I find it easy to begin things.
Journaling. Eating better. House projects. Yoga. Spanish lessons.
I always feel empowered when I decide to begin something new. My inner dialogue encouraging me with, “You’re gonna crush this … Everyone can find at least 10 minutes a day … It only takes a few weeks to form a habit … “ and so on.
I’d say at least 60% of the time – I follow through. The other 40% ends up like my bedroom closet currently – shelves and doors ripped off with the intention to “renovate” but 5 months later, still looks like a mouth with it’s two front teeth knocked out. Every night it serves as a physical reminder that ‘good intentions’ will never complete the job. Even with our cool paint colors and aesthetically pleasing wallpaper, it’s still an eye-sore off to the side, taking away from all the good stuff in place around it.
Much like the gnawing of a started but still unfinished house project – our “inner renovations” can prove to be just as frustrating. Even if it’s not as apparent as a ripped out closet, you know that there’s still work to be done. But we’re so good at justifying why we don’t prioritize ourselves – convinced that if it’s not obvious from the outside, we shouldn’t bring attention to it. As long as no one thinks I’m a bad daughter, friend, singer…
The reality is – it’s easier to accept minimal effort from ourselves than it is to receive it from someone else. It hurts when you show up for others and it’s not reciprocated.
So why are we okay with not holding ourselves just as accountable to ourselves? Why will we disappoint ourselves before we disappoint everyone else?
It’s a harder question to grasp than I thought. There are so many intricacies to one’s story, unforeseen twists and turns that got them here today. And the hard-hitting questions never come with a ‘One Size Fits All’ answer.
Like a majority of humans in this world – I made goals for myself in the New Year. A lot of them, actually. One of the very first things I did was buy a new journal and yoga mat, making a commitment to myself to “check-in” with my mind and body first thing in the morning. When my husband finally convinced me that buying a spin bike for our basement was a good idea after the holidays, I added a 30 minute ride to my morning routine.
All of these things made me feel like I was seriously taking control of my year. However, the rest of the day was spent giving my energy everywhere else for everyone else but myself. After sticking with the morning routine for the first few weeks of 2021, I was feeling so proud of myself that I decided to tackle even more.
I heard about the book, “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron from a fellow singer-songwriter’s Instagram story. She praised it as a game-changer, noting that it required a discipline she hadn’t ignited since…well, ever. So while she’s still trying to navigate how to move forward during this COVID-era, she began this 12 week course. Intrigued, I ordered it on Amazon. I had just finished setting up my music room in our new home and I couldn’t wait to jump right in.
The book sat on my desk, untouched, for a solid 10 days.
The 1st of February fell on a Monday (just like this month…weird) so I figured there was no better time to embark on something new. Three pages of long-hand, stream of consciousness writing every morning? Sure. A weekly chapter with some questions to answer at my own pace throughout the week? Easy.
At least that’s what I thought.
I’m now on Week 4 of this venture. Full transparency, I really thought I could coast on ‘auto-pilot’ for the first couple of weeks. On Valentine’s Day, I came to the realization that I was treating these creative check-ins as just another “to do” on my list. I felt embarrassed. How can I trust the process if I’m only halfway tuning in? So I spent the third week re-reading Week 1 & 2 and completing all the exercises. Once I finally moved on to Week 3, I started feelings the gravity of what I was actually doing. This is not a journey to calm the mind, it’s a journey to uncover it.
Daily meditations, yoga stretches, long walks, a good book – I do these things to quiet my thoughts and center. But now, I’m being asked to hold a magnifying glass over my thoughts and memories every morning, and then re-center myself from where ever the chapter/exercise took me.
And I’m doing this voluntarily? Correct.
Why? Because I know I still have unfinished closets.
This is my first blog in far too long. This is the first shelf.
2021 : If I’m going to begin, I’m going to finish.