The Art of Mirriam Neal

‘You can find yourself if you decide to finally start.’

IMG_0079The last three months (have I really been twenty for three months? How is that possible?) have been a time of extraordinary personal growth. It was a nearly overnight ‘growth spurt’ – I rolled out of bed on my birthday, and I knew things. It’s as though the advice and wisdom I had accumulated by left unused during my teen years blossomed inside me while I slept, and when I woke up, I did a novel thing – I tried. I stopped doing things by half-measures. If I saw a step that could be taken, I took it. If I saw a way to help, I helped. I began reading more non-fiction, and the fiction I did read was higher-quality and stretched my mind. It’s been a real learning curve, and I don’t foresee myself getting off it anytime soon; but I believe, as the Celts believed, that life is a spiral; not a straight line. The curve will never stop as long as I allow myself to keep trying.

I’ve always had the large problem of being observant but lazy. I would see things I needed to fix in myself, yet I never did anything about them. I was missing the step between knowing and putting into action and somewhere along the way, I took it. (I was probably pushed.)

A lot of the people I’ve known have been in the boat with me, of seeing and knowing and just not doing; and I think a large part of that is because we, as human beings, don’t want to look as if we have no idea what we’re doing. We want to appear in control, we want the people around us to think we have it all figured out. That’s a load of fei wu. Looking smooth is something you have to sacrifice if you ever want to grow. You can’t get anywhere without first being a beginner at something. If you refuse to do things for the sake of your image, you’re going to remain where you are, desiring to get better and never having the guts. It’s not enough to want to be good; you have to be willing to get better. I can tell you firsthand that since I had my odd little ‘enlightenment,’ I’ve been happier – and not just happier, but joyful and content in the knowledge that I’m listening to God’s leading and trying to follow him, no matter how clumsy my steps are. I probably look like an awkward baby turtle on the outside, but amazing things are happening on the inside. I’ve been reading more, taking more pictures, I finally began vlogging (something I’d been meaning to do for ages) and I’m actually getting off my gluteus maximus and exercising daily – routines, dance choreography, small workouts throughout the day, and tomorrow I’m starting a 40+ minute workout, which I’ll have to get up at 6:00 to accomplish.

I’m not telling you this to point at myself and say ‘look how good I’m doing’ – I’m telling you this because I’ve been a negative example to myself for so long, and now, slowly, I’m becoming a positive one. It didn’t take much – it simply took the step from bystander to action-taker. I want to tell you to not be afraid of looking foolish. Nobody ever started something as an expert.

In order to change,

change.

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