Note: I actually wrote this post a few months ago, before I started my blog (I was worried I wouldn’t have enough to say to start a blog, so I pre-wrote some posts to try it out). July was an amazing, full-on month for me, so I thought this was a fitting time for this post (you’ll see why in a moment). At the end, I’ll bring you up to speed with where I am with this now. Hope you enjoy
I realized something the other day, and I think I’d known it for a while but was scared to do anything about it: I’m not having much fun. And the very things that I’m doing to try to be happy and healthy (reading spiritual books, making green smoothies, listening to inspiration pod casts), are actually having the opposite effect.
I’ve been hiding behind all of these amazing resources and using them as an excuse to avoid putting myself out there and really living life. Instead of waking up and being excited about the day, as my books were guiding me to do, I was waking up with a heavy to do list: get up, smile!, be grateful, drink your hot water and lemon, do yoga, pray, meditate, make a green smoothie (no come on, not the yummy kind- straight veggies, garlic, and water).
Okay now you are ready to start the day. Well, what are you waiting for? You have to read a chapter The Power of Now, listen to the next podcast in the online Attracting Money program, do a healing chakra meditation, read up on raw food, and ferment some vegetables. Ugh I can’t believe you haven’t fermented those vegetables yet! Do you,or do you not, want to bring healthy bacteria to your digestive tract?
Oh and since I’m doing all of this good work, my Inner Self and Life Calling should be making an appearance any moment now..
This is not an exaggeration, and I know I’m not alone. The worst part is, I was starting to resent anything that would take away from this ‘Me’ time and drag me out of my house. I didn’t want to hang out and watch a movie, or go for coffee, or go to a studio for yoga class. I wanted to stay in, do my work, and become enlightened, happy, and free.
What used to be fun and interesting was becoming a burden. Part of me wanted to relax and just hang out, but a) that felt like a waste of time, and b) I don’t really know how to just hang out.
Logically, I knew that down time was important, that there is no sense in reading about how to have a good life if I wasn’t willing to actually get out and live it, that true joy can be found in the every day moments- going for a walk, and hanging out with friend’s,- but I just couldn’t loosen my grip on my Metaphysical Security Blanket.
I had a series of small epiphanies, and I would make promises to take a break from my self-improvement, but the next thing I knew, I’d be leaving the library with a stack of Marianne Williamson and Deepak Chopra books.
Then one day, I was on Facebook (ahh! Wasting time!) and I clicked on a link that my friend had posted. It was a SoulPancake video called My Last Days: Meet Zach Sobiech, and it was about a 19 year old boy who was dying of cancer. Zach exuded happiness, kindness, and what it means to be fully engaged in life. The effect he had on his friends and family was amazing, and he seemed to truly touch everyone he met.
It clicked for me that this amazing guy wasn’t who he was because he sat at home alone in his room reading books about gratitude and loving and surrendering to life. He was the way he was because he got out there and lived it.
So I made a compromise with myself. I do truly enjoy and benefit from all of my self-improvement work, but I wanted it to enhance my life, not keep me from it. I decided that I would give myself one hour a day to devote to either reading, watching, or listening to a self-improvement resource. This left the rest of my day open and clear for every day life. I also made a commitment to say “Yes” more to doing. As I write this, I’m waiting for my brother to pick me up so we can go to the beach and look for beach glass. My initial thought was to say no when he asked and stay in and work on my blog, but I am committed to getting out there!
So if to you that means closing your computer and taking a break from my blog, then by all means! Basically, what I want to say is that our self-improvement resources are wonderful tools, but they are not our saviors. You, and only you, have the power to save, transform, and electrify your life.
P.s. I wrote this post around the beginning of May, and although following through has been a bit of a struggle, it is making a huge impact on my life. The concept seems a bit silly- making a big deal about reading books, but we all have our distractions that keep us from fully engaging in life. For some it’s the more obvious ones like drinking, doing drugs, or over engaging in drama and gossip. Then there are the sneaky ones, like focusing on good nutrition, helping other, or personal-growth- things that are under the guise of improving our lives, but are actually being used in excess to protect us from really living.
I think that everyone has their thing. So what’s yours? What are you willing to let go of today, even just a little bit?
I’ll give the last word to Cheryl Richardson “Finding yourself is not about what you add to your life, it’s about what you take away.”