- Be Susan.
- Act the way I want to feel.
- Be gentle with myself.
- Stop drifting. Be mindful.
- Let it go.
- Lighten up.
- Do what is right.
- Live in the now.
- Look for good in all people.
- Give in to love.
My best friend described my laugh several years ago perfectly: “It is HAHAHAHAHAHA.” I think it was said during a conversation about me being such a perfectionist that even my laugh used a laugh word: ha.
And, if you listen carefully, you can hear it. HAHAHAHAHAHA. I think I have a great laugh. It’s distinctive. Usually pretty loud.
I’ve had people find me in a crowd by following my laughter. Which, when you think about it, is pretty cool.
I’ve talked about The Happiness Project for a few years now. I find Gretchen always gets me thinking. Like Happiness resolution: Choose a one-word theme for the new year.
Wow. A one word theme for the year. Interesting. So I’ve been mulling it over. Wondering what word could really make a difference in what I do. I’ve been thinking living life rather than just getting through it one day at a time.
I started thinking about what holds me back. From losing weight. From getting out and doing things. From dancing and singing my way through life. And it’s fear. Fear of what, who knows? Maybe everything.
So, my word for 2011? FEARLESS.
I’m following Gretchen’s lead and starting in January, my challenge is to figure out what to do differently, according to my word. I am going to make FEARLESS my mantra. Instead of making specific resolutions, I will use it to look at everything I do with new eyes.
To me, “FEARLESS” is not the absence of fear. It’s not being completely unafraid. To me, FEARLESS is having fears. FEARLESS is having doubts. Lots of them. To me, FEARLESS is living in spite of those things that scare you to death. FEARLESS is falling madly in love again, even though you’ve been hurt before. FEARLESS is getting back up and fighting for what you want over and over again…even though every time you’ve tried before, you’ve lost. It’s FEARLESS to have faith that someday things will change. FEARLESS is having the courage to say goodbye to someone who only hurts you, even if you can’t breathe without them. I think loving someone despite what people think is FEARLESS. I think allowing yourself to cry on the bathroom floor is FEARLESS. Letting go is FEARLESS. Then, moving on and being alright…That’s FEARLESS too.
~ Taylor Swift
I was having a morning today. I was frustrated. I felt disrespected. I was angry and vengeful. Then I read my “Happiness Project” email.
I’d unsubscribed a while ago and just re-upped yesterday. Fortuitous timing. Today Gretchen interviewed Bob Sutton about work and happiness. Midway through, this comment jumped out at me:
Whenever I start feeling too earnest or too self-important, I get dumber, more difficult, and altogether unpleasant.
And I thought, “Oh. Hello.”
Then Gretchen asked if he has a happiness mantra or motto to help get through those moments. Wow, did he. And boy, did they really smack me in the face.
Think about how others around you feel, not how you feel or what you want.
Focus doing the best you can, not on doing better than others.
Be Yourself, but keep your inner jerk in check.
Oh this morning, it was All. About. Me. What people were doing to Me.
Reading this, I realized that a missed deadline is not really about Me. That odds are, they didn’t do it just to rile me up. That their actions really aren’t about me. And that I was being a total Jerk.
So, I backed myself up from the ledge and wrote these three mantras down. Over and over. Then I stuck them to my monitor as a reminder.
Because today’s behavior? Not who I want to be as I work to live a Life Worthy.
I left the house yesterday! Yes, I say that like it’s a good thing, because it is. I’ve been very reclusive lately. Doing the bare minimum of what needs to get done and nothing more. When I post on Facebook that I wasted another day. I mean it.
I read yesterday morning and then came home. I had an idea of things I wanted to do. But I napped instead. Eventually I literally forced myself to leave the house.
I spent a while wrestling with inviting my mom. See, I like to do things alone, and that’s not something she understands. So I can tell it hurts her feelings if I tell her that I did something without her. Even something simple like a trip to Target.
I thought about a conversation I had with a friend during dinner this week (another force myself to leave the house). I told him that I don’t think I will ever feel like an adult while my mom is alive.
Harsh, right? But I am still her child. I have no other title to differentiate myself with. Like wife. Or mother. I am just her daughter. And because of that I stop myself from doing things because, well, that’s a struggle to explain.
I literally sat in the drive way for minutes telling myself it was ok to go without her. It was OK.
I did nothing exciting. I drove by my Godson’s new school. Just to get an idea of where it is. Figure out the simplest route (it’s totally not in my neighborhood). Then I wandered around a bookstore. And JCPenney. Then I stopped at a grocery store in the area to see if they had these new drinks we discovered at the Pet Expo that mom really liked but aren’t in our ‘hood.
I bought her what they had (three!). Then I took it by her house with a DVD and special newspaper section. I chatted for a while and she seemed in good spirits. Thank heavens for that antidepressant.
I felt good when I came home. That I’d done something. Anything. I know it sounds crazy. And like maybe this isn’t the best time to be juggling my meds. But I don’t feel down. I feel like I’m in a place where I don’t need to be pushing myself. Even if there’s lots of be done. That this is a phase that will pass with the heat.
I’m having dinner with another friend from out-of-town tonight. And I’m looking forward to it. I’m not saying there won’t be some wrestling with it on my part this afternoon, but I will go and I know I will have fun.
I am reading a nifty book right now, 29 Gifts. I remember finding the website a couple years ago and getting on the bandwagon. Then I remember talking about how I am already that way and I guess I quit. High and mighty, that’s me.
Well, the book has re-energized my thoughts on the being in tune to giving to others. In a deliberate way. A segment tonight helped me focus on trying again, differently.
“Smiles are easy for me to give, as are words of advice. I want to use this 29 Days to go deeper and offer things I wouldn’t normally give,” writes another.
I like the spirituality of the book, but am sometimes bothered by the “places of devotion where I could make offerings to my ancestors and to the great spirit that unites us all.” Thankfuly she offers Bible versus right next to those thoughts. I worry about focusing on the “great spirit” without it being God.
I’ve done yoga a few times, but read in Christianity Today magazine (or online) that yoga is sinful because it encourages worship of Hinduism (I don’t know why CT link takes you to a different website). That you cannot separate yoga from the Hindi religion. So that pretty much ruined yoga for me.
Anyway. I swear the connection made sense at the time I thought it.
It also has a section, again in talking via a “divination” from an African medicine woman, that leads her to think more about her writing. How when she started blogging, “Writing was like a therapy for me back then . . . After years of this type of writing, plus a lot of counseling and addiction treatment, I found myself well and happy, which was great. But I didn’t know how to write from this healthier place, so I just stopped. I felt like I lost my voice.”
The bells went off for me, because that is exactly how I’ve been feeling. That by coming out of depression, by not being able to define myself by it, I lost myself along the way.
She goes on to ask questions during the divination that involve minerals and rocks and eventually planting seeds to “symbolically fuel my creativity. ‘Ask the earth to help you grow a new voice.’ “
As she plants the seeds, she “sends out a silent plea to the universe: Please help me find a new writing voice that communicates from love, hope and faith.” That’s what I need to do. Find a positive voice that comes from a new connection with myself. I’ve not been writing with any passion for a long time now and I would like to find that form of creative expession again.
I’ve not been able to sleep. But now that I’ve written this out I have become very tired and know I’ll sleep well now.