all placid on a hammock? Have you ever then gradually curled your fingers inward around the balloon, gently applying pressure to the central body? What happens?
The water moves away from the source of the pressure, into areas of the balloon with less resistance. You now have a water balloon that has adapted to find a misshapen path of least resistance. It's imbalanced and unwieldy. The tension created promises of disaster. With any movement of the hand, it's position can shift in unpredictable ways. With the effort of greater possession and control comes an increased potential for chaos.
This is what it feels like for me to improve parts of my life. When I work on one issue others spin out of control. There is a kind of peace when my hand is cupped and supporting the weight of what I am. But it's not the kind of peace that allows change. It's a caged kind of peace with no hope for change. It's keeping on. It's standing still. It's still waters.
I want the water to flow.
This is the struggle with coming back to my work, back to the world of art and nature and words, and all of the amazingly beautiful people I know who embrace those things. I'm fighting for it but the path is murky and hampered with my strong willed tug of war between the need to survive and the desire to thrive.