How many can’ts do you live with, day in and day out? Are they there when you wake up? Do they join you for your first cup of coffee or tea? Do they intrude on you throughout the day, squash your momentum, then climb into your bed at night, tossing and turning and hogging the blankets?
Can’t is a voracious black hole.
Get a break
Are you still there?
Oh, good. I was a little worried, that that list of flying verb debris might have made you want to jump off a cliff. Hide under a rock. Sleep. Worst of all, doubt the merit and power of your hard work and good intentions.
Or, maybe it galvanized you. This is what happened to me. Just this morning.
The Stop Doing List
Last night, Mani and I were looking at Danielle Laporte’s Celebration of the Stop Doing List. To create your own list, she suggests asking three questions:
- Are you deeply passionate about it?
- Do you feel you’re ‘made to do’ it?
- Can you make a living at it?
It’s amazing what happens when you plant a seed before bedtime. I fell asleep contemplating these questions and what things need to go on my Stop Doing List.
And when I woke up today and it was April, a whole new month, I knew that the number one thing I need to stop doing is saying I can’t.
I ran for 28 minutes while Pandora fed me a steady stream of good songs by singer-songwriters who clearly kicked some serious can’ts to the curb–Ani DiFranco and Tracy Chapman, Melissa Ferrick, The Indigo Girls.
I hauled ass up a hill through the UMass campus. And I ran right into the light of a brand new day.
I ran into the light.
Unlike the insatiable but ultimately lazy darkness, the light requires more. It demands an honest inventory of all the ways you spend time that you’re not actually passionate about and that certainly don’t make you a penny. All the thoughts you tolerate on repeat, like a song skipping endlessly.
Pick up the needle.
No, not that kind of needle! The one that’s stuck on the same spot of the record, turning turning turning skipping for so long you’ve tuned it out. Background noise. A nuisance. Such a constant you barely even register it anymore.
This should drive you crazy in the best way. Pick up the needle! As Kant (not to be confused with can’t) wrote:
To be is to do.
How can you fully experience the amazingness of your being if you are not doing new things, blasting open the cemented places in your heart and mind, and deposing once and for all the tyranny of the can’ts?
So which is it?
Stop doing or do?
Don’t be confused. The two make a handsome pair.
In order to do what you want, what you can, what you love, what you’ve been waiting for, avoiding, putting off, or circling around like a dog trying to find the absolute perfect spot to settle in, there are things you must stop doing.
Today, I woke up and I saw the can’ts for what they are: Bloodsucking leeches draining me of my life force. I am not exaggerating, not one bit. And I felt that rush of energy that comes with the truth. That comes with remembering I am capable, which is the nemesis of can’t. That comes with running into the light.
Why not today?
What better day could there be for movement and keeping the faith and saying no to negativity and narrow places? What better day than today to recant the can’ts and run into the light?
Libera tu mente de los no puedo. Free your mind from the I can’ts.
Now go and get it.
And be sure to tell me how it goes.