We all have ideals. As you may remember my goal was to write one post once a week. Well, I failed to achieve that goal. September and the beginning of October was unbelievably busy at work and with personal obligations. At first I thought, “I have to find a way to also get my posts done.” At that moment my blog was no longer an opportunity to write, an activity I love. It became a burden and a source of guilt. “I am not getting this done, I am failing.” This lasted until mid-September.
Then all of a sudden I thought, “why am I guilty? ” The blog was supposed to be for me. It was supposed a vehicle to explore one of my priorities writing. Now it was full of pressure to perform, come up with original content, and meet arbitrary expectations (held by no one but me). So I stopped feeling guilty. I let go of that expectation. Now I am still a struggling perfectionist, who loves nothing more than a fully checked off list of goals and objectives. So do not think for a minute I just threw off all expectation and jumped into the ‘hippy dippy, go with the flow’ culture. By let go, think of it more like fingers gripping and slowly slipping from a ledge. At first it felt frightening. “I see the rocks of mediocrity and defeat below.” Then a strange thing happened I gave in to the free fall. You know what? Today I am writing a blog about it. I am excited to do so. I could not wait.
How did the metaphorical slipping into the canyon of failure below become a free fall before a soft well guided landing? For me I asked myself some questions. How much can I realistically accomplish during this crunch time? What can I do well? I realized the answer was not everything. After I stopped crying about that reality; I set about a rigorous evaluation of my big goals for the year and my life. Right now and for a short period of time work demanded more of me. It was going to cut into chunks of my free time. So what other priorities do I have and which did I want to go forward.
- Healthy Exercise
- Healthy Eating
- Helping my family
I was not going to fit all of those in and not all of them at the idealized level. Meditation is the practice that allowed me to get through this time and made me more focused and productive so it stayed. Also it helps that it and exercise are linked in my pre-dawn 4 AM rituals. Those were easy to keep and as of today I have 327 consecutive days of mediation. I also have my regular running and my morning Savasana yoga practice. I was not successful yet at adding regular strength training and biking took a back seat. Healthy eating was up and down. On the days I was in the office or teaching I brought my lunch but I had to travel and work late; so I did not always get to cook at home. Overall I did not abandon that completely.
Volunteering is very important to me. I will be doing a post about that later. Suffice to say I found a way to continue that: my work with the no-kill cat shelter, coaching a youth run club with my husband, and volunteering for my profession through the Georgia Association of Water Professionals. I get far more out of volunteering than I give. Helping my family. That has remained a challenge but I did find time to work on a project to get my mother and aunt access to some discounted transportation and I checked in at least twice a week.
So reading and writing really suffered. I realized that I was not going to have the time or provide very valuable content on the blog since I was so wrapped up in the other things going on in my life. I just said, “you know what, you will write when things settle down.” As hard as it is for me. I let myself off the hook. A hook of my own making that is. Being much more tired at night I spent less time reading. I still did read in the morning, on flights, and a little at night. I definitely did not get as much read as usual. I did find a way to incorporate more “reading” through audio books. It was a good way to learn and use my time in the car between work and other obligations.
So there it is the long involved process of letting go for a recovering perfectionist and Type A personality. How do you let go?