The first month of the year has swooped by. How are things going for you? Did you make any resolutions? Did you come into this year determined to make that change? It seems like a conducive time, the beginning of a new year, having returned from a holiday break, feeling relaxed and enlightened to make these proclamations, draw up these plans and be determined that things will be different this time.
How long, we wonder, did it last before the reality of living and working in this world set in? Don’t feel bad. Change is hard. Change takes huge effort. Effort you may not have had the capacity for with everything else happening in your life.
We often say that most people want change but very few want to change. There is a desire to have a different life, feel differently, do differently in whatever area is giving the most pain but the work required to change habits to achieve the desired outcome usually proves too difficult. One has to first of all show up for the change and then to commit long enough for it to become part of the brain’s new way of doing things.
Nasturtiums showing up in their beautiful red colours
A case in point
Our current research project is a case in point. Through various avenues we invited people who suffer from anxiety to take part in a three session programme to test the effectiveness of our process in a one on one context. There is no charge other than the commitment to show up for three sessions.
Twenty five individuals responded to the initial invitation. Eighteen jumped through the hoops of ethical clearance and completed the onboarding registration process. Fifteen actually set up their three sessions. To date it is a realistic expectation that of those, seven will complete the three session programme.
Technical difficulties and bandwidth constraints aside, more than half of those who will not complete the program did not show up for one or more sessions. This past Friday all three of the booked sessions were a no show, some for the second time.
Showing up (on time) is the hardest part
They just had to show up
They got reminders, they chose the dates and times. All of them got relief in their first session. All they needed to do was show up. They didn’t. M. Scott Peck, in his well known book, The Road Less Travelled calls this laziness. As alarming as it sounds, we are all lazy at some point of our lives, none of us are exempt. He says:
“And no matter how seemingly and spiritually evolved we are, there is still a part of us, however small, that does not want us to exert ourselves, that clings to the old and familiar, fearful of any change or effort, desiring comfort at any cost and absence of pain at any price, even if the penalty be ineffectiveness, stagnation or regression.”
Chantal does Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. At every yoga class Adriene says: “You showed up, that’s half the job done today.” It is half the job done. No work can be done if you’re not there to do it.
There’s lazy and then there’s lazy!
We've all been lazy
Even just showing up can be difficult so we salute all of those that have not only shown up, but stuck it out for our research project. We have compassion for those that could not. We’ve all been there, been “lazy” in the M. Scott Peck manner. Afraid of the exertion, the discomfort and the unpleasantness of facing ourselves.
To change means we need to look ourselves in the face, acknowledge the messiness, the disappointment and failures, the hurt given and received, and show up anyway. On the mat, the meditation cushion, in front of the therapist, on the page, or field. We just have to show up. Have you? Can you? We urge you to. Even if you do nothing else, just show up, it will make all the difference.
Until next time,
Yours in feeling,
Chantal & Matthew
PS: It’s Oscar Challenge time. The nominations have been announced. There are twenty movies that we need to have watched before the awards ceremony. These include Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Animation nominations. Thankfully there is some overlap and we have had our eye out for potential nominees so we “only” have eight movies left to watch.
If you are a movielover, curious about the challenge or want movie recommendations drop us a line.
About the author
5th Place offers specialised psychological services in the form of coaching and therapy for immediate relief from stress, anxiety, & other mental health challenges. It works fast, deep and quick. For individuals and groups, children, teens and adults.