Qui Vive! (that’s French for “at the ready”)

“80% of success is actually doing something.” Woody Allen

Medieval knights would stand in a state of “qui vive”, waiting for the enemy.

I am a knight clad in a suit of armour, with sword in hand, waiting behind a castle wall for the enemy to ride up on a black stallion and attack me. (No, that’s not me in the suit.)

The challenge is the enemy. Or maybe a fear connected to the challenge, or just me, in a state of paralysis.

Not that I’m a violent person, but this visual device helps put me in a state of doing.

I know this, and yet “doing something” gets bogged down with “put off doing something”.

Scene: The sound of the clash of swords rings out. There I am, standing triumphantly over the prone body of the enemy (my published blog entry) when I realize… it’s time for a coffee.

Find “Will” and “Passion”

Once I am ready to face a challenge with “qui vive”, I also need will and passion to continue “doing”. I think of “will” as the want to do something, and “passion” as the fuel that helps me do it.

As I often ask myself, why do anything? Self-satisfaction is the best reason, but some fame, glory and a few bucks wouldn’t hurt.

Helps Alleviate the Repetition of Life

Qui vive also helps me get out of the routine of life. When I’m faced with dishes and sweeping the floor for the thousandth time, I put on my suit of armour and do it.

Challenges to Face

You may ask, what is a challenge? Well, it is anything that pushes me out of my comfort zone.

Here are a few activities that I consider challenges:

  • Plan a meeting with a difficult client
  • Learn the order of the planets in relation to the sun
  • Code a website from scratch
  • Paint a picture of a fruit or flower
  • Write (or finish) a book
  • Run a marathon
  • Learn to play an instrument (maybe that guitar hanging on the wall)
  • Memorize a Shakespeare sonnet

You get the idea. I think that suit of armour will be put to good use.

Take Advantage of Opportunities

Use qui vive to take advantage of an opportunity when it arises. Like surfers waiting for the big wave – watching, waiting, ready…

Remember to Smell the Hyacinths

And when I get too serious about living life as a challenge, I go out and smell the hyacinths. But remember: don’t get too close or else the perfume may make you gag.

Pull back, and let the sweet, purple perfume fill the air. The soothing aroma reminds me that I can always face my new challenges, tomorrow.


About Organized Bohemian

Dana M. Petric is a writer/landscape gardener/blogger/performer/office temp/web designer. Her wrestle between creative and money-making ventures permeates her writing. Self-publishing her first book, Growing Iris, Dana continues on her path toward writing full-time. Beginning her post-secondary education at UBC (Liberal Arts dropout), she prevailed at George Brown Theatre School (Theatre Arts Diploma) and matured at BCIT (Technical Writing Diploma). She lives in Vancouver, BC with her partner Eric and daughter Cleo.
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