The Coefficient of Kinetic Life

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You ever feel stuck?  I have periods where it just feels like more than I can bear to get started.  But then, when I actually do get started, suddenly it seems easy.  What’s that all about?!

Inclined PlaneWhen I was a kid, I was fascinated by the experiment of the inclined plane in science class.  You could put a block on a tilted board, and it would stay put, due to friction.  But, if you started the same block ever-so-slightly moving on the same board it would keep moving.  This phenomenon is called the coefficient of kinetic friction; there is less friction for a moving (kinetic) object than there is for a stationary one (according to science).

The same is true of life.  If you just get yourself moving, everything is different on the other side.  Notice, though, that it doesn’t seem that way when you are stuck.  That is because you are caught inside a loop of your own making, just like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day.  Trying to untangle it on your own can feel like trying to find the latch on a box from the inside.

So, give yourself a break.  Let go of the trying, and just start moving.  Anywhere.  Take yourself on a walk.  Play your ukulele.  Break up that intimidating task into the smallest first step.  Call a friend.  As long as you are doing something, you are changing your landscape.  Once you get moving, look around and see what’s changed.  What is possible from here?  There is a limit to how much you can plan or anticipate.

All you need is a starter engine something to get your internal motor going until the engine of life takes over.  There is trust in getting yourself going before you know exactly where you are headed a trust that life could possibly have something good in store for you, just around the bend, where you cannot see.  Only by taking that first step will you enable the movement that manifests arrival

What gives you faith in the goodness that awaits?  What reminds you of the adventure and possibility of this path that you find yourself on?  What gets you moving?

Let The Beauty We Love

By Rumi

Today, like every other day,
we wake up empty and frightened.
Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

From Rumi: The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing, by Jalal al-Din Rumi
Translated by Coleman Barks.

Start Close In

by David Whyte

Start close in,
don’t take the second step 
or the third, 
start with the first thing 
close in,
the step you don’t want to take. 

Start with the ground you know,
the pale ground beneath your feet,
your own way to begin the conversation. 

Start with your own question,
give up on other people’s questions,
don’t let them smother something simple. 

To hear another’s voice,
follow your own voice,
wait until that voice becomes a private ear
that can really listen to another.

Start right now
take a small step you can call your own
don’t follow someone else’s heroics, 
be humble and focused,
start close in
don’t mistake that other for your own.

Start close in,
don’t take the second step 
or the third,
start with the first thing 
close in,
the step you don’t want to take.

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