The Next Right Step

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My class is officially over, but my professor pushed our final paper back by a week and I have been utilizing my super procrastination skills so I’m not quite free yet. I thought about getting it done today, but I needed one day of no school work. I’ll tackle the paper early tomorrow and get it in the mail on Friday so that my weekend will be school free.

I feel like I have a lot of things in the air right now. Lots of ideas and intentions and my focus is scattered. I haven’t had this much time on my hands in a long time and I have so much I want to accomplish in these two months. I want to establish a daily writing practice again. I want to exercise daily, get better at yoga and get back into my body. I want to update my website, finish an e-book, build my coaching business and outline a new book series. I want to reorganize my house and put my recycled jewelry on Etsy.com. I want to finish my online professional development and study for the test I’ll be taking in August. I want to continue to learn about myself and work toward radical acceptance…

No wonder I feel scattered.

These are all awesome ideas and each one of those sentences above are worthy of my time and energy. However, I can’t focus on the details right now because I’m too busy focusing on all the things that I want to do. In essence, I am not being productive at all. Yes, I am making meals for myself and I did write three papers this month, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

I need to prioritize and choose the next right step.  I might not get even half of those things accomplished in the next two months. I may get all of it done and then some, but I won’t get anything done if I keep sitting here doing nothing.

Sometimes even positive things seem overwhelming. At least with me. Change has always been hard. Moving from a place of fear to a place of conscious action is scary, even though remaining still isn’t really an option anymore.

The cure is the next right step. One of my favorite quotes says the same thing. It gets at the same sentiment with a little more flair – “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” E.L. Doctorow

I have referenced this quote in quite a few posts here. It rings so true. It doesn’t have to apply to writing. It applies to just about anything you’re facing, I think.

Colorado is burning up, literally. Three digit temperatures, little rain, arson and lightening have ravaged my beautiful state. It is sad and awful and it seems overwhelming. So many families have lost their homes already. My extended family has had to evacuate in Colorado Springs and it doesn’t look good. I can’t even watch the news because it is too upsetting.

I’ve always loved fire escapes on old buildings. I took lots of pictures of them when I was in New York. I am not afraid of heights, but I can imagine how frightening it would be to try to escape a building on one of these narrow staircases when your brain is clouded by fear and smoke and uncertainly about whether you will make it to the ground safely. But you keep taking the next step because it is your only option. You move to survive.

My struggle to complete all these tasks and move these ideas into reality isn’t as dire as having to escape in a fire. My life isn’t on the line in any immediate way, but I worry that if I continue to sit and think instead of act that I’ll waste what opportunities I have been blessed with. I don’t want to be running down a fire escape some day, my arms full of memories, wishing I had had the courage to take the next right step and make my dreams come true when I had the chance.

I want the smoke to clear and know that I used my time wisely.

Today, I will take the next right step. What can you do today? What is your next right step? Let’s stop thinking and planning. Let’s act.

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