Claudia Osmond ~ Reader, Writer, and Ruminator

Canknots

In ruminating on January 10, 2013 at 10:47 pm

I’ve been thinking about this John Wooden quote a lot lately:

“Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

Cannot do. Those are strong, possibly devastating words.

Words I’ve said to myself. Far too often.

How many times do I quit before I even start because I think I cannot do?

How often do I feel inadequate because I think I cannot do?

How many times do I disrespect what I can do because of the things I think I cannot do?

Cannot do.

Think about it. How many things are there that I truly can not do?

Truly?

Touch my tongue to my nose, for one.

Wrap my legs around the back of my head, for another.

Lick my elbow.

Jump from the roof of a ten-story building without a parachute and land safely.

These are things I truly cannot do.

Oftentimes, the things I think I cannot do are things I’ve told myself I cannot do, for whatever reason; be it fear, insecurities, discouragement, the shame of failure.  Other times, things I think I cannot do are things I haven’t even tried, or things I haven’t completely thought through, or things I haven’t learned or trained for, or things I haven’t sought guidance on, or things I just haven’t taken the time to figure out a creative solution for.

When I think of it this way, I realize that sometimes what is set as a cannot in my mind actually turns out to be a canknot: A can that has been overtaken and strangled and knotted up by a weedy cannot imposter named fear, insecurity, or discouragement.

Now before we allow rejoicing and celebration to commence on the threshold of this therapeutic and promising realization, let’s also consider this: Cannots aren’t nearly as evil and suffocating as we give them credit for. Cannots are not the enemy. And they have nothing at all to do with what we can do. True cannots should never warrant feelings of inadequacy, fear, failure, discouragement, shame. With a true cannot, one is at liberty to simply throw up their hands and declare, “I cannot,” and turn to walk the other way without so much as a glance back over the shoulder.

However, the same cannot be said about a true canknot. One cannot simply choose to throw up their hands and walk away from a canknot, lest they care to do much glancing back over the shoulder. A canknot will not let you go that easily. Nor should it. It will hound you. It will call you in the middle of the night. It will invade your privacy, your quiet time, your dreams. It will test your resolve. It will lure you into feeling inadequate, into discouragement. It will possibly trip you up and cause you to fail, to fall, to fear. It may even require you to make sacrifices. A true canknot will not let you rest until it has been unknotted, raked through, smoothed out, and given a fighting chance. You just have to decide if it’s worth the fight.

“Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

And don’t let your canknots interfere, either.

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  1. I think I try to ignore my canknots out of laziness. To deal with them will take an extra measure of self-realization, surrender and discipline.

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