Reverb10: December 11: 11 Things
Following a link from Gretchen Rubin at the Happiness Project, I found the Reverb10 site, which encourages us to spend each day of December looking back at 2010 and thinking about what we want in our lives in 2011, through daily prompts. Since I started nine days late, I'm not going to write about all of them, but I think I'll write now about one that sings to me.
December 11 – 11 Things What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?
1) Loneliness (as opposed to being alone, which is different.)
2) Criticism and judgment.
3) Too much expectation.
4) A resistance to letting go of sadness.
5) The need for people to agree with me.
6) The need for people to like me.
7) Physical laziness (more yoga and exercise!)
8) Fear - of contact, of newness, of doing things I'm not good at.
9) Living too much in my head.
10) Overdrinking and overpartying.
11) Living vicariously.
I think most of these can be faced (I don't necessarily believe in eliminating any part of ourselves) by cultivating mindfulness and attention to my experience, and by reminding myself that one of the things I value is participating and connecting, even when initially it might feel scary. I can use the tools that I know: breathing, centering, meditation, and an attention to my desire to live by my values, and use those to surf the ocean of life.
When I feel lonely but too sad or scared to go out and socialize, or feel like isolating myself from loved ones, I can center myself and remind myself that I value connection. When I'm feeling down on myself for not going out (or not staying in, or not calling a friend back), I can remind myself that I don't need to be perfect. When I don't know what to do, I can consult my values and what I want my life to mean. I can also do this when I'm scared to try something new, or scared to make a commitment to a new path. When I don't want to go to yoga or take that walk, i can remind myself how good it feels to take care of my body. When I want another drink though I know I've already had enough, I can remember the discomfort of a hangover and remind myself how good it feels not to overindulge, how much brighter my mind feels when I'm not toxifying it. When I lose myself in my head thoughts, I can gently bring myself back to the moment and consider that a part of self-care is not letting myself ruminate myself into a deep, dark pit.
When I feel alive and centered and connected, I feel truly myself: confident, strong, laughing, and vibrant. Other people don't need to see that or agree with me or mirror that to me, I can feel it. In achieving the goal of letting these things go, I will feel that "true-selfness" more and I will be using my gifts fully, not escaping from myself or my experience, nor beating myself up (or believing others who beat me up) for not being someone else.