Argue for Your Limitations

A few weeks ago, I told a friend of mine that I spend about an hour every morning writing in my journal. I began this practice last year when reading "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron. My friend was impressed, she told me, because she couldn't see herself having that kind of discipline.

I had to think about that one. For me, what looks like "discipline" is just a habit that I decided to cultivate—there's nothing particularly admirable about it one way or the other. I get up, make coffee and write. (Trust me: I have plenty of habits that I don't talk about except to say that I wish I didn't have them.)

The conversation got a little wonky for me after that and I admit it: my compassion flew out my left ear. My friend proceeded to tell me all the reasons she couldn't possibly write every morning: She didn't have time; she had things to do; she had to feed the dog. It all sounded reasonable, yet I found myself being annoyed with her.

Then, something a wise teacher once told me popped into my mind: Argue for your limitations and they are yours.

That one landed in my brain with a thunk. (Ouch)

I cannot change any aspect of myself while defending my right to be that way. Arguing for my limitations solidifies them, ensuring that I keep them in place. Someone else (I've had many wise teachers in my life) said that it was like gossiping about yourself, and we all know how productive gossip is.

Which brings me to the thought that got me writing this piece: I hate exercise. I've been saying it for so long that it's become true for me. It's the perfect mind game for me to avoid ever having to get into shape, which is at best, hard, sweaty work.

I've decided to change that particular conversation I've been having with myself. My new mantra: I enjoy using my body and being strong. Last week, I began taking yoga classes. I'll let you know how it goes.


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Then, something a wise teacher once told me popped into my mind: Argue for your limitations and they are yours. That one's a keeper. I have trouble writing in my journal, but I won't say it's due to a lack of time. I just don't think about it, even though it's sitting right on my desk next to me. Maybe it's because I need to clean off my desk. :-P



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