How do you know when you're ready for something?
A lot of life can be lived with a "leap and the net will appear" approach: if you get an intuition in the moment, jump, and figure the rest out later. I love moments like those... but I find they rarely exist organically. Those moments (perhaps over-emphasized in dreamer stories and films) where everything has fallen into place for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and all that's required of a person is a leap of trust: they're not exactly every-day moments. Most daily 'leaps' are actually small, bite-size steps: a deep breath and a smile instead of your standard barrage of worry and negative self talk; an instinct to put your phone down and pick up that bedside book; a split second decision to say hello to a homeless person and ask if they'd like a coffee or a sandwich; an inspired path down a rabbit hole of research into something that excites you.
Sometimes you're 'ready' for these small leaps. Sometimes you just aren't. It's nothing to dwell on. We take on the deep fear and physical/mental challenges of what we can truly handle in any given moment, using the tools we already have. The more tools we pick up and practice with, the more equipped we feel in those moments of brave decision-making.
Equipped = Ready.
I used to really be harsh with myself when I noticed I wasn't ready for things. I wasn't ready to sing in front of people for so much longer than seemed 'normal'. I wasn't ready to swallow whole pills until I was 17 or 18 years old. I wasn't ready to give up cheese, or coffee, or sarcasm (and maybe never will be, fully). I wasn't ready to attend university straight out of high school. I wasn't ready to live and die in the Vancouver contemporary dance scene. I wasn't ready to champion my own worth, which led to settling for sub-par jobs and wages. I wasn't ready to leave Malaysia (so few of us were). I wasn't ready to get married.
Sometimes I did the thing I wasn't ready for anyway--often with catastrophic results. Sometimes I figured it out pretty quickly and pivoted my focus to something I felt more ready for. Sometimes I worked and waited patiently for the 'readiness' to happen on its own (depending on the pressure-level surrounding a thing, this can be such a refreshing, happy approach). Sometimes I dug in, picked up the tools that would ready and steady me, and felt the benefit of both self-improvement and achieving what I was scared of. Many times, a combination of approaches was used to get me to a state of readiness. Other times, I lost my verve for the accomplishment and gave up on the readiness for it, happily (exhibit A: giving up coffee).
Something interesting has been happening to me, markedly in 2020 and since we moved to our miracle-artist-haven-house. Readiness has washed over me, for things I didn't even know I had been preparing for. I suddenly feel ready to open up about my personal challenges, take on more difficult relationships and toxic interactions. I feel ready to have tough conversations from a place of unconditional love. I feel ready to crack books I had relegated to dust collection on my shelves, and absorb their content gleefully. I feel ready to take better care of my self/my food/my home/the people I love, and step forward into the vast unknown in my personal life, and in this massive global shift.
I feel ready, for things I've eluded or ignored as far back as I can remember.
I feel ready, to take in hard truths and process them with empathy, openness, and strength.
I feel ready, to dive more deeply into spiritual practices, physical awareness, and the space between my thoughts.
Of course, the slightest unexpected thing can jolt me back into a place of fear, and resentment, and un-tackled trauma. Of course, I'm still a human being: a particularly emotional one at that. Of course, I've been working so hard and so consciously to get to a place of readiness for years. But I have to say, this phase of my journey is nothing short of delicious. In general, I'm letting my more debilitating fears fall by the wayside while lifting up the people and world views around me--sometimes with blogs and FaceTime calls, sometimes with quiet, powerful intention, sometimes with dance, sometimes with breath work in the sunny grass. I'm acknowledging mistakes faster, making improvements faster, aligning with worthiness faster, and seeing the things that serve my higher purpose and the things that don't... in real time.
Something that really helped me on my journey to ever more readiness is the awareness and release of judgement. Who am I to judge so many people and things I know so little about? Who am I to judge myself so harshly by my mistakes and hesitations and failures and not my true intentions? Who am I to judge what anyone else is going through? Judgement feels so necessary when you're in a state of 'non-readiness' and don't want to reconcile that fact with other people's levels of readiness for the same thing.
Judgement feels necessary, but isn't. Every sliver of judgment you let go lightens the load. It's like climbing a mountain, stopping halfway up and wanting to give up because you're exhausted, realizing you've been carrying an extra 50 lb bag of sh*t you don't need, tossing that bag by the side of the road (you can always pick it back up on your way down) and sprinting to the top of the mountain with your newfound lightness and strength. You don't stop and sift through all the judgments so you can keep the ones you hold most dear. You don't scold yourself for carrying that bag up this far. You just drop it, and move the f*ck on. You deserve that freedom, that lightness in this moment.
You deserve to feel ready, for whatever's at the top of your mountain.