Difficulty at the Beginning

Change is hard. When we want to change ourselves, our behaviours and our lives, the change can be even harder; often, we remain blind to the patterns that we remain trapped within. As soon as we begin shifting a pattern, the mind resists. Our brain has become wired into these old patterns and habits, and when we try to change them we have to craft a whole new way. Cutting and hacking a new pathway through a thick forest is a lot harder than driving on a smooth well-known highway. Just facing the forest can be hard, even if the highway takes us to a place over and over again that we don’t want to end up: the forest is dark, difficult to go through, and we truly don’t know the path will lead us; we can only hope it will come out in a sunny clearing eventually.

When I first started this blog, I had no idea how much work it would take to work on myself and to change my perception of myself, of other people, and of the world. I only knew that I couldn’t live the way that I was. Now as time goes by it gets easier: not because it got easier to hack my way through the forest, but because I know how hard it will be to keep going, and I feel prepared. Like I can see how difficult the adventure is, and I started enjoying the challenge. Over time I feel much more certain of my ability to figure things out, to look after myself (or to ask for help), and to feel confident that I will be able to handle whatever comes.

I was reading about this concept of “beginner’s mind”, and thinking about how I can maintain a mindset of openness and exploration, without getting overconfident or assuming that I know how things will go. It has been such an important part of my process to feel confidence in myself and to trust this sense of inner knowledge or clarity that I have, and now it feels like a task to balance confidence with holding no expectations. I told my therapist L. that I want to finish my sessions in the next few months and that I want to wrap things up. Sometimes when I go to sessions now I feel like I have nothing to say, I just sit there mentally searching for things to discuss. I feel this strong pull inside myself that I want to be alone, I want to look after myself on my own, I want to “test” my competence and see how I go. The process feels strange, and like I am walking into a new beginning of independence. I have hope that it will go well, and at the same time I am trying to keep it in the back of my mind that maybe without therapeutic support, maybe I go downhill again. Who knows? I am nervous to take the next step, and at the same time I am confident that it is the right thing for me. When I told L. that I wanted to be finished, and that I wanted to try looking after myself, we agreed to do some sessions to “double-check” everything that we had gone through, and to make sure that I really am doing okay. And then… I go!

It feels big. And good. And then I keep thinking about how excited I am about everything else I still am working on, and everything that is still to come. What comes next to test my courage, my ability to learn, what will come to open my mind and to expand my world?

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