my long road to ‘now’
Today I’m am really REALLY sore. This is a result of my reignited workout routine, which I began Monday with enthusiasm after a year long break. Yes, you heard me correct. A year long break. (Trainers always say you should rest between reps and I was taking this very VERY seriously.) Needless to say, I’ve been borderline immobile since I jumped headlong into health with a 90 min yoga session, a 30 min walk, and a 30 min run at the beginning of the week. But this is sort of my MO. I don’t really do things half way. And when I decide to make a change I want to make that change NOW, so I jump in head first with all I have (sometimes to the point of pain).
This MO is at times good. It makes me a focused and motivated employee who will run with an assigned task independently and go above and beyond. I am a devoted friend, mother, and wife who will travel any distance when a loved one is in need. And when we have company coming, I will scour the floors, dust the blinds, and repaint the bathroom in the two hours before they arrive, just so I’m sure it’s ‘perfect.’
This can be bad as well though. For example, I was laid off and began staying home a week ago and already I can feel my unrealistic expectations of a new career and time with my family eating away at my positive attitude. I want things to be better NOW. I want my decision to make this lay off experience ‘positive’ to be reinforced with good things NOW.
I’m finding that though tangible changes in my surroundings may be immediate (ie loss of job), the transition in the rest of your life to match these changes may not be immediate. A true transition (I’m learning the hard way) is a slow, steady, and internal shift that requires a zen like acceptance of the now as it actually is right now. A zen state is something I aspire to, but it doesn’t really mesh with my ‘throw-myself-in-100%-and-change-it-now’ MO, so I’ve got a lot of work to do to achieve this.
What am I’m doing to work on becoming more ‘zen’? For one, I’m learning about it by reading. I’ve subscribed to Spirituality and Health magazine, which has had some great articles about happiness, acceptance, and living in the now from many different scientific and religious perspectives. The ones I found particularly helpful in this month’s issue included ‘The ultimate “let it go” ritual’ and ‘Self-compassion: How to value yourself.’ I’ve also begun learning by doing. I’m practicing yoga again and already feel (sore) and more centered from this physical lesson of the importance of connecting the mind and the body.
I’m also developing my ‘zen’ self by allowing myself to do nothing at all. This is my weakest area because it means just ‘being’ and not ‘doing.’ At this point I’m better at this happening accidentally than intentionally. I’m in more of a ‘forgiveness’ stage than in one of proactively ‘being’ (like I’m not great at mediating yet.) (And I’m categorizing meditation as something you can be great at…that can’t be right either.) But now, when I find I’ve done nothing except sit on the porch and watch my daughter play, instead of ridiculing myself for laziness, I say to myself, ‘It’s OK that you just sat here. If fact, it’s great – you were living in the now!’
So, while I’m going to try to keep my high energy focus and drive for improvement pushing me to workout more and take my health more seriously, I’m ALSO going to be OK with who I am and where I am right now. I think this mentality will actually help me make life changes by aiding longterm without burn out. Here’s hoping!