I am a person who has never had trouble starting . . . anything. I can start a project, a relationship, a book, dinner for seven, all with that reckless beginner’s enthusiasm. But stop? Just stop? That is a challenge.
My sister Deirdre got me to thinking this week about how I hide in productivity. I work and work, write books, say “yes” to any request, and sometimes those yes’s are good and helpful to my family, and sometimes they are just to keep from feeling what I’m feeling. Feel frightened? Start researching a new book or business relationship. Feel pain or regret? Clean the whole house, top to bottom, throw away everything that isn’t tied down. Feel guilt or shame? Bake. There’s always baking.
I find myself in a place now, a place that scares the hot chocolate out of me, where everything is stopping, and I have to feel. I may be breaking out in hives as I write these words – it feels that uncomfortable. But I’m trying to stand in the fire and see what it has to teach me. I read this week that the answer to pain is in the pain. I’ve just never let myself feel it long enough to hear what it’s trying to tell me.
I feel like I have no tools for stopping. All my tools are for starting. Get up. Get going. Get ‘er done. I am a self-starter, not a self-stopper. But here I go anyway. Stopping.
The silence scares me. There’s no rush of wind passing. No applause for stopping, for not doing something. There is no newness, no boldness or adventure.
Or is there?