• Elizabeth Bartasius

Starting is a Bitch: How I overcome the anxiety of beginning anything (Part 2)

Starting is the hardest part, of course.

It’s ease to stay on the couch, in a thankless job or in a story of anger-hate-blame-fear…until you move.

Then you know life’s worse back there, and it’s better in motion, stepping in time with the entire universe of energy.

Still, I find the Starting point the most difficult.

Which is why, when I’ve let go of my morning excercise routine, it takes me three months before I get back to it.

Or why when I’ve finished a book or a writing piece, I linger in no-man’s land for weeks or months before starting a new novel-essay-work.

The Start is a bitch.

Leaving the orbit of where you are and taking a step anywhere, I have found, is one of the most difficult things I do.

But I’ve learned some tricks and I know that “an object in motion, stays in motion” so the ONLY hurdle I have to overcome is the anxiety of beginning.

How to Set the Bar

I begin by setting the bar.Real, real low.

So low, you hardly know there is a bar there, like a drainage tube, still half-buried in the dirt.

If you don’t look to the ground you may not realize you are walking over something.

Once the low bar is set, then, I move.

Through the bar, over the bar, under the bar.

Any which damn way feels so easy and light.

Sometimes it’s writing for 10 minutes, because I just can’t bare to sit there for 15.

Sometimes it walking 30 feet (because 30 minutes sounds like a beast). I don’t tour the neighborhood, instead I moozy up the hill and watch the hermit crab colony make a ‘fast’ getaway, doped up on the coffee grinds we dump there.

Success need not be measured by the start.

Though, there are days when I give a whooping high five to my honey, simply because I started!

I found this definition of the word “start”:

“come into being; begin or be reckoned from a particular point in time or space.”

Start is to come into being.

To come into your being.

For me, it’s to come into my being, from exactly where I am.

If I’m in a depression and lying on the couch, I start from there.

If I’ve lost all my money and don’t know where to turn, I start from there.

When I lost my home and my rental properties and photos and everything in Hurricane Katrina, I started from there.

When I put my book down for years and stopped writing and felt the weight of “quitting” heavy on my conscious, I started from there.

Each time, I came into being from that place.

Wishing Life Where Another Way

Make no mistake, I wanted to start from somewhere else.

I wanted to start with an energetic body and mind,

…with gobs of money in my bank account,

…with a best-selling novel already under my belt.

I wanted to start from where “culture norms” deemed I ought to be.

I wanted to start from an easy place.

But that is not always an option.

When I don’t resist where I am, then the starting is easier.

When I resist, when I fight what is so, when I argue with what I think “should be or have been,” movement in any direction becomes difficult.

When I accept where I am, then all that energy I use up on the fighting is suddenly available for starting. For coming into being.

When I’m becoming, I’m happy. I’m light. And all feels right in the world.

The Fun of Starting

Now, once I’ve started, that is where the fun begins.

That is where I don’t know where the next day will take me.

Starting has always lead me somewhere.

And those somewheres add up to a life that I’m proud to live, with all the good and all the bad.

My goal is to keep moving, and gather up a lifetime of somewheres.

A treasure collections of fetishes and friends and homemade pizza nights and swims in the ocean.

Jobs that lead to another job that lead to another encounter with an fascinating person that lead to insights and growth and expansion.

I’m going to keep moving.

To not move is to go against the laws of the universe.

When I’m stuck, stagnant, stalled, waiting, I’m not living in alignment with my self-expression.

All I have to do is get out of bed, walk the dog, shoot some turmeric tonic, pour a cup of tea.

And write one sentence.

Make one phone call.

Give one hug.

Say one prayer.

Acknowledge someone I haven’t acknowledged before.

From there I build momentum.

From the lowest of lowest bars I set, I live my best life.

From the menial tasks and the stubbornness to move a toe, I’ve written books, traveled the world, moved to an island, married the most perfect man for me, and found so many of the successes I longed for.

I will continue to live, starting from the low bar.

From the low bar, I live my highest expression.

All I have to do is MOVE.

Direction rarely matters.

I’ve often started off in ways that looked nothing like my dreams.

Yet, I’ve found that I always find my way back to my course, no matter how many detours I take.

So, I’ve learned ‘The thing’ I do doesn’t matter.

The destination doesn’t matter; as the end game is not nearly at important as the start game.

Likely, you know this already.

You’ve experienced it yourself.

You may be wondering, why is she still talking about this?

Because while, I know all this intellectually, and I’ve experienced it, over and over, still there are moments I resist.

I’m getting better at recognizing when I’m stuck.

I’m faster at letting go of my “shoulds”

And most days I’m adept at the “low-bar, easy-peasy” start.

At times, though I still fight. I still wish things where somehow different.

Which is why I’m writing this now.

To remind myself that today I will start.

It’s Monday as I’m writing to you now. So, today I will start my week, even though I want to lounge and linger like I did yesterday, that blessed Sunday lime.

I will start my week.

I will start my writing practices.

I already walked.

I will cook, eat.

I will get to work and do what I need to do, no matter how boring.

And to start, I will set the bar low. Five minutes on the egg timer. One quick action. Then another.

Confidence will build.

Interest will spark.

Because I am becoming.

And, hallelujah, you are also becoming.

And I can’t think of anything better to do with our lives than to be and become.

In whatever ways we choose.

Remember to read Part 1: “Moving is Not Up for Grabs: How to Get Unstuck.”