It's the time of year for resolutions when we make these pronouncements:
I don't make New Year's resolutions anymore.
Yes, I like to have a date when I will begin a new book, or have a book ready for publishing, but when it comes to these shouldas, couldas, wouldas, about my person, I feel as though I need to make a decision and begin, whether it's the beginning, middle or end of the year.
It's because I know what I need to do. I just have to get off my butt and do it, whatever it is, whenever it is.
See, I know I need to lose a few pounds. I need to eat smaller portions and eat less sugar. I didn't wait for the end of the year to make my New Year's resolution to begin. I just said, “This is what I need to be healthy.”
And I know it's not a diet. This is the way of life. I just have to do it.
For my career I knew I needed to manage the advertising and marketing and writing. I quit my job because at the moment I was able to. Because this is what I had to do if I want to be an author.
We like the idea of new beginnings. The ability to shed the bad stuff from the previous year. I have a lot of baggage I could do that with. What I need to do instead, is remember to live in the moment. Not my resolution, but my real life, all the time.
It's not a resolution, it's simply me remembering that today is a new day and I need to live today with all that entails. No more resolutions, no more attempts. Just one day at a time. If I slip today, I pick up and do it again the next without judging myself or being hard on myself when one day goes badly. I tomorrow, not January 1. There's always tomorrow.
If you must make a resolution, do this: Each and everyday I will:
We mess up. We take corrective actions we move on. I will remember to live in the moment, not starting on January 1, but starting today.
Have yourself a very happy holiday season and be your best self, even if that means you lay around in your jammies watching Doctor Who episodes once and while.
Why are we living for the weekend rather than the living in the present moment? Is the thing we spend most of our time doing, that distasteful to us, that we long to be any where but where we are?
I don't enjoy living for the weekend. Living for the sweetness of lazing around, taking my time to drink a tea, watch some mindless television, to not rush awake before the sun rises so that I can get it all in before work. Because realistically, I'm still not getting it all in.
It's time to enjoy the time in between doing what I love to do.
I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, when I was seven years old. I never once wavered from the dream. I wanted to be an author. I wanted to create worlds of my own making, make my own schedule, feel the sense of accomplishment and freedom you get working from home. It is a great dream and during those periods of time when I've been at home, in between full-time paying jobs, I felt that freedom, I experienced the sense of accomplishment as I finished 5 book drafts. As the book series worked itself out.
And then I got a job.
It's boring. It feels like a time suck and I find myself living for those moments in time, in between being at work where I can finally sit down and write. Where I can feel productive and proud of the work I do. Unfortunately I haven't fully found my audience and the reality of life was such, I needed to go back to work.
My daily struggle, rising before the sun and rushing out the door al the while knowing that I'd rather be at home being creative, letting that side of myself stretch out and explore. I don't have that opportunity writing procedures.
I sigh. The dream is still the dream, the book, is still being written. Creativity is my escape from the mundane as I explore options for not letting myself get sucked into the living for the weekends. There is so much time wasted, longing to be where we are not.
It's time to not live like that anymore. I make a vow to myself.
It's time to let go of the desire to be perfect. It's time to create priorities. Yeah, something's need to get done. Dishes, laundry, grocery shopping, seeing friends. Something has to give, a plan needs to be constructive, sleep needs to be had.
When we let go, not hold on too tightly, we can live in the moments in between where we want to be. Life is too short to work through it, to miss the other moments in time. I forced myself to go to yoga tonight, even though I wanted to come home and write before I became to tired to think. Because I know, I needed that hour and 10 minutes to be alone with myself. To recharge and stretch. Something had to give. Tonight that thing I let go of, laundry.
I can wear dirty pants one more day. Can't I?
Several times in the past few weeks I've come across the idea of good enough. Good enough, a cop out, a means of settling, taking the first and easy way. It's really not so.
In yoga, there's a thought process that as beginners, you use props like a block or a strap because you aren't able to bend or stretch as far as someone who has done it for years. When you've practiced for awhile, you stop using the props because you can bed and touch the ground without bending your legs. The final stage is the practiced yogi who's been doing yoga for decades, who returns to the use of the block and strap because they understand that it's not about touching the ground, it's about the pose and the stretch that the pose brings. In other words, it's about the journey.
With so much stress in my life, I ache from my back, feet, hands, shoulders. What I understand about the practice of yoga is simple, modification. I know what hurts, I also know what the purpose of the stretches are and I make modifications to the poses in order to not injure myself, worse than I already am. It's not about bending farther than the person next to me, or not using the block because the person three mats down is capable of entering the triangle pose without a prop, or bend without the assistance of the strap.
I modify so that I can also feel my muscles engage, feel the burn as it were, as I hold a pose.
It's about the journey into the pose not the difficulty of the pose itself.
The idea of good enough isn't weak. It's understanding that everyday is a different day. As in yoga, one side of your body might be more open and easily bends to our will while the other side is tight and yields with difficulty and on the next day, it's the opposite.
Why can't we accept ourselves for who and what we are rather than compare ourselves to each other? We don't know what someone else feels or what difficulties they experience that day. Today accept yourself for the day, and tomorrow accept the changes or the difference. Use the props, they stabilize you even after you grow stronger.
It's all in perspective.
You may or may not remember the television show “Ed.” A quirky little show from the early 2000's; a NY City lawyer who divorces his wife and moves back to his home town, a small town in Ohio. He spends most of his time when not lawyering (his office is in the bowling alley he purchased in episode 1), pursuing the girl of his dreams, Carol Vessey, high school teacher, who went away and returned home.
The show's been a great easy watch, enjoyable and fun. That is until today's episode called the “The Proposal.” As you'd expect, Ed, the bowling alley attorney, proposes to Carol, after four seasons of back and forth. She says yes and that's not the point. What struck me in this episode is in his quest to create the perfect proposal, he finds a list his bride-to-be wrote when she was 16 years old; a list of her favorite things.
I've been trying for the last year to reinvent myself. Let all the difficulties of my life wash away, rediscover myself, who I am, what I like. And as I watched this episode, as Ed gave Carol her twenty-five favorite things, I wondered to myself, “What are my favorite things? What do I like?”
In no particular order:
Meditate; there's no secret to doing it. You don't need to be a Buddhist monk to participate. It's not magic, and most likely it's something you've done without realizing you're doing it.
Have you ever been so stressed that you take a moment to take a slow, deep breath and equally slow release of the breath? A moment to slow down, to be in the present. This is meditation.
Life is stressful. Full time job, over scheduling ourselves and our children, sometimes our lives feel as though they're imploding in on itself. I feel it too.
I've been on a quest the last year, to remake myself. Find my inner happiness as I try to accomplish a goal I set for myself when I was seven years old. To be a writer. But as we all know, sometimes life gets derailed. Careers, a terminally ill baby, an anxious child, a transgender child.
Stress builds up to the point you feel as if you are ready to explode and as I work toward my goals, and try not to let myself get derailed, I came up with a plan to remake myself. I call it Becoming Lola after I made a joke that I wanted to dye my hair red and change my name.
To deal with the stress, I took a meditation seminar at my yoga studio. The goal to open our chakras, let our natural energy flow freely instead of bottle up. Regardless of what you think about this, doesn't matter for the moment. What I discovered through the guided meditation, through listening to the doctor's voice, by paying attention to my body, and imagining these centers opening up, I walked out of there with a quiet mind and an open heart.
My recent introduced me to Buddhist Monk Bhante Sujatha, practicing for over thirty years. He travels the world guiding others to the practice of meditation and when he's home at the monastery he founded, he guides practitioners in how to begin and continue with the practice. When he's not doing that, he raises money for incubators, used in impoverished countries.
I told Bhante my story. How one hour-long session, affected me so much. He told me I had the Buddhist light within me and encouraged me to continue practicing.
It takes only five minutes of time. Five minutes to breathe in, let the air fill your lungs and release it. Five minutes to simply be in the moment with no thoughts, no lists, not responsibilities except to listen to your body and quiet the mind.
I made a pledge to be open to all sorts of healing, to ease the pain in my body and in my mind, to give myself much-needed rest. It cost nothing and takes little time to heal yourself if your open to the possibility.