Remembering

My husband read somewhere that our generation is prone to “mid-life crises.” Apparently, we have it mid-life crisis refined to the point where we don’t just have one crisis, we have many. In fact, depending on how we react to them, we may live in a near-perpetual state of mid-life crisis.

I don’t know if it’s true. But I know it feels true for me.

Once again, I’m feeling lost and wondering who I am and what I’m doing. I’m looking at my life and thinking “Is this really mine? Is this me? Is this how I want my life to go?” My dreams feel so far away that it’s hard to  remember what they are or how close I really am to achieving them (or at least starting to)

I see how easy it would be to let go of the dreams I’ve had and continue along the path I’m walking—it wouldn’t look much different from the outside, honestly, and maybe I would be happier if I just let go of these desires and looked for fulfillment in other things: a fantastic work review, a raise, a well-thrown birthday party, a family vacation. Everything would be simpler if I could only want those things. Life would be less complicated and painful…

Ummm….no. Did I really just write that?

The next minute I’m (sometimes literally) shaking myself, as if trying to wake myself up from a bad dream, and I’m wondering who the hell this voice in my head is and what happened to the idealistic, illuminated, passionate, and (comparatively) courageous warrior woman of 7 years ago.

I’m comparing and self-criticizing and digging a big hole of stuck.

Basically, it sucks.

I find it hard to write about this stuff publicly. I feel like I’m supposed to “have my shit together” and write about how I use movement to make my life better and how awesome everything is. But that’s not where I am right now, and I’m trying to be honest.

But, on the bright side, I’m not just sitting in ick, I’m taking steps to get out.

Here’s what I’m doing right now to help myself:

I’ve already been doing a (mostly) regular meditation and movement practice (YAY ME!). And today I bought myself some index cards and I’ve started writing things down. I’m not writing down plans and dreams this time, but tools. Every exploration or moving meditation I used in my classes is going onto those cards. I’m starting with the ones I remember, and then I’ll go through my old journals and class plans, and THEN I’ll go through my books and add NEW ones.

I need to SEE these tools, see what I’ve got in my collection, remember that I’ve DONE THIS BEFORE. I need my thinking brain to remind the terrified parts of myself that I’ve got this, that I’m already partway there, that I’m not a big fat phony who should admit her failure, take down her much-neglected blog, and call it a day.

‘Cause I’m not one, and I don’t want to admit anything of the kind.

So there.

Happy February!

xox

Meg

Welcoming the New Year: Power words for 2014 and beyond

Happy New Year!

Christmas break is ending and, as usual, I took some time to think about my Word of the Year during my time off. As I said last week, despite my second-guessing, my word of the year for 2013 ended up being Tend…and it turned out differently than I’d expected (but doesn’t it always?). This year, the word came easily with no second-guessing. For 2014, I’m going with the word Possibility.

As I thought about the past 12 months, I realized how many of my stories were “I really want to do X but I can’t because Y.” So. Freaking. Many. Yes, I know, I’m a working mama and I have 59,000,000 things on my plate at any given time, but often the issue can be solved with a shift of perspective.

Possibility

Don’t think I have time to meditate at home? How about using 10 minutes out of one of my breaks at work? Think I can’t take a yoga class? Find out when they’re freaking offered, talk to Matthew, and see what’s manageable—one class every 2 weeks is better than no classes ever.

You get the idea. I’ve been limiting myself with my mindset, and this year I want to stop doing that. Instead of “I can’t because blah blah blah” I’m aiming for “I want to do X, and here are some ways I can manage it.”

Life is shades of grey after all, it’s not 1000% or nothing. Baby steps are still steps!

In addition to my word of the year, this year I’m beginning with a phrase to live by. In November and December, I had the very great fortune of taking a 4-week course based on The Four Desires by Rod Stryker (a book which I then got for Christmas and it is FANTASTIC!). Part of the focus of the course was uncovering our Dharma Code, or the way we are meant to live our lives. It’s not a task we are meant to do, it’s bigger. It’s the essence of who we are in the world—the way we live when we are being 100% ourselves.

Best. Workplace. Course. EVER.

This was one of those courses that came at precisely the right time. Everything clicked, and every exercise was meaningful. So now, I’ve got a phrase to live by every single day for the rest of my life…a reminder of who I really am and how I am in the world:

I radiate magic.

I could go on and on about this, explaining it in detail and offering examples, but what it all comes down to is that when I am 100% me, I feel bigger than my body. I feel light shining from me. I radiate magic.

DharmaCode
My gorgeous necklace made by Liz Lamoreux (click photo to go to her Etsy shop)

So this year, I will focus on Possibilities, and I will also carry the touchstone of my Dharma Code (literally, most of the time!). And we’ll see where they take me!

I hope you have a beautiful new year!

xox

Meg

 

P.S. Did you pick a word/phrase for the year? Wanna share? I’d love to hear about it!

2013: A year in review post…sort of

People are posting their “year in review” prompts on Facebook (which is where I hang out), and it’s got me thinking about 2013 and how it went.

Honestly? 2013 felt like a non-year to me. A limbo year. A year of mostly-stuck.

2013 was the year I made 59,000,000 potentially life-changing resolutions and didn’t stick with any of them.

2013 was the year I shoulded on myself so hard I made myself feel like less than nothing. A big, fat, non-doing failure.

2013 was the year I worked myself ragged looking after everyone but me. The year I decided it was too much trouble to ask for what I needed.

2013 was the year I did my best to make myself a non-person, to not-express most of the things I felt and thought, to NEVER (or rarely) ask for help).

BUT…

2013 was the year I realized all of this…and realized that it Had. To. Stop.

2013 was the year I realized that my Word for the Year (Tend) didn’t mean what I thought it did. It didn’t mean taking immaculate care of the house or feeding my family only organic food or learning to be on top of everything. It took me 11 months of this year to learn that the essence of Tend was “look after your damn self, Meg, and if you do that, magic will happen.”

It took all year for that to really and truly sink in, and for me to learn what I actually NEED.

I need dance. I knew that. But I’ve found out that I also need stillness. Give me 10 minutes to meditate and 10-30 minutes to dance every day, and the frazzled, miserable mess of stressed-out Mommy martyrdom disappears. Add regular yoga, and WATCH OUT, WORLD.

When I take care of myself, my light can shine.

Looking back over my blog, I see that my light HAS been shining. I didn’t realize it, I didn’t feel it, but it has. So imagine how life will be if I take care of myself.

2013 was the year I looked everywhere outside of myself for the answer, when the answer was to go inward. It was a precious lesson, and I will always be grateful to 2013 for teaching it.

Thank you, 2013. I love the gifts you brought. I love the lessons you’re leaving me with. Thank you thank you thank you.

 

If…

I’m at this weird point in my life where I can see where I want to be. In all kinds of areas, from my physical well-being to the way my home looks and runs, I can picture how I want things to look at feel and be. And, wonder of wonders, I know that change is achievable.

If.

If if if.

If.

If I do the work.

Why is that such a challenge? Or, at least, why does it FEEL like such a challenge. You wouldn’t think that something like “dance 5 minutes a day” would be hard. You wouldn’t think that “pick something up and put it away when you’re done with it” would be a challenge.” “Go for a walk” sounds like child’s play.

It’s all habit, isn’t it? It only feels like a challenge because I’ve made a habit of doing something else.

I’ve made a habit of stillness and got caught in inertia. I got to the point where not moving and not cleaning up and just…not-doing…was the norm. Somehow it felt (feels, more often than I like to admit) easier to not put in the effort, even though that meant (means) feeling achy and tired and weak and prematurely-old and afraid of injury. Even though that means living in a house that progressively gets filthier day by day.

I take comfort in the fact that I’m starting to see this now, and see it (mostly) without judgement (OK…not always). I see how my choices led to my inactivity and (often) squalid home. And, thank goodness, I can see how my choices can lead me in the other direction…

If.

If if if.

If.

If I do the work.

If I set the intention to make a change…and take the actions required. And then take them again. And again and again.

I’m struggling with this, struggling to make new habits and not let old ones creep back in. Day by day I’m struggling to make the choices that support where I want to be. Some days it doesn’t happen—I choose the old ways instead. But eventually I pick myself up and take another step forward, because nothing is impossible.

If.

If if if.

If.

If I do the work.

Waking up

Yesterday I was in the kitchen cooking dinner when Matthew came in to talk to me. I turned around to face him…

…and suddenly the world, and his face, came into focus again. Like the lens of a camera moving from blurry to crystal clear, I saw him, truly saw him, for the first time in months.

The relief of coming home, of waking up again, was almost too profound to write about. I don’t know where I was, but I wasn’t here. I wasn’t fully living. I wasn’t seeing the people I love. I wasn’t being myself.

And then I came home.

I don’t think that the timing is a coincidence. I’m sharing this partly as a reminder to myself: when I’m tired and resisting the dance, I want to remember this moment. This is what the dance can do…it can help me find my way home.

<3

Back in the saddle…

The past month was rough. Not “bad things are happening to me/the people I love” rough (thank goodness), but “I am intensely miserable and can’t seem to figure out how to fix it” rough. I was stressed out of my mind, completely un-grounded, separated from my body, barely breathing at all, and generally in a place of physical distress. And I couldn’t figure out how to snap out of it.

I tried all kinds of things, from Reiki to grounding to meditation to crystal work to daily walks, and nothing worked. I was at my wits’ end. I was out of ideas.

And then my husband pointed out that actually, I hadn’t tried everything. I was trying everything except the one thing that always always works for me.

I hadn’t tried dancing.

Somehow, I had lost sight of the fact that dancing always always reconnects me with…well…me. And I was trying all of these other things that work (for me) for mild mind-body separation, but not for major issues like I was experiencing. Matthew maintains that I hadn’t forgotten, I was just resisting (and that would certainly be true to form). And it’s true that the very thought of trying to dance again was terrifying. I felt physically incapable of doing it at all. But I shut myself in a room with some music and slowly, slowly, things started working themselves out.

I’m still struggling with resistance. I still don’t feel quite myself, but like a smaller, quieter, greyer version of me. So I am recommitting to dancing every day starting now. I’ve noticed that even a couple of minutes makes me feel more like myself.

100 Days of Dance take 5.

In which I reclaim my original Word of the Year…

Want to know a secret?

The first Word of the Year I picked for 2013 was not ANY of the 9 words I ended up with. It was also, in retrospect, completely perfect.

From the beginning of my processing-the-past-year-envisioning-the-new-year session (which went from about December 15th, 2012 until January 15th, 2013) I felt very strongly that this year was going to be about creating systems that allow me and my family to live the lives we want to live. It was going to be about learning how to care for the house, creating rhythms and routines that nurtured and nourished us, about cleaning up my messes and caring for myself by doing my chores. The word I chose was Tend.

And then I second-guessed myself because it felt like I was “playing small”…and I ended up picking a bunch of words that seemed more inspiring and felt sort of right at the time…but not so much in hindsight.

“Tending” may seem boring and uninspiring…until you consider how crucial it is to devote regular time to things. You don’t have a yoga practice unless you do yoga most days. You don’t have a clean house unless you work to maintain it, you don’t have tasty veggies or beautiful flowers unless you weed the garden and nourish the plants you want to grow.

That’s really the metaphor for this word of the year: weeding the garden and tending the plants I want. The more I think about the past 8 months and the closer I get to integrating the year so far, the more I see this. I’m choosing what to devote time and energy to, what’s worth going after, what’s not. I’m realizing the value of ritual, routine, and habit, and I’m working on cultivating ones that work for me and my family.

So today I reclaim my Official Word of 2013. It’s Tend. And it’s the perfect word for my life right now.