From Type A to Type Ahh

Be the Change You Wish to See in the World – Ghandi

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Alignment-picGetting your metaphysical ducks in a row is really challenging.  I am working hard to align my actions and decisions with my priorities and values.  In theory that should be pretty easy, right?  In practice there are a whole lot of things that distract us from that.  In some instances I am doing well and in others I struggle.

Where am I making progress?  I would say I am doing better at making my family a priority over work.  I am trying to put my phone up after I get home and cooking and enjoying meals with my husband.  I am trying my best to leave work on my new schedule at 3:30 PM so I am not so rushed and feel so much pressure once I get home.  I am also trying to be open and accepting of my mother, who needs my help.  I have often struggled with Mom.  We are very different; we have very different ways of being in the world and different priorities.  I am working to put those aside and be there for her without judgement.  Thanks meditation!  I have used it to help me with this; sometimes even when I am in the car with her to just bring myself and my intention back to a positive, open, place without judgement .  Not easy but worth it, I think.

Also since our cats are so much a part of our family I have also tried to prioritize them.  I went back to making them a home-made diet and have made an effort to play with them more so they get the physical engagement they need.  I have failed up until today to transition them to a more species appropriate feeding schedule that my husband has been asking about.  Shifting them from 2 meals a day to  3 smaller meals.  Today I agreed and we have begun.  It will be an adjustment for them and us.  I think in the long run it will be best for them just like making their food is.  I have to admit I still struggle with playing with them as much as I should at the end of a long work day.

I have also kept up my promise to volunteer in things I am passionate about.  Most Sundays I am at Good Mews, a no-kill cat shelter.  I also still volunteer with the Georgia Association of Water Professionals and my husband and I start our fifth season as youth running coaches at his school.  That is consistent with my priorities and passions.

Where have I struggled?  This blog is one.  Writing is a passion and a priority for me, but I am not posting as much as I hoped.  I am reevaluating what is realistic, and I hope to consistently post at least weekly.  Also minimalism has been a struggle.  I did downsize my clothes and I definitely look with a more critical eye but my husband and I run a lot of races and I am still accumulating race t-shirts and shirts from work events.  I am definitely not as regimented as I should be about looking at my stuff.  I still see area where I should go through old CDs, books, my office desk, our cats’ toys, our file cabinet (maybe he scariest place in our home).  I am excited about seeing the Minimalists Less is Now Tour when they are in Atlanta in November.  I am brining my husband.  Who knows we might both get inspired.

Reading more and watching less TV.  I still watch an hour or so a night most nights.  Sometimes after working all day, coming home to care for the cats, take care of the house, and cook dinner I am so tired I just want to veg out for a short while before bed.  I know I would sleep better and get more out of just reading or sitting quietly.  It is a tough some times.  Also this is time with my husband most nights.

Saying no to work related tasks that don’t align with my goals, skills, and interests.  This is probably the hardest thing for me.  I just hate saying no to people and I always think “wait this might be important.  If I don’t do it who will?”  I need to remember someone always will.  Lastly, I am trying to incorporate a little additional exercise beyond my morning run.  I have added a day or maybe two of bike riding per week but I am not consistent.  I definitely have not pursued strength training or added that into my routine.

For a perfectionist, even one trying to recover, these short comings are hard to accept.  I know out of this struggle I get a chance to reevaluate the importance of them and also have an opportunity to grow.  I hope you are making progress toward aligning with your priorities and values.

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It is Not You it’s Me


I am pretty far into my year of trying to meditate everyday and see what else happens.  Chief among my hopes, not goals:  trying to let go of my obsession with perfection, being more present, and letting go of my old “Type A” ways.  All of that has been surprisingly easier than I had anticipated, and I give a lot of the credit to the first decision.  The decision to meditate everyday has been a gateway for me to learn so much.

Recently I learned something that I have been told my whole life, and certainly my entire married life, by my husband, it really is all about how we react.  No one can make me feel anything.  That all happens in the big theatre behind my eyes.  I had always heard this and in my mind thought “whatever, but really what you said, what you did…that’s the reason I feel like this.”  You know what?  It turns out that it really is all me…not you.  I would have bet anything it was you.  Especially every you that does not like me, or who has a differing opinion, or who disagrees about some key issue.

It is kind of humbling and amazing to realize that all of those relationships can be changed if we change the way we handle something or the way we take something.  For example my boss and I had a rift a couple of years ago.  Don’t get me wrong he said some things to me that he will have to reconcile with himself.  He has made repeated tries to reconcile with me.  Until I started this year, I was unwilling and unwavering.  He had done me wrong and I would be mortally wounded for life.  It was not easy but somewhere, some time doing a Metta meditation and focusing on him; I began to realize all of that was more about him than me.  It was the way I was reacting and holding on to it that would not allow me or him to move past it.  I am not even sure when it happened.  Still working on that “fully present” thing, but one day I just let it go.  I just chose to react differently.  I chose to let go of the wounded victim, reminding him of his transgressions by my cold stare.  I just treated him like a person, full of potential and short comings just like this person. You know what?  It actually made me feel better.  I was not necessarily letting him off the hook.  I was letting myself out of a prison of my own making.

Yes, he said those things, yes, I reacted the way I did.  Only, I decided to remain in that moment for the next several years.  This is just one example.  I have also noticed that taking a minute to breathe and center myself before immediately reacting has made me calmer and enriched my relationships.  All of the avoided arguments and hurts that never happened could not weaken and wound my relationships.

It is still a struggle but I feel like I keep learning and keep growing, and after all isn’t that why they call it practice.


Marriage Is Hard



Dung and I nearly 19 years ago at our wedding

Recently I have noticed a Facebook phenomenon.  Many of my friends have curated the perfect online marriage and usually their “Oscar worthy” depiction is followed by a similar follow up post “Mr. My friend and I have decided to divorce.”  “Picture” perfect marriages rarely last.  After thinking about this I wondered why, and I am now fairly certain of the reason.  They don’t last because they don’t exist.  Prepare yourself to be comforting and downing wine with any friend who spends nearly your entire evening out waxing poetic about ‘the perfection she has found in this idyllic partnership with her/his soul mate’.

Caveat, I am married.  I am happily married.  There is a difference between being happily married and being immersed in some dimensional alternate universe where two people live day in and day out through the mundane, fabulous and hideous days right alongside their families’ dramas as well, and capture each in perfectly edited selfies on their much followed joint Instagram.  That is not reality.  That is a couple or part of a couple wishing for something while living something else.

I have done hard things in my life, but if pressed I would say nothing has been harder or more rewarding than being married.  This year I have been trying to be more present, to be a kinder gentler version of myself.  I strive for that older, wiser, and less intense version of myself and it is two-step forwards and one step back process.  I would say my marriage is my own personal laboratory.  Prior to today I thought my experiments were top-secret.  While hubby and I were having one of those “missed connection” conversation I let it slip that I was working on really trying to evaluate what I say and not just say it.  I was trying hard to ask myself will I add anything positive by providing my perspective, or is this important enough to him that my role is just support.  I am just there to say, “I’m sorry. That’s great. That sucks. Carry on.” whichever is appropriate.  I thought this news would blow him away.  Instead he looked me straight in the eye and said. “I know you are.  We have been living together for 25 years.  You don’t think I noticed?”  That brings up a separate issue about my failing to be fully present and aware but that’s another blog, or something to meditate on later.

Marriage is a lot of things: funny, happy, ironic, messy, exciting, peaceful, frustrating, comforting,  lonely, exhausting, invigorating, infuriating, inspiring, and boring.  That is just on a Tuesday.  Marriage is a lot of things, but if someone tells you theirs is perfect, run.