I said I was going to do this for a few months before I made it public. I realized after I had accidentally published a few posts, that nobody was reading them anyway. Jon Acuff talks about giving yourself permission to be horrible when you start something new. I’ve heard this other places, but having attended his book launch recently, Acuff’s words are fresh in my mind. I am okay with not being great… and even with being no good. What I am NOT okay with, is continuing not to do it. I am willing to expose myself and feel vulnerable, as uncomfortable as it may be. I am grateful that I made this agreement. Otherwise I would still be thinking about it… maybe even talking about it…. but certainly not doing it. My “next thing is you” blog is evidence. So whatever you are afraid to do today… do it. After you get through the initial fear and discomfort, it feels so good! To use Acuff’s words, “Punch fear in the face!”
A friend was asking advice to help her kick a bad habit today. Another friend gave her a suggestion that may possibly help her. As I was reading their exchange, it reminded me of something I learned early in my journey. I must confess that I initially learned it intellectually… which is, in itself, useless. I did eventually learn on an experiential level, that when you put your order in to the Universe, it does not hear the negative words. For example, “I do not want to be late for work.” You process, “I want to be late for work.” I have learned to say, instead, “I will be on time (or early) for work.” With habits, rather than focusing on the activity you don’t want, focus on the desirable habit you want to begin. Instead of wanting to lose weight, engage in activities that will naturally promote weight loss. When you focus on what you DO want, you are more likely to get it… and more quickly.
I was just talking today about the deaths, birth, car acccidents, surgery, and other events that have filled my days in the past couple of weeks. As I thought about all of these events, I remembered talking to my dad once, complaining to him that I felt I was just living from crisis to crisis. His response was, “Welcome to life!” As I thought about that, I had the realization that I have a rich life… birth, illness, death, problems, love, all of it. It truly is a beautiful life!
My brother’s dog, Zander, died in the predawn hours off this morning. Zander was a greyhound and was rescued by my brother 11 years ago. He was 14 and likely had cancer, and yet probably died of old age. This dog was my brother’s anchor. He saw my brother through some dark times. After finding Zander had transitioned while he slept, my brother carried him to a field and buried him… no easy task. I know how difficult it was for my brother to put his faithful friend to rest. I thought about some of the family pets we have lost over the years. Thank God for the animals that enrich our lives.
No, that wasn’t a typo… I’m talking about tying up loose ends, finishing things. Completes leave me with a sense of relief. They silence my brain chatter. Today I wrapped up my records for the quarter. I have had this nagging sensation all week because I am coming upon a hard deadline. I wasn’t fully aware of it until it was gone. Instead of focusing on the imcompletes in my life, I will work on creating more completes.
Habits are much harder to start than they are to continue. I am writing this post at 10:45 PM. I will begin again tomorrow to move my wrriting to the morning. Then I will be alert and can formulate a complete thought. Until tomorrow…
I have been struggling to get my writing done late in the evening. After saying it out loud to my accountability partner, I am writing in the morning. This really is my preference, and I haven’t been willing to get up early enough to get it in before I leave in the morning (between 6:40AM & 7:00AM). I have been on spring break and have still been getting up at 5:30, but that simply isn’t early enough. I committed to writing in the morning these last few days of my break, just to move the activity into the morning. I will make it earlier tomorrow (it is 7:45AM now), with the ultimate goal of getting it started by 5:00AM for next week.
I titled this post “Morning Pages” because I used to write 3 pages every morning, as per Julia Cameron’s suggestion in Artist’s Way. I was part of an Artist’s Way group for awhile and that got me in touch with the therapeutic value of writing. While the purpose of moving my writing to the morning was that I would be able to stay awake and be more creative, I am simply using today’s writing more like Morning Pages. These three pages in the morning are meant to be a brain drain. Today I am emptying my head to some degree, but I am also setting the mental stage for myself.
Hopefully, the continued practice of writing daily will help me get to something meaningful to others. The whole process has been meaningful to me.
As I held my little Aurelia today, I remembered how much I love her father, my oldest son. I get caught up in worrying about him and forget to just love him. I did send him a text message later telling him that being with his baby girl reminds me how I used to love taking care of him when he was little and that I love him. He handles stuff like that very well these days.
My daughter and her husband, both 22, came over this afternoon for lunch. I popped some better than average frozen pizza into the oven. They brought chips and salsa. I also put out cream cheese with a raspberry chipotle sauce and crackers. We ate lunch, then sat down in front of the television (which I almost never do). The three of us fell asleep. I told her later that it was nice napping together.
My 16-year-old son helped unload some furniture from a pickup truck and took some trash to the dumpster for his brother. He is always willing to help and has a strong work ethic (even if he doesn’t take it to school with him). I am proud of who he is becoming.
My youngest has a few more obstacles to overcome than most of us, yet he usually has a sunny disposition. He needs more help from others than most kids his age, but he is sensitive and puts forth his best effort in most of his endeavors. He bonded more with his father when young and it was hard for me. Now he bear hugs me, kisses me, and tells me he loves me.
My dad used to tell me, “I love you more than you will ever know.” (He says he got it from me… I don’t remember that.)
My mom asked me to go to lunch with her on Thursday or Friday.
My husband is a true partner. He walks beside me most of the time but when I am weak he leads. Of course, I do the same for him.
I am grateful for all the love in my life. In addition to my immediate family, I have friends, coworkers, church family, extended family, and so many other people that show me love. I can only strive to show love whenever possible… which should be all the time.
It is 11:15PM and I am still working on school stuff… and it is the first weekday of my spring break! I have been so far behind at work lately… with my step-father having a heart attack and triple bypass surgery, one of my sons hydroplaning his car into a retaining wall on the interstate (he is okay, but we spent several hours in the ER and have had insurance stuff to deal with), my oldest son getting rear-ended two days later (the car was till in our name so we’ve had to deal with the title, etc.), my mom’s brother dying, and my sweet granddaughter’s being born. How’s that for a run-on sentence?
Anyway, I am determined to get caught up, so I will likely work all through spring break. I like to work. Frequently I work from the time my feet hit the floor in the morning until I go to bed (or stop moving for more than a few minutes). If I am not doing school work, I am doing work for the seminar for which I assist… and if not that, housework… or helping my youngest son with homework.
What I am working on now, is becoming too big for my job. I want to get caught up and a little bit ahead. I want to do my job in a way that I outgrow my job. I realized that this would be a good plan one night when I was feeling sorry for myself for not being self-employed. Then I remembered… I add the happiness. Don’t get me wrong. I like my job. I like the students. I like my colleagues. I like my administrators. I just want to have some freedom at work. I want to use my time the way I see fit. And I should do well because I am a bit of a workaholic.
I am sitting in front of my laptop, waiting for words to form in my head. During the course of the day, I think of all sorts of things about which to write. Then at the end of the day, when I am tired, I sit in front of the blank screen in a fog. It reminds me of window shopping and seeing things I want but can’t afford, then finally going shopping when I have enough money and not being able to find anything.
Fuzzy brain sets in many nights as I sit down to write (not to mention that I do a little bobbing for consciousness). I am putting this out there so I will do what I know will help. I need to begin writing in the morning when my mind is sharp. I am on spring break this week, so I can establish the habit before school resumes. For tonight, I am going to get my brain to bed.