The Minimalist Game came to a close for me a little early. Travelling out of town for my grandmother, Carolyn‘s funeral broke my streak. And that’s ok. It was a really healing weekend (traveled the Outer Road), and I’m ok with as far as I got! My study got cleared out and that’s the truly important thing.
This month is already more than half over, and I’m just barely ready to admit it’s February. My ambitious goals to start another cleaning project fell a bit short. Not to worry, I’ve found another new project to keep me busy…
Bullet Journaling! I’ve been starting to simplify things. I’m trying to reduce my online time – at least the wasted time. It’s so easy to drown in online tasking systems. I’ve put a few different ones through their paces. I still like the ones I’ve used, but I needed to find a way to sift through all the noise and keep track of the very top priorities. The rest will get done, but when I just need to stop and “regroup”, my bullet journal is really doing the trick. Watch this video to see a quick overview.
I’ve also listened to two audiobooks that have strongly influenced me. I highly recommend them both.
Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life, by Byron Katie – What I learned: The relentless pursuit of my own truth, passionate love of reality, and a letting go of my “story” are the steps toward peace and happiness that I was missing. I will re-listen to this one periodically. It’s not complex. All the info you need is actually available on her website, TheWork.com, but the audiobook is a lovely way to be taken through it, step by step.
Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It, by Gary Taubes What I learned: Surprisingly, I learned that I really should trust my own experience when it comes to losing weight. When I was pregnant with J5, I got gestational diabetes and had to go on a strict low-carb diet. The day I came home from the hospital after giving birth, I weighed less than I did the day I found out I was pregnant. I know others who have had similar success, yet somehow it wasn’t until I listened to this book that I heard what I needed to be ready to make a change. So far so good.
So, that’s what’s been going on with me lately. One day at a time. If anyone has questions about anything — speak up below!
Throughout this past year, I picked up a few nuggets of wisdom. Short statements. “Notes to self” that would remind me of how to live life a little better. Sometimes they were about how to relate to others. Sometimes about how to relate to me. They are written down on little mini post-its across the top of my monitor.
As this is the last day of the year, I thought I would wrap it up by sharing these tidbits with you.
Lundie’s 2015 Post-Its
It’s not about me.
My new job this year is wonderful. It’s full of activity and things to accomplish. I’m task oriented, so this is a beautiful thing. This new gig, however, comes with a much larger amount of “client-facing” time than I’ve ever had. And as such, found myself faced with interacting on a regular basis with a couple of people who were just downright unpleasant. Condescending. Blaming. Bitter. It got so bad for a while that it would even keep me up at night when I knew that the next day I would have to walk right into that lion’s den of interaction. That’s when this nugget came in handy. As a reformed people-pleaser, not only did I work to let go of the idea I needed to win people over, I decided it has nothing to do with me at all, and therefore was not my responsibility to get them to change.
Feel it, don’t fight it
Lesson #2 this year was to stop the habit of resisting unpleasant emotions. If I started to feel anger, my habit was to try to talk myself out of it. I’d had the mistaken belief that negative emotions were wrong, and bad, and must be purged at all costs. Now I’ve learned that anger is usually my brain communicating with me (really loudly) that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. Years of tuning out when I feel something unpleasant has brought about the unfortunate pendulum side effect of emotions, now finding an audience, coming out very loud and sometimes scary. My new approach is to just stop and remind myself to feel what I’m feeling. Take some journal time. Write about the feeling. And when it starts to ease a bit, think about where it’s coming from. So many times, I’ve found my anger is just masking fear. So, I let myself feel scared for a while and wait. And then, when it starts to ease (and it does), THEN I dig into what I’m actually scared of. I spend some time deciding whether it requires an action on my part to resolve it. Mostly, I find I can ride the waves, see the little lying thought that set me off, and let it pass.
This is not like the sports company slogan. While I’m trying to relax and feel the somewhat crappy feelings I mentioned above, it can be hard for me to remember the priorities in my life. So, in the meantime I just rely on functional activity to get me through. Pick up the thing in front of me and just “do” for a while. Tidy my desk. File some papers. Throw a load of laundry in. There may be other things that are more big-picture important, but this keeps me from stalling. And it keeps me from burying it (usually via “chronic Facebook refresh”). If I don’t know what best to do next, I just “do” until focus returns.
Anxiety. My dreaded enemy. The only way I’ve been able to counteract anxiety is to say repeatedly say “yes” to whatever is hammering away at my feelings of safety and security. A portion of a thought appears in my brain, triggering anxiety. My stomach clenches, followed by a sort of hot flash, nausea and chest tightening follows. To get through, I take a deep breath, let it out slowly and look for the thought that set me off. If and when I find it, I mentally face it and say “Yes. Welcome.” and pretend that this panic triggering thought is something I decide I want. (Please note: In my life, panic and anxiety are not the same thing as legitimate fear. I don’t advocate actually welcoming legitimately life-threatening and dangerous thoughts.) I find that I can get to the other side of the anxious episode having gained some self-esteem. By having this welcoming attitude, I win. It’s about me taking control and stopping the constant feeling of being a victim.
And this sort of sums it up. This is my life. It is mine to do with as I choose. I can feel sorry for myself. I can make excuses for myself. Or I can own my shit. I am going to be with me for the rest of my life, for better or for worse. I am the only one here in this brain of mine. I may have felt that my circumstances have been unfair (leaving me a victim), but that hasn’t served me well. Martyrdom is not a pretty place to live. I have the freedom, the ability, the right, and the responsibility to live this life I have as best as I see fit. So, I choose to choose, and own my choice.
You’ve been a good year, 2015. Thank you!
- Currently reading: Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, by Gretchen Rubin.
- Video: Recorded my first SparkVlog in a very long time. Hoping to make that a weekly habit.
- FTW: Met the goal of helping my BFF launch her new Kettlebell Gym’s website!
- Politics: #feelthebern: FB – Twitter
- Last, but not least, I’ve set some mini-goals for myself, and I’m excited because they are doable and I don’t feel internal resistance to them. It’s a thing.
You see, I’ve been really working, for the past year or so, on doing the hard things. I’ve made some pretty significant changes in how and where I do a large part of my life. I started experimenting with being super honest about my views and beliefs, and I pulled up stakes, and after 10 years, started a new job. These have been exceptionally difficult, and overwhelmingly healthy things for me to do.
There has been one place, however, that I have just been unable to make any progress. My physical health. Let’s face it, I’m past my P.Y.T. years. And the way fitness and health is so frequently portrayed, it’s all about how you look (flat abs, thigh gap, big boobs, round butt — on and on ad nauseum). I know for a fact that even if I devoted all of my free time to diet and exercise, I would not reclaim my youth, and I would not look 20 years old again. I accept that I am the age that I am. It doesn’t really bother me. And since I have had a kid, and carried a lot of excess weight for a long time, even with significant weight loss, I would not return to pre-fat form without assistance of some kind of surgery.
So, I’ve just about given up on trying to do anything. I’ve been in an all-or-nothing sort of place. Once I’m locked down on an issue like this, it’s near impossible to push me into action.
However, I have also known that there would come a time when I would change my mind. That someday, my desire for longevity (I have a 9yo that I want to see grow up and become independent) would push my brain to find another path — another way of thinking that would free me from the trap of “if I can’t do it right, I won’t do it at all”. I need hope. I need to have a goal that I can see is actually achievable. Something that I, in my future, could actually attain. Something that would be genuinely worth hard work and different choices.
In comes Beth and her wisdom. In essence, she has put the idea of fitness into a perspective that I have always believed. Form follows function. I deeply respect usefulness. Functionality. I couldn’t give a crap what something looks like if it does the job well. Seriously. Somehow, I hadn’t made the transition in my thought process to myself in the realm of physical fitness. Midway through her post she asks,
“What are you building? Do you want to be able to run and jump and play with your children – your grandchildren? Do you want to be able to work a construction job? Are you planning on competing in any specific sport? Do you have a sport that you love so much you want to condition your body for that? Why are you building your body at all? Then I suggest the most CRAZY notion: …what if you let that dictate what your body looks like?”
I almost started crying. You mean I can pick something ELSE, something FUNCTIONAL, that I want to be/do that doesn’t depend on a completely muffin-free top and flat abs (that I know are impossible with this body of mine without surgical intervention)?? I can totally skip the magazine-photo-clipping-vision-board stage of this and just pick some thing I want to be capable of, and work towards THAT?!?
Whoa. Gonna let that one settle in. (Thanks, BK.)
“Whether it be the sweeping eagle in his flight, or the open apple-blossom, the toiling work-horse, the blithe swan, the branching oak, the winding stream at its base, the drifting clouds, over all the coursing sun, form ever follows function, and this is the law. Where function does not change, form does not change. The granite rocks, the ever-brooding hills, remain for ages; the lightning lives, comes into shape, and dies, in a twinkling.
It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic, of all things physical and metaphysical, of all things human and all things superhuman, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of the soul, that the life is recognizable in its expression, that form ever follows function. This is the law.”
[Featured image credit: Jinzel]
I’m really sick of feeling like a victim. Feeling anxious all the time. Brain cranking, looking for where the next spinning plate will drop in the desperate hope of catching it in time. It’s exhausting.
There is a lot still shifting in my mental architecture. In some ways, I feel like I’m having a second adolescence — which was complicated enough the first time around. Ugh. I just turned 44. (Right? Um, yeah. 2015 takeaway…yeah. 44. *smh*) There are some “finally growing up” feelings going on, but it’s more about shedding my inherited assumptions of how life works — and testing for myself — than rebelling against the “Ps” (which I never actually did…). This time it’s a lot scarier.
What am I so damned afraid of?
- Letting go and the world falls apart and it’s all my fault
- Making “wrong” choices
- Being a disappointment
- Being vulnerable to attack
- Appearing incompetent
- Being seen as unintelligent and a fraud
Some wise things that people have said to me recently, that I want to just engrave on my brain for this season in my life:
“Won’t know until you try.”
“If you’re not failing, you’re not trying.”
“What is the worst that can happen?”
This last one I think is the most important for me to take the time to honestly answer. I need to really verbalize the “worst case scenario”. I think I’ve been robbing myself of great options on a regular basis by ruling them out because of the “dread lurk”. It’s sort of the ominous Dread Pirate Roberts of my brain. “Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.” If I’m ever going to get out in front of this Dread, I need to start pushing all the way through the “What if…?” options. If I keep skipping all the good things for fear of some sort of hidden “cost” that must be paid, I’m never going to move. I’ll continue my life just frozen. Locked in my own head, second-guessing every thought, only moving when I must.
It’s time to rewrite the rules of engagement.
I’m listening to an awesome audio book right now – I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough” [Audiobook, CD, Unabridged] by Brene Brown. I’m somewhere in the middle of disc 7, so I can’t give you any direct quotes, but meh – it doesn’t even really matter.
The reason I’m writing is it’s time to start using my voice. I haven’t written here in a while. I have another blog where I just spew words that I
don’t worry about worry less about offending the majority of my family and friends. But I’m getting tired of that kind of filtering.
Tonight I’m just going to talk a bit about one of the struggles I have as a recovering perfectionist. When it comes to setting goals, I have had this all or nothing sort of view. If I want to lose X pounds, then I need my action plan where I follow these 10 rules. Or I will always this… Or I will never that… Listening to the book today, Brene wrote about how you can tell whether someone is really going to succeed at change. You can hear it in their language. They say things about progress. Moving toward a goal. Taking small steps in a direction. Not images of perfection. Not still life. Movement from here towards there.
And that really resonated with me. In an attempt to MAKE myself exercise, I signed up for a 100-Day challenge on Instagram (a social media tool I do not use) and picked a topic that would in theory force me into doing something I feel I should be doing on a regular basis, for long enough time that I will somehow have TRICKED myself into succeeding. (See previous post).
Did it work? Ha!
Look, I have some dreams. I have these yearnings to be doing something new or something different in my life. When I get these flashes of desire, I often follow them up with the mental rush of excitement and visioning all the ways it will change me, and then drown in the backwash of all the nay-saying about how change won’t work and I’ll never be what I saw in the vision. It’s a painful cycle and it kept me trapped for a long time.
Lately, though, I’m finding a bit of calm. I’m gaining confidence that small action works. I’m learning that getting “present” in the moment, taking stock of my surroundings, and looking for what area in my life I can put a little effort into, and then JUST DOING IT, is actually making a difference. Can I write an exciting, life-altering, viral-share-worthy “10 Top Tips for Toning your Tummy” blog post as a result? Nope. And you know what? I don’t care. Really. Don’t.
I want to write. I want to be who I am. I want to have a conversation or two or a hundred that make a difference in the world around me. So here I write. Just me being me – using my talking voice (Thanks Micah for that nudge!) Funny thing about that. There is no rule book about how to be Lundie. And that’s pretty damned ok.
The winds of change do blow. Yesterday I closed a chapter in my life. Left a company I was with for 10 years. At the beginning of next month I will start a new job, with a new company. I have been somewhat quiet over the past several weeks because it has taken a great deal of my energy to make that kind of huge, deliberate change. One of the things I have said repeatedly is “why anyone would churn up life like this on purpose is beyond me”. But yet here I am, doing exactly that.
There are enough obstacles in life to what I dream of doing, I do not need to be one of those obstacles. Honoring my gut, honoring my heart and soul, and making the decisions and changes that I simply know need to be made. That’s how it happened.
Watching other people in my life do the brave things, and make the changes that need to be made, has made it all the more possible for me to have the courage to do the same. In all my time of making sure I have been following rules and doing what I’m supposed to be doing, it is finally becoming truth to me that the only one who can really judge what I’m supposed to be doing is me. There is a huge weight lifted (and a lot of martyrdom purged) by doing what I know in my gut I need to do. I’m grateful for that gut-knowledge, and hope to get better at listening to it.
Fallacy, by September Sky
“Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.”
– Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis
What do I want most in life? To be rid of the fear that is not warranted. To take on those huge, lurking, smoky, eerie, creepy, debilitating, elusive but ever present bastards and eliminate them.
So, the best way for me to proceed is to just turn on the light and start naming names. In no particular order, the following things are things that strike fear in my heart – warranted or not:
- The condemnation of others
- Loss of reputation
- Loss of loved ones
- Wasted time and effort
- Being invisible
- Being ineffective
- Being unheard
- Being wrong
- Making a wrong move
- Getting “it” wrong
- Discovering I’ve been believing a lie
- The widespread lack of listening and empathy “out there”
- The idea that I’m one of the adults running the world now
- Exercise – and the fact I need it to live and still fear it
- Being a doormat
- Not being able to stand up and speak up when things are not ok
- Being angry
- Being agitated
- …to be continued…
When I saw this video for the first time this morning I realized that there are times you have to let go and release a fear, and then other times you have to just grab that hatchet and go KICK its ASS!!
I’ve been going through a time of letting go. Some pretty hefty dropping of the baggage. My friend Beth refers to it as a “wiping of the chalkboard”.
My thoughts aren’t clear, but some correlations are appearing. If I wait until I have exactly what I want to say, I’ll probably be on my deathbed, so…bear with me as I start to make some sketches.
I’ve completely let go of religion. I don’t consider myself affiliated with any religious institution whatsoever. A few weeks or so ago, I would have said I’ve let go of Christianity and even of a belief in God. That may be the case, but I think it would be more accurate to say I’m solidly in the “I don’t know” camp regarding God’s existence.
The joy of being me is that I can change my mind at ANY TIME I SO CHOOSE. I have been so afraid of speaking my mind on these things, for fear of others’ opinions and views of who I am, and what my changing thoughts are, that it was affecting my exploration of my own heart and mind. Not good.
So for now, I’m going to share my thoughts without regard to you, the reader. [If you are worried for my soul, please don’t be. If you are ok with hearing me tell the truth, feel free to ask questions – just don’t feel the need to try to persuade me from my current path. You aren’t me. And I’ve decided to stop “looking for myself outside of myself” 🙂 . That’s not to say I’m not interested in hearing about you, and what you believe, and why — but I’m just not open to being “schooled” or “witnessed to” or “saved” from anything.]
Food. What a long and sordid history I have had with eating, and food, and dieting. It actually parallels my struggles with belief, and spirituality, and religion. In a lot of pretty intense ways.
What I’m coming to see / feel / understand is that I have had an inherent distrust of everything I do. Somewhere along the way, I picked up this idea that if it comes from me (a thought, a desire, an instinct) that it’s likely wrong, or selfish, or sinful. Time to shed that too.
I am seeing correlations between a legalistic mindset in religion and pretty much all diets. And to add insult to injury, I managed to be very visibly, but painfully temporarily, successful using a religious diet plan that REALLY screwed me up regarding God and food and me. It had just enough of a nugget of truth to resonate with me, but then such an insidious message of our worthlessness that I ate myself right into hell.
What I am feeling most right now is relief. A sense of freedom. Hope. Hope that I can stop this conflict between me and myself. Hope that I can build some trust. Trust in my ability to listen to my heart, listen to my body, listen to my mind and make good choices based on what I hear. Sounds simple doesn’t it? I think it is. It’s time to disregard the fear and say “HUSH” to the critical voices that used to drive me to perfectionism. To let go, and listen, and trust.