Wednesday, January 2, 2013
I Choose to Begin--Again
I'm beginning to think that one of the secrets to life is choosing to begin over and over again. Once isn't enough. Every day might be required. At least until an iron clad habit is formed. So here goes. Again.
I've decided my word for the year for 2013. It chose me early this time. Action.
Even though my life is fabulous right now, I still struggle to feel OK, to be free of anxiety and depression. When I can think of no good reason to feel bad, it seems ridiculous to go on doing so. Trying to decide or think my way out of negative feeling states isn't working. The time has come for action.
These are my plans for the new year:
When I feel myself sliding into a funk, ACT. Interrupt the slump with changed behavior, which I hope will change the feeling (as it usually does). I can go sit in meditation and just drop it. Or I can bake or make something, both of which leave me feeling better when they're done.
I will also insert some calming practices into my demanding work day that will hopefully help me defuse the spin and distraction that creep in along with the multiplicity.
These aren't geologic scale changes. I don't intend to live in bliss 24/7 or make myself perfect. I just want to act instead of reacting, do something instead of thinking, in small, hopefully sustainable ways that might bring more change than I expect. And all I expect is calm. That's all I want folks. It isn't too much to ask, surely. I just want to be OK.
The renewal and hope of another year is so seductive. Every New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, I feel a cozy sense of optimism and daring. By February or March, like everyone else, I'm coughing in the dust cloud left by the wagon.
I want this year to be different. The only way I know to make it so is to take ACTION. Write down the schedule changes, goals, steps, and commitments. Track them like a science nerd. Wishing won't work. Thinking won't work. Dreaming alone won't work. Doing will.
Doing has never been my biggest, best thing though. I can think, talk, and analyze a subject or problem to death, but jumping directly from knowing to doing has never come easy to me. Occasionally I make leaps, when I reach my "That's it!" point, and I'm grateful for them. But I'm tired of puttzing and dawdling until critical mass is achieved by some kind of miracle. I want to make things happen, hold the reins of life and steer.
Of course, life, like a horse, has an agenda of its own sometimes, a homing instinct to which I must surrender. The breath in its flanks flaunts its presence and power. I in no way think that I will bend life to my paltry wishes and emerge perfected. But I could at least do, do, and do some more, since I feel better (as in like a capable functioning adult) when I DO something that cuts through the hissing fog. Why not try? Again and again and again. Or at least get something done regardless of how I feel.
Now, it has been Christmas break. I've had lots of sleep and fewer demands. It's easy now to think many things might be possible and to see what those things might be. When work life resumes, it will be harder. I know it, or at least that's the story I tell myself. Fatigue and stress will narrow my view and blunt my desires. They will affect my good sense and my resolve. That's why I need charts, tables, contracts, lists, calendar entries--the power of the written word to remind. Get it? Re-mind. Yes.
I'm putting this down incoherently and against much resistance (My fingers are more woefully lost on the keyboard than usual tonight!) to begin--AGAIN--just where I am, hopeful and determined, wary and awkward, lost and found. Every word falls stupid and true and muddled and real. I'll need determination to spell and dispel. I'll need a concrete commitment to practicing calm until I claim it, and even to dusting, for pity's sake! I'll need the discipline of a sculptor's hammer.
I'll also need self-compassion if--no, when--I falter. That's OK, too. Beyond OK. Expected. And easy enough canceled out with a new day, a nap, a deep breath.
May my actions create good habits with a gentle, supporting grip in this new year. May I spend more time in peace rather than in pieces.