Nina Groop

Life Coach, Author, Speaker

Stop Trying

Two years ago a friend gave me a journal whose cover said: Snap Out of It Babe, You've Got a World to Take Over. At the same time I started reading How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living by Rob Bell, and It felt like the universe was up to something, asking me to dream a little—so I did. I imagined new professional outlets. I imagined a different way of life that included more time to write. On paper my hopes and dreams looked outrageous, but they also looked like life itself. I recently went to a Jasper Johns exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The opening piece was his iconic painting of the American flag, and the notes said this: “In late fall 1954, Johns made his own radical new start. He destroyed all his work still in his possession—deciding in that one moment that he would no longer TRY to be an artist, he would simply BE one.” I have been thinking about this statement for the past two weeks. What prevents us from inhabiting our own dreams?

We do, of course.

I spoke with someone the other night, and he said: “You’re a badass, but you don’t always believe it.” I’m sitting with my calendar this morning trying to make room for all I have to do and want to do and trying to believe I am a badass. I guess it’s time to just be one.

Over a month ago a spark popped into my head: Sit down for 15 minutes a day to write poetry. I sensed that spark had both brilliance and weight, yet I still haven’t acted on it. What is the truest dream inside me? To be a poet. But that dream is so tender that it’s hard to acknowledge, let alone live into. The truest things about ourselves can be easy to deny; they feel too real, too substantive, too self-revealing. But I don’t have to be the poet laureate or even be published in a Poetry or The New Yorker to be a poet; I simply have to write poetry. So the 15 minutes a day are being added to my calendar.

When will you stop TRYING and simply BE? And who will that be?