On August 18th of this year, I stepped into ‘retirement’. That was a bit more than three months ago. Three months have gone by! How time flies! So far it’s been an interesting experience.
At my retirement party, I was asked about what was next for me. My response was a true Ginette response, of course! I tend to be quite an open book, maybe a tad too much at times. My response went somewhat like this… “First I want to put my energy into re-building myself, my self-confidence. I’ve done quite a number on myself in the past few years and I want to change this. Once I’ve done this, I’ll see what comes next.”. I said more than this but that is the gist of it. It’s been more than three months now. How is this re-building job going?
As I contemplate this question, I realize that perhaps ‘re-building myself’ are not exactly the right words and maybe not even the right intent. Firstly, these words are heavy with judgments. Secondly, they eradicate any forward movement I might have done in the past few years. And finally, these words are telling me that I’m not good enough as I am right now and that until I have achieved this ideal goal of re-building myself and my confidence I cannot enjoy being at peace with myself. What if increasing being at peace with myself was the ideal goal? Wouldn’t the rest naturally follow?
In the past 3 months, the necessity of accepting myself as I am has become very evident. This is the first step. It makes no sense to want to change things about myself if I haven’t yet accepted myself as I am now, today. Interestingly, this is something that is happening naturally within myself, bit by bit. I’m surrendering more and more to what is. I’m aware that this is happening on a very small scale and that I have a long way to fully accepting myself as I am. However, I am moving in the right direction and I choose to celebrate this. That in itself brings me peace of mind. In this now moment.
Do you observe yourself? I mean as if you are a separated entity from who you are in your day to day activity, without judgments, just observing yourself do what you do and think what you think? I do that! I didn’t always do that but I find myself do this quite regularly now. There’s so much information I can gather about myself when I do observe myself without judgments. It is usually information that can help me, if I so choose, in navigating my inner and outer life better.
One of the things I’ve observed about myself lately is a need to loosen up in my art practice. I realized that there is something holding me back. Back from what, I’m not sure. But I do know that I’m not putting ‘myself’ on my art journal pages. Art journaling can be a powerfully therapeutic practice. I know this but I have yet to reach that in my own practice. There’s a definite struggle taking place there.
The need to let go of control comes to mind.
Then I think of another ongoing struggle that permeates a great part of my life: the food addiction, health issues related to body weight, wanting to lose weight and never reaching that goal, and the resulting reduction in mobility and consequently the quality of my life. It occurred to me yesterday that I was putting a whole lot of pressure on my self in the way that I judge myself and in the way that I burden myself with unrealistic expectations. I’m relentless with myself. In my mind.
And again, the need to let go of control comes to mind.
The truth is the more I try to control something, the less control I actually have. This is not news to me. I’ve known this for a long time. Or did I? As Laozi said long ago: “To know and not to do is not yet to know.”
Art… Life… What is the link? There is a link there for sure! Letting go of control. Loosening up the grip on my art and on my life. What does that mean? How do I do this? How do I learn to trust myself to the point of surrender? That’s the crux of the matter, isn’t it? To trust ourselves to the point of surrender? TRUST, then, IS the answer. Indeed, it is!
October 2nd, 2017… the second day of a brand new month! I love new beginnings and a new month can certainly be looked at as a new beginning.
I remember when I was a child being all excited at the beginning of the school year. I had brand new notebooks with not a crease or a mark in them. Every year I was so intent on keeping these notebooks looking new all year round. So I would make sure that my writing was tidy and clean. I would apply myself so intently. Days would go by and my resolve would diminish and in no time, my notebooks were a mess. At least to my eyes. Then I would hate these ‘messy and dirty’ notebooks. I wanted new ones. Sometimes I did but mostly I didn’t of course.
Many, many, many years later, I still feel this way about new beginnings. I have such great intentions about things. Things like losing weight, exercising, art projects, classes, etc. Then I mess it up, or so I judge it as such. Then I want to start over again. Therefore my love for new beginnings.
Life isn’t a do-over though. We progress through our lives, growing, learning, becoming more of who we really are. Life isn’t like a ‘messy’ notebook that we get to throw away when it is no longer to our liking and then replaced with a new one. Life is more like a beloved journal that we carry with us at all time, with its well-worn pages and creases, filled with pen scratches and smears of days past; a journal that has become more and more cherished as days accumulates within its spine and our soul is laid bare within its pages; a journal, which the very thought of losing, bring deep sorrow to our heart. No, life is definitely not a do-over. Nor would I want it to be!
So instead of hoping for a do-over on this month I thought of doing a bit of review for September and look at what I would like to accomplish during this new month. The intention behind this exercise is to cultivate an attitude of celebrating and learning from my experiences and to set some gentle guidance for the upcoming month.
SEPTEMBER achievements and learnings
- I have settled a bit more into retirement. This has been my first full month as a retiree. Hoot! Hoot! I love it! I love that my time is mostly my own now to do with as I pleased. I find that I have to give myself more structure and this calls for discipline which isn’t exactly my strong suit.
- I have experienced the benefits of meditation. I knew, intellectually, that meditation had great benefits. However, I had not had the experience of that. Now I do. I have meditated maybe 20 mornings this last month from 14 minutes to 30 minutes at a time. It is very clear to me that it really calms my anxiety down. This is an amazing awareness as anxiety is what drives my bouts of self-destructive behaviour.
- I birthed Emergessence and started blogging regularly. I joined Blog Along with Effy which was very helpful in getting me to blog. I didn’t blog everyday but I blogged more than I ever did. So that is a success!
- I have learned about food fermentation and have my second batch fermenting right now and we’ll get to taste it later today. I’ll be sharing more about this in a future post.
- I have returned to an old love of mine: website design. I’m currently re-designing a website for a friend and have two other upcoming designs. I’m learning new skills as the tools I used in the past have been replaced with new tools.
- I have binged ate probably less than what I can count on one hand. This is quite an achievement since I had been binge eating most nights for quite a while. Consequently, I have lost 2.6 lbs.
- I’ve had art and lunch dates with friends and had some friends over a couple of times for dinner at our place. I tend to really like being on my own, and hubby too, so I’m doing my bit in ensuring that I fill my/our social well.
- I intend to lose a minimum of 5 lbs. I really want to lose weight so that I can get around more freely when Spring rolls around. This means that I have to pay attention to the quality and amount of food I eat.
- I intend to blog everyday this month. This is quite a stretch for me but I think I can do this. I’ll certainly give it my best shot!
- I intend on meditating every day for a minimum of 15 minutes each day.
- I intend on moving my body more. I tend to be quite sedentary and that isn’t good for my health.
- I intend to get back to a regular arting practice. I have not made this a priority and it needs to be as it is part of my overall wellbeing.
- I intend of furthering my web design and development skills.
To new beginnings and beloved well-worn journals!