Reverb is an every-day-in-December journalling/blogging practice. Each day features a prompt that either helps you integrate the past year or envision what you want to create in the next one (sometimes both). If you want to follow along with me, I’m posting a prompt on my Facebook page every morning.
Dec 11: 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2012? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (Sam Davidson)
This prompt brings to mind a quote from Mother Teresa: “I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”
As I worked on my list of 11 Things I didn’t want, I realized that it was making me feel really crappy, and in many cases I was simply writing down the opposite of the things I DID want. And suddenly I thought, “No…I don’t want to put the focus on things to get rid of. I want to focus on the things I want to bring in.” It serves the same purpose, it’s basically the same question, but now I feel much happier about it.
So, without further ado, I present the 11 Things I Want to Invite into My Life in 2012, how I will go about inviting them in, and how the presence of these things in my life will change my life!
I will invite self-care into my life by reminding myself that it’s not a selfish thing, a frivolous thing, or an optional thing. If I want to be happy and be able to take care of the people and things in my life that need taking care of, then self-care is a 100% must.
To me, self-care wears many faces (including some of the other items on this list), but it’s largely an attitude. I commit to treating myself with as much respect as I would treat anyone else under my care, cutting myself the same slack, giving myself the same consideration. Forgiving myself for being human. Trusting that I know my own needs and limits, and paying attention to them.
If I make self-care a priority and treat myself with humanity, then my well will be full. I will enjoy life more. I will be able to give without feeling hollow inside. And I will be able to act like a human being (with compassion, caring, and patience) toward people around me, particularly small, strong-willed 3 year olds named Xander.
A big part of self-care is making sure that I get enough sleep. I haven’t been doing a very good job of this lately, and it seriously affects my mood and energy level. I will invite rest into my life by, you know, going to bed. Before 11pm. In fact, that’s why this post didn’t go up last night…it got too late! I will also give myself permission to stop pushing and take an easy day with Xander if I’m particularly tired or cranky. Sometimes lying down for even 20 minutes helps.
If I invite rest into my life, I will have more stable moods. I won’t yell so much. I will catch myself before I’m a total jerk to Xander (being sleep deprived and hanging out with a 3 year old all day is HARD). I will be more optimistic. My body will feel better. And (bonus!) I won’t have circles under my eyes all the time.
Last month I started moving almost-daily, and it transformed my life. My aches and pains eased, my body felt stronger, my back stopped hurting, I had more energy, and my attitude toward my body shifted in massive ways. It was incredible.
In 2012, I will invite movement into my life by taking a page out of Jamie Ridler’s book and instituting a daily movement practice check-in on my Facebook page. Last month I found that her daily reminders to move and the simple question “how did it feel to move today?” were enough to keep me moving and remind me that it was the feeling of joy and strength and awesomeness that I was after. I never wanted that to end. And if I do it myself…it doesn’t have to. You’re more than welcome to join me!
This was the one that made me decide to change my approach to this prompt. Something about writing “Body-Hatred,” even on a “To Stop-Doing” list…well, it didn’t feel good. To me, body-love is all about feeling the ME-ness that fills every inch of my skin. It’s loving the container I live in, listening to its cues, and acting from a feeling of trust in (and care for) my body.
To invite body-love into my life, I will surround myself with affirming voices and body-image warriors who are proud of their bodies, no matter what their shape. I will continue to build a sense of trust: trust that my body knows when it needs to rest or move, trust that my body knows when it needs to eat or not. And I will look at myself in the mirror the way I would look at any other person, and not as a collection of (highly flawed) body parts to be judged.
With more body-love in my life, I will move more, enjoy food more, laugh more, play more, challenge my body more, and dance more. I will feel lighter, more joyful, sexier, and more like myself (I know, because I’ve been working with this for the past little while and I feel all of these things)
In 2012, I would like to invite self-worth into my life. That means noticing when I’m falling into self-worthlessness (a terror of “getting in trouble” or “doing it wrong” or “not being good enough.”), recognizing that I’m doing the best I can, being accepting of my efforts, giving myself breaks when I need them, and generally being as nice to myself as I would to anyone else (if this sounds familiar, yes, this is tied up with self-care too). It also means not reading any more parenting books unless there’s a specific problem I need help with…those things make me feel like crap!
An increased sense of self-worth would mean a lot less stressing about whether I’m doing “an OK job,” and a lot less feeling like a little girl who can’t “get it right.” I would feel powerful, competent, and joyful.
6. Flexibility and Trust
I’ve noticed that I don’t deal well with changes in plans. I get an idea of how the day “should” go, and if something comes up that’s different, I’ll often get upset. If I have an item on my to-do list and it doesn’t get done, I’ll feel upset about it, even if three things that weren’t on the list got done instead. And that’s crap. In 2012, I’d like to replace this rigidity and need for control with a sense of flexibility and trust.
I don’t have a big plan for this one, other than being aware of my thought patterns and working to create new ones. Affirmations could work well as a reminder. I’m also playing with new ways to plan out the day. Flexibility and trust would mean less crankiness about changes in plans and more playfulness. It would be awesome.
I have a lot of friends. I do. But I don’t connect with them very often. I only saw some of my friends once this year. Others live in the same city as me…and I didn’t see them at all. What the hell?
In 2012 I want to change that. More hangings-out, more phone calls (remember those?) and emails. Connecting with friends makes me feel filled-up and happy, and that would be a great addition to my year.
8. NO MORE SHOULDS
Shoulds are totally tied to a lack of self-worth, but they’re such a big deal for me that they get their own space on the list. They’re also the only item that is still a “what do I want to get rid of?” because I couldn’t think of a word for their opposite.
Last year I made the intention to stop “shoulding on myself,” and it made a big difference for the first 4 months or so…and then shoulds crept back into my mindset. So they’re back on my list this year. I’ll eliminate them by actually eliminating them…noticing when I am saying or thinking “I should,” and changing my language. NO MORE SHOULDS. Often, “I should do this” is another word for “I’d like to get this done,” and that makes me WAY happier. It reminds me that I have a choice about what’s important to me and what I do. It helps me stand in my power.
This year, I took steps toward contributing to my family’s finances. In 2012, I would like to keep moving toward that and help ease the financial load of being a single-income family. I’d like to keep moving on my Obnoxious Proofreader work, but I’d also like to develop a business end of Spirit Moves Dance. This means working on my business plans, trying practice classes, and making time and space in my schedule for work. I’m very excited about this!
This year, my blog and my gratitude journal helped me curtail my periods of numbing out, and stay more focused, centred, and aware of my life. In 2012 I want to keep doing this. I’m keeping the “how” open on this one, although I have ideas that range from meditation to morning and evening rituals, and I feel like a lot of the other items on this list will help me as well. Being present means being more responsive to Xander, more aware of my health and wellbeing, and more appreciative of my life, and it means taking pleasure in the “little things.”
I have a tendency to motivate myself with stress. My Facebook status is frequently “I have 5 million things to do, and I am going to GO GO GO!”
Now, a lot of the time I actually like this feeling…I’m a cardinal sign and I love “getting things done.” I do. But there’s also an edge of stress behind this approach, and a tendency to overwhelm and the aforementioned “shoulds.” And that’s not cool. In 2012, I will make a point of paring down my to-do list. I’m experimenting with picking the three most important things on my list and making sure they get done. It’s about choosing my priorities, and it seems to be helping a lot. I’d like to keep playing with that, and avoiding the “OMGIHAVESOMUCHTODOOOOOO” approach. I think it would keep me calmer and more sane next year.
There! The list that took 2 days to write is DONE!
Are there 11 things you’d like to invite into (or eliminate from) your life this year?