I’m looking at all the posts from January, and just musing about January in particular. A long time ago March started the year, it still feels that way somewhat… January is like the alarm that is intended to be snoozed (a bad habit), February is the years get up and get ready alarm and March is like the alarm that says actually leave the house to be on time.
I want to look at problems I used to have that I resolved and other changes:
(Reflections about ✍️ The Day I Became a Professional Writer 🌻 Post)
In the past: Wanted to feel like a writer (Tried Grammarly Premium, it did not help, followed a casual better writing course with the Writing Under the Olive Tree blog, it did help, Did a lot of writing, it did help).
In the past: Poverty Mentality (Video by David Lee helped, Book “Happy Money” by Ken Honda helped).
In the past: I felt bad for not helping out every charity or good cause, but now I’ve come to find one that resonates with my heart. (Found Elevate Orphan charity, it does help cheer me up to help them, and read “Fu*k No” by Sarah Knight, it did help me set better boundaries in many aspects of life).
Reflections from last year: One we humans are all a family regardless of having different preferences or appearances; two what matters more than avoiding failure, is striving to stand for what is right to the best of our abilities as common people; and three, though we can’t do everything about everything, we can make some difference in some way.
In the past: My resolution was to never yell at my kids, now I don’t think it has to be never, if someone is throwing a rock or if they are just repeatedly throwing fits and I yell, I no longer think any yelling = verbal abuse and I’m no longer going to beat myself up for occasional yelling. It may not be the most effective communication, but I’m human and it’s not fair to expect me to constantly forgive my kids and others their human error and deny myself the same courtesy, I’m not going to hold that double standard against myself anymore.
In the past: I was really inspired by Lokahi, the Hawaiian concept of restoring something broken to wholeness and life balance, since last year I’ve learned that it is a concept the ancient Egyptians lived by as well, and is the top value of both China and Japan (under the name harmony or wa). I’m still striving for life balance using Russ Harris’s free worksheets right now to work on aligning my values and life balance and in the past used Michael Sheridan’s dream interpretation from his book and also from taking his amazing class in Seattle.
In the past: I wanted to find a way to help charity more, and I did that’s to Fun Raising, I’m still at the beginning of that journey, but taking a few first steps is the right direction.
In the past: I really hated not knowing my purpose in life, now I still don’t know, but it isn’t bothering me as much. I’m doing good things for others and I’m doing things I enjoy that are just simple things like playing music, having tea, playing building games, both those things make it seem like I’m living a pretty good life even without knowing my purpose. I also am taking a purpose workshop this Thursday, so hopefully that will help.
In the past: I felt like I was not really living at all, just doing mindless chores and childcare, I don’t feel that way anymore (as much), playing music helped, getting CES treatment helped a lot, taking more time to look at chicken artwork helped a lot, basically the antidote to feeling not alive was doing fun things even if they didn’t seem important to other people in my life. It was really hard to make it happen, no one took care of my kids more, I just let them play independently and was much more flexible about taking breaks that were at weird times and not caring as much that their dad thought they could be doing more (going out, doing class with me) and turning down people who wanted support from video chat or who wanted me to go on errands with them so they would avoid feelings of loneliness. Not only did I have to step back from my kids, but I had to tenaciously defend my break time and emotionally deal with the fact other people (in my family) look down on my very reasonable amount of break taking when it doesn’t suit their agenda.
(Reflections about the 💐 Journey of Kujichagulia (Self Determination) 🌻 post)
In the past: I struggled really, really hard to adapt from 1 child to 2. Dishes, trash, laundry, putting most things away, school, family dynamics, discipline ext. I was ill for a time, that meant doing much more, on much less energy. When I could exercise I did, but that didn’t help me on the front of taking back my life, focusing on expecting nothing at all and than adding back in what I could in a prioritized way was more important than eating well or exercise to a sense of control over my life. Making a schedule was really hard, so I just wrote down what really happened as a back dated schedule and that helped me trick my mind to believing I could follow a schedule and than I really made one, things got shifted, skipped and adapted, but having a schedule gave me some torque to take back the day out of chaos… into semi-order.
Last January it was hard to answer the “who are you, are you really who you say you are, are you doing all that you can for humanity?” questions that are part of Kwanzaa’s January 1st reflections. This year it wasn’t as hard:
I live by my values, upholding them matters to me, it somehow gets me through the day inspired instead of worn down.
I keep my eyes open to the truth.
I am make mistakes, but I believe in trying anyways.
I am surrender my children’s learning goals and results to them, but I still try to create a learning environment.
I am as far as I know who I say I am and in general I am doing all I can, I donated the cost of some sneakers for orphans and that’s about right for the mental and emotional reserves I currently have, not because it sounds like a lot or not because I’m tooting my own horn, but because this time I could feel it, it felt right and it made me happy, but I also left a pair of shoes in Cuba once and it was symbolic to donate one pair to Africa as well… I hope it helps the person who gets them, but it also helps me be happy and I’m okay with both sides of that.
There are some parts of me I still don’t understand, like the intersection of who I am as a parent and an individual, but I do notice the childcare workload is getting more manageable as my son approaches 2, (my daughter is 5 going on crazy), they are both learning coping skills regarding the pandemic stress (which I never wanted them to have to deal with at those ages…) and as they calm down and play independently I can breathe and clean (which are related when you have allergies to pets, and also pets).
(Reflections from the Procrastination and I post)
I had heard of Edison testing thousands of light bulb materials that didn’t work, his friend Walter S. Mallory asked ” ‘Isn’t it a shame that with the tremendous amount of work you have done you haven’t been able to get any results?’ Edison turned on me like a flash, and with a smile replied: ‘Results! Why, man, I have gotten lots of results! I know several thousand things that won’t work!'”
In the past: I needed new coping mechanisms ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy), radical acceptance, mindfulness and stoicism to deal with the transition to motherhood which was unspeakably difficult and unnatural for me. Gratitude also helped a ton, much more than I expected before practicing it. Stoic philosophy, and values based living also helped me feel like I had the power to make my life matter and decide if I had a positive impact on the world or not based on my actions in my small (but real) realm of control (my mind, my choices).
In the past: I had trouble getting out of bed, not because I was a late riser, but because I was scared of another day of dealing with my daughter, screaming, crying, yelling, kicking, asking, demanding, refusing, questioning me non-stop (only much later found out she was not normal). Marcus Aurelius really helped me shift my mindset about getting out of bed:
“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: “I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?”
So you were born to feel “nice”? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands?
You don’t love yourself enough. Or you’d love your nature too, and what it demands of you.”– Marcus Aurelius
In the past: Marcus Aurelius wasn’t enough to give me hope on the darker days, but Stephen Hawking was, because of who he was. Marcus Aurelius was the Emperor of Rome, he was wealthy, well educated, had family, had helpers, but Stephen Hawking had been through divorce, the debilitating physical conditions of advancing multiple sclerosis, and problems at work, so for him to keep getting up and working on his projects and motoring his electric chair out of bed everyday instead of telling the nurses just leave me alone, that made me feel like I could do it too.
“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the Universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”– Stephen Hawking
Old Me > Current Me
Felt desperately wanted to feel like a writer > Am a writer, but noticed it’s not all leather jackets and book signings, it’s mostly writing.
Felt so guilty over not being able to help all good causes and not being able to be nice to my kids 24/7 > Am doing the best I can in real ways, but have let the pressure to be perfect leave and told it not to let the door hit it on the way out…
Felt guilty about my student loan > Am not guilty, paying interest on the loan when I can pay for it should be punishment enough without me beating myself up over it and if I can never pay it, then I don’t need to be guilty for what I can’t even do.
Was desperately seeking life balance > Am interested in increasing balance, but I’ve been able to do noticeably better and seeing results helps me keep moving forward.
Was desperately seeking impact > Am really satisfied with the few people who reached out to thank me for some of the work I’ve already done that had a positive impact on them, one chalk drawing in particular and a comment on Coach.Me for some reason were enough for me. I wanted to know I was making a difference “at all” more than I wanted to know I was or could make a “big” difference. So two small moments, two individuals taking the time to say thank you, really made a huge difference to me, made me feel like I can check the “do something good in life” box.
Felt like a failure because I don’t know my life purpose > Am okay with knowing or not knowing what my life purpose is, but I’m not desperate to find out, because I’m okay with just doing my best to live in harmony with myself and help others when I have a pretty good opportunity to do so.
Felt like the day was going to be horrible before it even started > Am waking up happy and then sometimes get annoyed that my kids woke up at 6:30 and I don’t get alone time, yet at least I let bad things happen before getting annoyed instead of just assuming each day will be horrible.
Felt like a failure because I struggled immensely to parent my daughter and I hated myself for struggling with it when it seemed like everyone around me could do better than I could > Am okay with knowing I did my best, especially because my daughter has always had Sensory Processing Disorder and I never knew, I’ve been struggling with something that was hard the whole time and I never gave up, I never hit my daughter and I did the best I could even though most people would have medicated someone like my daughter, I kept trying “normal parenting” tips and classes and seeing them fail and fail and fail and I found “several thousand things that won’t work!” Sometimes it’s me not you, but this time it really is her and not me, and I won’t lie that’s nicer than feeling like I’m inherently dysfunctional as a parent.
My mantra for this year is: “If you really want to escape the things that harass you, what you’re needing is not to be in a different place but to be a different person.” – Seneca
I look back and see that I’ve already taken many steps forward, but I can feel that my life isn’t in balance as much as I would like it to be still, so it will be a work in progress, but each day that I notice more about what I really, silently want in life, not exactly what I say out loud, or even what I can put words to, but what is silently in my heart, after that recognition, it doesn’t take longer than a week to start discussing it, start finding ways to make preliminary steps happen, ways to push past the seemingly inevitable first failure. Between the dream and the blue print is the longer wait, between the blue print and the building is surprisingly doable, maybe not easy, but doable.
The journey of 1000 steps begins with 1 realization: