Getting Started

So here I am on the edge of the spreading expanse of gorgeous, beautiful countryside which is my new career and way of life. And what do I feel most like doing?

Finding a cottage with a real fireplace to go and sit in, closing the curtains so I don’t have to see the large, open, scary space in front of me. Which is absolutely, insanely wonderful but currently scaring the sh*t out of me.

Years ago, when I was doing jobs which left me feeling engaged but unfulfilled I dreamt of this place I am in now. Looking at it from that end I just didn’t expect it to feel like this.

I pictured joy, lightness, freedom, enthusiasm, relief. At this moment I noticed that I could not see those things for negative self-talk, distractions, procrastination and inertia.

Inertia was the word which helped me. FM Alexander writes:

“…in all such efforts to apprehend and control mental habits, the first and only real difficulty is to overcome the preliminary inertia of mind”*

I know a ‘mind’ can’t really exhibit Newton’s laws of motion but it really, really feels like it.

I needed to think differently.

I almost always resort to books and reading when I have something to work on or think through. I let myself be drawn to the answers. And I read.

I read ‘Daring Greatly’* and appreciated the honestly and love and understanding and started being gentler with myself – in my head, you understand, I had not yet reached physical self-flagellation, but the negative thoughts were really detrimental.

I read ‘The Spark’* and was inspired by the humanity and massive productivity within it.

I started to read ‘The Happiness Project’* and was reminded yet again of the importance and effectiveness of doing small things and doing things a bit at a time.

I was beginning to feel like I could start to contemplate the ‘countryside’ aka ‘my new life vista’.

Then I got a sinus infection. Wham! Out of it for a week. This was when I started to groggily read ‘Mind Over Medicine’* and put my attention on thinking myself better.

I read blogs too*, and found a colleague’s particularly helpful to stop the broken record in my mind with the negative vibe. Alex Bollag wrote a blog post about stopping procrastination. It helped me to know that someone else, someone I knew, was able to experience this and they could overcome it and I felt ‘hurray! I’m not alone!’.

So I gathered what I had learned and paused in my reading to apply it.

First I tidied up. I usually find this relaxing and somehow preparatory. Also, in The Happiness Project, Rubin writes about being uplifted and restored by clearing clutter. I needed to start with a simple task needing little energy and an immediate result. It did the job.

Then I rested and had lunch (this was really quite a lot more than I had done in a week and I still had a painful head and felt overly hot for the amount of exertion).

After lunch I decided to another task inspired by The Happiness Project ‘tackle a nagging task’. I had a few. I picked one.

Then I did another two!

I was getting moving so I thought I would capitalise on it.

One of the nagging tasks I’d been procrastinating about was launching a blog. OK, I see that the first item of month three in ‘The Happiness project’ is “launch a blog”.

I thought, what better way to start off this blog with a post about getting started?

I had found it difficult to begin this blog because I could not think of a satisfactory first post.

One of the important things that The Happiness Project reminded me of is that action precedes motivation. I had been in a procrastinating slump for a bit and had just forgotten about this (it’s also talked about in Feeling Good* which I read a few years ago).

So here I am beginning to talk about my life of continuous change and continuous learning by applying the principles of the ITM Alexander Technique – and now I’m excited 🙂

*Man’s Supreme Inheritance, FM Alexander
*Daring Greatly, Brenee Brown
*The Spark, Kristine Abbott
*The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin
* Mind Over Medicine, Lissa Rankin
* Feeling Good, the new mood therapy, David D. Burns


Feeling the fear …and doing things anyway


  1. Caitlin

    Beautifully put Nicola. I know that place of standing on the edge of something vast and wanting to retreat to somewhere known and safe! Love the way you drew what you needed from the books and allowed this to open you to something new! Good luck on your adventure! xxx

  2. David

    Hi Nicola,

    Great blog – sounds very familiar. Thanks for sharing.


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