Taking the initiative

A decade of working independently means I’m very familiar with those times where suddenly there’s no work, no leads, no clear direction, no motivation — all at once. And very familiar with that panicked feeling that I really should be doing something productive towards bringing in work and leads and the rest. And, then, very familiar with the way that the next piece of work never comes from where I expected it to — every time proving that the panicked feeling was unfounded and the panicked response pointless.

All that matters is those moments where you take the initiative. Deliberately, consciously, choosing to make a move.

You change your life when you take the initiative. It’s like changing tracks. It’s opening up a brand new path. Plugging into something new.

And every time I take the initiative, I add to the total number of initiatives running in my life. The more initiatives I have, the less focus I can put on any one initiative. Like having a lot of browser windows open. A lot of programs running in the background. Optimum performance may be compromised if too many initiatives are operating simultaneously.

So it’s important to end initiatives too. To notice when they’re done and wrap them up and close them down and let them go unambiguously. Like cleaning off a blackboard before you start work. A clean slate. A blank canvas. Space to work in.

How often do I take the initiative to do something that matters? Not just lunch or washing-up or going to the shops. Not on the scale of “this day” but on the scale of “this life”? Deliberately? Consciously?

How often, when I take the initiative, is it based on less than all of me? Arising from just an addictive itch? Or a superficial intellectual curiosity? How often can I say that when I am taking the initiative it is a whole-hearted, natural, full-bodied expression of who I am?

Those moments, those moments where I can say that, those are the moments that matter. Where I take my whole self along with me when I set out on a new journey.

And, in between, when I am in those spaces before taking the initiative, then nothing matters. The inconsequential detail of desires and wishes and worries and thinking. They can float by. They lead nowhere.

In those spaces before taking the initiative, my job is to keep the slate clean. To be ready.

If there is a path that runs through me, I’ll keep it clear.

If I am a space where life can play itself out, then I’ll be empty.

Happy to be empty and clear.