Stuck. Stymied. Spun out. Stressed. Sick. Silently (or perhaps not so silently) freaking out. We’ve all been there; we’ll all be there again. Because, sadly, personal development isn’t a tidy, linear, upward moving arrow. It’s a curlicue, a doodle. At times it loops back on itself and shoots you somewhere you never expected to be.
This is an incomplete list of what to do in those moments when you need an energy boost, stat. And you can probably already tell I’m not talking about the energy that means physical stamina or strength, or how tired you are or aren’t. I’m talking about how you view, interact with, and show up in the world. It’s your own personal frequency, and when you learn how to access the higher energy levels, that’s when the inevitable detours stop feeling so hard and avoid becoming cul de sacs.
After my second child was born, I gave up a 13-year mind-body practice cold turkey. I just didn’t have time to do one thing that wasn’t directly related to keeping those kids fed, rested, housed, and cared for. At least that was my rationale. And it felt so true.
So I stopped going to yoga class, doing yoga at home, or sitting and meditating. And that’s when my overwhelm got so much worse. That’s when I started requiring two or three glasses of wine a night to take the edge off. Which then interrupted my sleep (which was already pretty out of whack with a newborn in the house). Which then impacted my mood. Which had me snapping at my husband. Worst of all, I totally lost touch with any greater vision for myself. I am not going to lie, it was awful. A real low point.
So when my clients and potential clients and readers tell me, “I just don’t have time for any kind of self care at the moment, and I can’t handle the thought of adding something else to my to-do list,” I get it. I really get it.
My almost 3-year-old boy is Mr. No these days. “Teddy, it’s time to put on shoes.” “Nooooo!” “Teddy, it’s time to brush teeth.” “NOOOOOOO!” “Teddy, it’s time for school.” “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO,” accompanied by high-volume crying. He is resistance personified.
When my daughter, who is now 5, was in this phase, I was sure this meant that she was just a control freak who would fight us every step of the way for the rest of her life. (A little reactionary, I’ll admit, but this is truly what I thought in the midst of those epic tantrums.)
Now I’ve come to see resistance in a different light, that’s pretty much summed up by this quote:
“Your resistance is a sign that your system is reconfiguring itself toward success.”
-Todd Herman, ThePeakAthlete.com
It’s this completely annoying tendency to say we can do something we enjoy and makes us feel good after we get the ‘important’ stuff done.
You know the kind of stuff I’m talking about: The yoga session, the phone call to a girlfriend, the walk outside, the crossword puzzle, the cup of hot chocolate, the journaling, the creative project. The kind of thing that makes us feel hopeful, connected, comforted, inspired, energized, and happy.
Dinnertime used to be my least favorite part of the day, for a gazillion reasons – I wanted our meals to be as healthy and delicious as possible and so I knocked myself out to make meals that dazzled. In part because I’d worked so hard, I stressed about how much of this food actually made it in my kids’ mouths. Because my kids were small and needed to be in bed by about 7 or else they were total basket cases, I wanted the preparation and the consumption to happen in a timely manner. And then, there were the dishes. Oh, the dishes!
My husband and I had a basic understanding – whoever cooks doesn’t do dishes. Perfectly reasonable, right? The thing is, my husband is a soaker. He actually says, “I come from a long line of soakers.” Which is code for, “Sometimes I do the dishes, sometimes I just stick them in the sink.” Which means I’d emerge from putting the kids to bed and often see the kitchen in the exact same state as I had left it. This bugged me to no end.
At the end of 2012, I wrote about how I downloaded and listened to a year-end visualization by my most amazing friend and colleague, Julie Zeff. (I also know from her that 15 of you also downloaded it – way to take clarity-promoting action!)
During that visualization, the word that came to me that encapsulates my approach to 2013 is TRUST. Trusting my gut, trusting the signs I get from the universe, releasing judgments, and moving forward with confidence – or at least faith when the confidence is still building.
I spent a lot of years not really having an opinion, saying “whatever” a lot, and ducking pointed questions about what I thought about something in particular. I was trying to flexible, to go with the flow, keep the peace.
Bleh! It’s no fun, keeping yourself in the dark about how you really feel just for the sake of not ruffling any feathers.
When an old habit, pattern, or train of thought is holding you back, you’ve got to give yourself a new experience to bust out of it. And a great way to have that new experience is to do the opposite of that pattern.
So I wrote a manifesto.
My family and I had a great holiday break, we really did. We spent tons of time together. We made blanket forts. Did puzzles. Went bowling. Went sledding. Baked. I made chicken stock and even homemade mustard. I also managed to take 2 naps with my 2-year-old—one of them in his 4-foot-long toddler bed. (I didn’t regain my full height for a good 8 hours, but it was worth it!)
And yet, we also devolved. I lost track of how many days it had been since the kids’ last bath – or my last shower, to be honest. After being gluten-free for months, I went on a wheat flour binge on New Year’s Eve day. I had only a couple of sessions on the yoga mat. It took me several attempts over three days to write a blog post that in the end still didn’t make any sense. It felt like my brain grew cobwebs.
This is a call to every woman, everywhere, ready to
- ignite your passion,
- turn up the heat on your pleasure and
- tap into your magnificent, miracle-making feminine power
Every woman, everywhere, who’s done playing a wallflower to life.
Are you ready?
Can you hear it? It’s the sound of the chapter closing on 2012. I’ve been yearning to take stock of the past 12 months and do some big-picture planning for 2013, but had been finding all kinds of excuses to put it off. You know the drill – emails to return, calls to make, noses to wipe, Homeland season finales to watch.
I know enough to know that all the excuses are a sign of resistance. Here are some old ideas that were conspiring to keep me from outlining my calendar:
I’ve never been much of a planner – I’ve leapt from lily pad to lily pad most of my life, jumping from well-paying corporate jobs to non-profit gigs with meager earnings, from yoga teacher training to freelance writing. I liked to think that it was just because my mind-body practice gave me a hotline to my gut, which was mostly true. But the flip side of that is that I had a long-held belief that plans just never came true.