30 Day Writing Challenge Day #21 - When Frustration and Discouragement Rear Their Ugly Heads

AHHH - life can be frustrating at times. It always brings to mind the refrain from that oldie Mama Said by the Shirelles - "Mama said there'll be days like this. There'll be days like this, mama said (Mama said, mama said)."  We all have them. Those days that is feels like we've truly hit the wall. Nothing is easy.  We're not making progress.  Murphy's Law is in charge - "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong." And the list goes on.

The social isolation required to combat COVID-19 is definitely causing some frustration. I have worked from home for years and enjoy my time alone, but I also love my times out exploring new places or having one-on-ones with friends.  Right now, other than walks (alone or with my hubby) and trips for groceries, my world has totally shifted. I was great up until 2 days ago then hit the wall.

Then there are the challenges I've put to myself for my 2020 Year Of Marilyn Bucket List Challenge. Some are on hold until things open up again. Some have gone well. BUT, a few have been annoying and frustrating.  A simple thing like knit or crochet three items became a true test of wills. On one side was finishing 3 projects. On the other side was my long held relationship with procrastination as well as a tendency to get easily frustrated when things go south. In the past most projects were left half finished in the corner. I put this on my list to prove to myself I could hang in there, face the glitches and complete the projects. This journey wasn't easy as all 3 projects had to be taken apart several times. Discouraged - yes. Frustrated - yes. Glad to finish they all - Absolutely!  However it wasn't a joyful journey! You can read about one of my three projects HERE!

I hit another wall while working on a different item on my challenge list.  All my life I have told myself I couldn't jog. I tried a few times when the Sun Run training schedule came out and quit every time. I decided to put in on my list to show that even if not my natural talent, if I apply myself and do the work, I could succeed. So I set a goal of jogging 5K - nothing official, just along the river where I live. After several starts and stops I realized I needed to create kinder, gentler, slower paced training program - see it HERE. Initially that seemed to do the trick. However, after 4 weeks of repeating week one, and 2 weeks of embracing week two, I am still struggling. I just don't seem to be improving.  All I want is to see a little improvement. Do I keep going, or is it time to throw in the towel?

These are 2 non-emotional examples. I have others that are deeply personal and that are hard to share. Goals that mean a lot to me that I don't seem to be moving forward on are particularly hard to face as there is no one to blame but myself. I work from home. My kids are grown. My time is my own. And there are others.  How to deal with these dark and troubling emotions is never easy and the answer will be different for each of us. 

As I feel I am in one of those times now, I felt it would be good for me to come up with some questions I could ask myself that would help me focus. Next is to set aside some quiet time to consider these questions and see what ideas bubble up. Is this ringing a bell as something you'd like to try too? Great! But be sure to create a set of questions to consider that come from your heart. My list probably won't be your list. Here we go........................

1. Is this goal one I should continue to reach for or is it time to let move on? This question is a hard as no one wants to admit defeat.  I set the goals or challenges I did for a reason. Walking away feels like failure. However, I believe sometimes we are guided to embrace goals that are more about the journey than where we end up. Sometimes we are on this road because there is a new direction coming we can only embrace by walking the current path to that point. Then it's time to turn left and head a new, even better direction. Sometimes once we've learned the lesson meant for us, the goal is no longer relevant. Only our heart can tell us when a journey is at its end. 

2.  Is there a lesson here I need to learn to help me reach the finish line? Part of reaching your goal is dealing with those hurdles that come along the way. It's not about the end, it's about how your walk each step along the way. It's all about growth.   This is a big one for me and really came into play with the knit/crochet challenge. The answer that time was the process of restarting was the lesson I needed to experience, not just once but several times.  I also had to embrace the lesson of the beauty found in imperfection.  Until I embraced those lessons, I wasn't able to reach the end goal. Finishing meant more to me because of it. I'm not sure yet if this applies to the 5K challenge yet.

3. Is the frustration and discouragement I'm feeling really about something else?  OOH, this can be a profound one. When we're feeling down, sometimes we reach for what we feel is bothering us - the most likely thing or what's in front of us at the time.  But when we really get quiet and allow our heart to speak, something unexpected can bubble up. There can be a hidden problem that we didn't even realize was poking us that applies to way more than the frustration in front of us.  It's a hurdle we don't see, and it's holding us back and distracting us from our path.

4. What is my heart saying ? Not my head, my heart?  In the end I believe our intuition is the best source for what direction to take.  Our head gets all caught up in our internal programming, societal pressures, have-to's and musts learned along the way, and more.  To sit still and let our heart speak will bring out what's good for our soul.  It's quieting the noise that can challenge most of us.  And the solution one time may not work another time. One summer I had to jump on my bike and ride hard for 45 minutes.  My mind started to quiet about half way through and then I could hear my heart speak.  This time around I need to try a different approach. No, I'm not sure what that is yet. 

Now that I have my list to guide me, it's time to figure out just the right way to quiet my mind so I can hear my heart speaking.  If you are struggling too, I hope you can find the same.