SoulWork: Making A Start

Apr 9th, 2018 | By | Category: Articles, O Books, Psyche Books, Soul Rocks Books

by Jane Bailey Bain

We all know that feeling. It’s always hard to start a project. There are always other things that seem more pressing.

When you’re planning something that really matters, of course it can seem overwhelming. Not doing anything is a sort of safety mechanism, isn’t it: by not taking the risk, you make sure that you’ll never actually fail. There’s a scene in the film Bad Timing set at a ritzy party. The men are all in sharp suits, the women in glamorous dresses. Leaning against the wall, one man watches a beautiful girl come down the staircase. As she passes, he says to her: “If we leave it at this, it always could have been perfect…”

If you leave your life at this, it always could have been perfect. The measure of a man is not what he is, but what he could have been. How poignant, how romantic… no, actually how sad. Because if you don’t try, you’ll never achieve anything. Personally I prefer the approach of the inventor Thomas Edison. When he finally got his theory to work, he was asked how he’d kept going after so many failed experiments. Edison replied, “I didn’t fail: I just discovered a thousand ways not to make an electric light bulb.”

The truth is that conditions will never be absolutely right. There will always be something to stop you, something more urgent, something you need to learn first. Don’t get waylaid by such blandishments. Schedule time so you can fulfil other commitments. Learn new skills as you go along. Don’t confront, don’t argue, don’t justify: just quietly begin doing what you’re meant to be doing. Start singing the song you were born to sing.

Yes, at times it will feel daunting. It will feel like you’ve taken on far more than you can handle. You’ll sit amidst the packing cases, physically or metaphorically, and wonder how you ever reached this point. You’ll wonder if it’s worth going on. You may even ask yourself whether you should go back. At least your old life was comfortably familiar: better the devil you know…

But I’m telling you that’s no way to think. The truth is that you couldn’t go back even if you wanted to. You see, you’re not the person you used to be. You’ve moved on, grown and changed. If you step back, it will feel quite different from how you imagine. The past is another country, they do things differently there.

And you’re not alone. Sometimes it will feel like you’re lost in a dark forest. You can’t go back, you can’t see forwards and you feel very scared. In those hardest times, lift up your head and look around you. The night may be very black and you might not know which way to go. But when you look up, you’ll see little lights in the darkness. Those are others who are working on their own stories. They can’t show you where to go, but they can keep you company in the dark woods.

Each of us must make our own way and carry our own lantern. Your soul story is personal to you: if you try to follow someone else’s way, you’ll end up where they are – and please believe me that it won’t feel AT ALL like it looks from where you’re standing now. You’re creating something that suits you much better and which will make you much happier.

Life has dealt you four aces; decide if you want to play them low or high. You can’t get to happily ever after if you don’t start with before. The point of life is to die with memories, not dreams.

The longest journey starts with the first few steps.

A never-ending story begins with the first words.

Jane Bailey Bain is an author, speaker and creative coach. She studied Psychology at Oxford and Anthropology at LSE.  Her books include ‘LifeWorks’ (2012), ‘StoryWorks’ (2015) and ‘SoulWorks’ (2018).

Jane’s work draws on profound insights from psychology, anthropology and spirituality. Her approach is rooted in story analysis, life trajectory and personal development. She combines this with a wide range of practical tools and techniques. These help you actualize your dreams into future plans and goals.


SoulWorks is published by O Books, ISBN: 978-1-78535-713-8 (Paperback) £12.99 $19.95.

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