“There is something useful in our wavering that needs to be honored. It gives us an experience of contrast: how we feel about our involvement with life when we are conscious and deliberate about what we are doing, compared with how we feel when we are just going through the motions. It is important to feel the difference and that is all we need do in order to grow into fulfillment. That is– and this is the great leap of faith required– once we begin to trust life. The more we trust life, the more fluid our practice becomes. The more fluid our practice becomes, the more enjoyable and natural it is.” – Joseph Jastrab, senior teacher at the Hero’s Journey Foundation
Everything wavers. We’re imperfect beings. We fall down and get up. We fail, we learn, we try again. We remember, we forget, then we remember again, then we forget again.
I remember reading somewhere that if you watch the moon’s ascent in the sky against something vertical, like a tree, you’ll see that it moves left to right and back again on its ascent. What a pleasure to notice that little detail the night on my parents’ farm I looked and saw it in action. This is not the only way the moon wavers – as it gets closer to full the moon is pulled closer to the earth. You can see time lapse photography here http://dumbscientist.com/archives/the-moon-wobbles of the moon’s phases where it becomes clear just how much the moon moves towards and away from the earth.
If you’ve spent any time watching butterflies, you’ll know they’re not the peregrine falcons of flying insects. They are incredibly unpredictable (Maybe that’s why Nicole Kidman is afraid of them) and don’t seem to cover any major distance. Yet every year they migrate all the way to Mexico and back. Neither you or I can do that!
The moon wobbles, butterflies don’t fly straight to Mexico. Everything follows its own path. Dumb statements like “failure is not an option” sink change possibilities. All great things in your life came from failure to something perfectly, from wavering. Wavering, wobbling, forgetting. They’re going to be part of your ritual experience. Let them in as honored guests. If you do, you open to the possibility that faith, trust, fluidity and enjoyment will live with you and your ritual.
There is a paradox here of course – you need to be faithful to your ritual otherwise nothing will grow. Yet if you try to do it perfectly with a fearful, clenched attitude, you’ll lose the pleasure and benefits waiting for you in the ritual. As a song by southern rock band 38 Special goes, “hold on loosely but don’t let go.” Everything wavers. Let your ritual be faithful, wavering, enjoyable and natural.
This post is part of a series on using persistence to create lasting personal change for the better. Forty Days to a Change for Good is part of Quixote Consulting’s Change Quest change management training and Resiliency: Five Keys to Success training. Research shows it takes at least 30 days to make a positive change in your life that lasts. This post is part of a series by Rob Fletcher that examines what makes change initiatives work, what makes them fail, and how daily rituals support positive changes you want to make.