Dictionary.com defines trying as an “attempt to do or accomplish”.
One glance at my Facebook photos and you’ll know I have addiction…dancing. I love it and in many ways, it saved me. It all started when a friend threatened to take me and his wife one night to their favorite salsa club. In addition to being a dance addict, I am a recovering perfectionist so thankfully something came up and we didn’t go out that night. But the impending threat of a future outing got me onto the internet in search of some beginner lessons.
Until that point, my extracurricular activities consisted of working out at the gym with my headphones on and doing my pottery classes…with my headphones on. Couple that with the fact I was working from home most of the time…well, let’s just say, my interaction with the world was pretty limited. Salsa lessons had been on my list for several years but I kept thinking I would hold off until my just around the corner prince charming showed up. Now, I couldn’t wait for the perfect date without risking looking like a fool at a club first time out.
Five minutes into my first group lesson, I was hooked…for life. As I said, I love salsa dancing and it usually lights me up…but this past week, the perfectionist showed up. All of a sudden I was trying too hard and it made me realize that trying is actually a ridiculous concept. You either do something or you do not. You can’t actually try to do anything. Drop a pencil on the floor. Now, try to pick it up. There is no way to actually try to do this. You either pick it up or you don’t.
Trying is a non-action verb. There is no doing in trying. I cannot be present to the task if I am trying because trying happens in my head. Trying is also somehow connected with a need to please others when really what is most important is how I feel about whatever task it is I am undertaking. The energy of trying is a knotted up feeling. There is no flow or fun to it. It isn’t enjoyable.
When I learned to stop “trying”…and to simply show up and dance, to get back to that place of pure joy dancing gives me, everything changed. I found the space where creativity, inspiration and fun reside…not in the trying of something but in the doing and being of it. What have you been trying to do in your life? What would it look like to step out of trying for a day or two and instead be in the action of doing it?