Affirmation have helped thousands of people make significant change in their lives, but not every affirmation works for every person. As women we have a tendency to put the needs of others before ourselves. We need to spend more time celebrating, motivating and encouraging ourselves. What can we do to make sure we see results and create lasting change?
Change is going to come. You better welcome it. ~Anonymous
The past couple of weeks have been crazy, joyful, nerve wracking, frightening, exciting and so much more. I’m sure the same can be said for everyone else out there if you take the time to analyze the emotions that run through your heads from moment to moment.
As I’ve shared in past posts this year is one of transition for me. I’ve been working on myself, my home and my future all at once and it has not been constant smooth sailing. Today I’d like to share where my journey has taken me thus far.
A few weeks ago a very good friend lost her mother after a long illness. Though death had seemed a possibility the actuality of it was not something that had truly been prepared for. At the time I remember feeling gratitude for my own aging parents and others who have contributed to my life along the way. Little did I realize that in a breath’s width of time my own reality would be altered in ways that had you asked would have never seemed possible.
As I write this I sit in the dark of my dining room listening to my oldest in her room above attempt to wipe away her own pain with episodes of Dance Moms. Earlier she asked me if she would ever be the same, and as much as I wanted to say ‘yes, baby, it will all be okay’ the realist in me knew that I was not allowed to promise my daughter, my love, ANYTHING!
You only lose what you cling to. ~ Buddha
Often in life we find ourselves holding on to things that no longer have value – objects, people, relationship and so much more. It is hard to let go when the clinging has become not only a habit, but, possibly, a bit of a pleasure. We tell ourselves that we are strong for being able to ‘stick with it’, or that we are the better person for ‘not letting go’. Well guess what? You’re not and the only person taking pride in your pain is YOU.
When I started my journey a year ago I began the process with a 21 Day Consciousness Cleanse from DailyOm. It was three weeks of learning, growth and, often, tears. I had to acknowledge some hard truths about myself with the willingness to accept blame when it was due AND to release blame that was not mine to claim. In the end there were three main things that kept coming up ~ self-forgiveness, releasing the past and learning to thank myself,
Self-forgiveness is one of those things that is hard for a lot of us. How can we forgive ourselves if we are not willing to look at what we’re forgiving ourselves for? We have a hard time looking into the past or too deeply at ourselves because the introspection often leads to feeling guilt and shame. Why? We did it (or didn’t do it), it’s in the past and it’s done. We cannot change the past, but we have the opportunity to change the future. If we do not not forgive ourselves for our mistakes and missteps we can’t use the past as an opportunity to learn how to create a better future.
I recall being asked some time in my early 20s where I found religion. My immediate response was ‘in nature and I call it spirituality’. Nature, the earth, gives me all that I have to be thankful for ~ food, clothes, medicine ~ how could I not view it as some sort of temple or sacred place. The Japanese practice of Shinrin Yoku asks that you experience nature with all of your senses and leave the rest of the world behind.
Have you ever felt cooped up in your life with no real way to escape? I know I have. Life, work, children and all your other responsibilities make it impossible for you to see a way out, but maybe what you really need is a way in. We often think that we need to ‘just get away from it all’. Sure a vacation or road trip sounds nice, but that takes planning, money and time. Some time with yourself in nature can be the only prescription you need.
In order to understand what this is all about it is probably a good idea to understand where I am coming from. I didn’t always know that this was my path though I have definitely done some variation of this (write, coach, cook, etc.) my whole life. It’s like the cosmos was trying to tell me something and for whatever reason I just wasn’t listening.
A little over a year ago I was a busy mother working for a nonprofit tech company that I helped to start. My average work week was 50 hours plus, not including the hours I spent on the road or in airports. My children (and I) spent over 10 hours a week in swim practice and another 4 hours at swim meets. My spare time I devoted to three nonprofit organizations as a board member and with what was left of my time I tried to get to hot yoga at least twice week. Then there was still dinner, homework, laundry… you get the picture. This story is not unique, nor do I expect applause. Not the point of this story.
Though I love the image this quote builds for the soil I think it is especially apropos for our soul as well. For so many of us life is a day-to-day journey filled with caring for family and/or plotting a career. Meanwhile our own dreams lie dormant beneath the soil because we don’t take the time to nurture what is important to us. How many times have you said ‘when they are older I will’ or ‘when I retire I will’? Why then and not now?
Trust me, I’m not going to claim that I set aside time each day to nurture my soul, but I do recognize that I deserve the time and the attention. Beginning this blog and starting my own business was a step in that direction. It has taken me time to figure out a decent balance of ME and them, but the journey has been well worth it. Here’s a few tips below.
Years ago I purchased my home as an investment. The plan was to rent out the main home and the carriage house for additional income to invest in my flip projects. One bad tenant, busted pipes, the real estate crash and a broken marriage later I found myself living in a home that I had no intention of ever occupying, and that needed enormous amounts of work for which I had neither the time nor the finances. Long story short I was between a rock and an avalanche.
You might wonder why I share all of this with you. I do because I want you to understand my mindset at the beginning of this journey. For years I had this defeatist attitude, like I couldn’t do anything to improve my situation, when the truth is I WOULDN’T. Now don’t get me wrong I made my home presentable enough that it wasn’t the total embarrassment that it had been in the beginning, but that was about it. Every moment of energy I put into making my home better for me and my girls was a reminder of how much I had failed. It became a penance and I dreaded facing it.